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Take Time for Fall Fire Safety

As summer turns to fall, it is time to fire up the fireplaces, turn on the furnace and get that space heater out of storage. This can increase the risk of residential fire, so it is a good idea to refresh your memory on fall fire safety tips.

Some safety tips are the same regardless of the time of year, but many safety concerns are seasonal, particularly those that involve keeping your home warm. These types of tips are usually based around common sense.

Time Changes Mean

Battery Changes

Get in the habit of changing the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors every fall and spring when changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. It is also a good idea to verify that all fire extinguishers are fully charged and in working order when you adjust the clocks each season.

Home Heating Tips

No matter what type of device you use to heat your home, making sure your heating devices and/or systems are in good working order is an important part of learning some fall fire safety tips.

Many things can go wrong with heating equipment during the spring and summer months. Verify that everything you need to keep your home warm throughout fall and winter is in good working order before you experience the first cold snap of the season.

Central Heating Safety Tips

Get your central heating system cleaned, inspected and serviced by a certified HVAC (heating, venting and air conditioning) contractor every year before using it. If you have a gas heater, make sure that you have sufficient quantity of fully functioning carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home.

Space Heater Safety Tips

Make sure that any space heaters are surrounded by at least three feet of empty space. Never place clothing or any other objects on a space heater to dry. Turn space heaters off when you leave the house or go to bed. Avoid storing any combustible items near heaters.

Make sure your space heater has a working safety light, alarm, automatic shutoff switch and a cut-off device to prevent overheating. Never use a space heater in your bathroom. Water and electricity don't mix.

Fireplace Safety Tips

Get your chimney inspected each year to make sure that it is safe hire a chimney sweep to clean out your chimney every fall - creosote can build up in your chimney. Repair any cracks in fireplaces. Use fireplace screens to keep sparks and fire debris inside the fireplace. Never burn charcoal in your fireplace because it gives off deadly carbon monoxide.

Another tip - don't "over build" your fire using too much paper. You could ignite soot inside your chimney, causing a chimney fire. Use only seasoned woods, and avoid using soft woods like pine, etc. Overloading your hearth with wood and artificial logs can also result in fire that may be too large for the unit.

Do not ever use flammable liquids to start a fire in your fireplace. Never leave a fire unattended and make sure that all combustible materials are not stored within three feet of your fireplace. For natural gas fireplaces, get all connections and lines inspected before use each season.

Remember that outdoor fireplaces can be just as dangerous as indoor units, and observe all safety precautions when using them. Store ashes outdoors and away from the house in a metal container.

Holiday Safety Tips

Homeowners are encouraged to use battery-powered lights in Halloween Jack o'Lanterns to prevent accidents. Christmas tree lights should also be inspected before use and monitored carefully, especially on real trees.