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Put Fire Safety at the Top of Your List This Winter

(courtesy graphic)

(courtesy graphic)

CHEYENNE MOUNTAN AIR FORCE STATION, Colo. -- There are more home fires in winter than in any other season and according to statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, the months of December, January, and February account for half of all home heating fires.

“As you try to keep your home warm this winter season, remember to put fire safety at the top of your list,” said Guy Chastain, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station Fire Department, assistant chief. “Being prepared for possible hazards associated with cold weather is key to ensuring your family’s safety from fires this winter.”

NFPA and United States Fire Administration offer the following safety tips to help get ahead of the winter freeze and reduce risk from winter fires and other hazards:

• Test all smoke alarms. Do this at least once a month. This way you will know they are working. Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test the alarms.

• Plan two ways out of the home in case of emergency. Clear driveway and front walk of ice and snow. This will provide easy access to your home.

• Make sure your house number can be seen from the street. If you need help, firefighters will be able to find you.

• Stay aware of winter weather. Listen to the television or radio for updates. Watch for bulletins online.

• Be ready in case the power goes out. Have flashlights on hand. Also have battery-powered lighting and fresh batteries. Never use candles.

• Generators should be used outdoors. Keep them away from windows and doors. Do not run a generator inside your garage, even if the door is open.

• Be ready if the heat stops working. Use extra layers of clothes and blankets to stay warm. If you use an emergency heat source, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away.

• Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.

• If you must use portable heaters, make sure they have a safety “tip switch” that is designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over. Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room and when you go to bed. Nearly half of all space heater fires involve electric models.

• If your home has sustained flood or water damage from a winter storm and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.

For more info on how to prevent winter fires, visit www.usfa.fema.gov/winter/ and www.nfpa.org/winter
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