In a season peaked with fire hazards, taking winter fire safety seriously could make all the difference for you and your family. We reached out to the Franchise Professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties to ask about winter fire safety and prevention. And by taking the following winter fire safety measures, you can help put the freeze on flames this season.
5 Tips for Winter Fire Safety
#1: Use caution with electric blankets.
We’re not going to lie. Curling up on the couch on a cold winter’s night with an electric blanket feels like heaven. So warm and cozy! What could go wrong?
Electric blankets are responsible for an estimated 5,000 house fires every year, says SERVPRO. And as much as we love to curl up with them, there are certain precautions to take. Always ensure your electric blanket is certified by a national testing laboratory, such as UL. Also, make sure there’s an automatic shutoff feature after a certain amount of time has passed. Keep your blanket flat, as folds and bunched up areas can create too much heat in one spot. Oh, and never go to sleep with one on!
#2: Be mindful of portable heaters.
The portable heater—another marvelous invention. But again, not without its risks. In addition to electric blankets, you want to ensure portable heaters have their own automatic shutoff feature. So, if the heater were to tip over or a certain amount of time has passed, it will automatically power down. Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from the heat source, and always plug portable heaters directly into the wall. Do not use extension cords.
#3: Keep an eye on fireplaces and wood burning stoves.
Fireplaces and wood burning stoves are great ways to warm your home in the winter, but they don’t come without their own risks. As a winter fire safety tip, SERVPRO of Cape May and Cumberland Counties suggests keeping a glass or metal screen in front of fireplaces to prevent sparks or embers from jumping out of the fire. You should also have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year. Keep flammable items at least three feet from the stove or fireplace as a precaution.
#4: Never use ovens to heat your home.
Do we even need to say why this is a bad idea? Anytime there is high heat for an extended period of time can pose a risk of fire. You never want to chance something falling into the oven such as a napkin or towel that could lead to a blaze. Not to mention, if you have a gas oven, it could produce unsafe levels of carbon monoxide, which can be fatal.
#5: Test your smoke detectors.
When was the last time you tested your smoke alarm or changed the batteries inside?
It’s the simple winter fire safety measures that could make a big difference in your life. According to SERVPRO, you should test your smoke detectors at least once per month. And if your alarm is more than ten years old, you should replace it entirely. Most models alert you when the batteries are running low. Still, you should get in the habit of replacing the batteries twice per year.
Whether a fire occurs in your home or business, the Franchise Professionals at SERVPRO of Cape May & Cumberland Counties work around the clock to provide 24-hour emergency service. Contact them after a disaster for fast, efficient service and to make it Like it never even happened®. Call 609-624-0202.