With winter upon us, it's crucial to focus on fire safety, particularly with home heating equipment. The National Fire Protection Association identifies heating equipment as a leading cause of house fires during the colder months, from December through February. As your dedicated Lebanon Fire Department, we want to share essential safety tips to keep you and your family safe.
HVAC Systems and Wood, or Gas Burning Appliances:
- It's vital to have your HVAC system inspected annually by a qualified technician. We frequently respond to calls involving malfunctioning or damaged HVAC systems.
- If your HVAC system uses propane or natural gas, ensure the system, including the ventilation flue, is inspected by a professional.
- For homes with wood, propane, or natural gas appliances, installing a CO detector is crucial. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly.
- If wood is your primary heating source, ensure your flue is inspected and cleaned each year. The buildup of creosote can lead to fires, and damaged flues can pose significant risks. Burning dried, seasoned wood is recommended to minimize creosote accumulation.
Space heaters are popular but can be dangerous if not used correctly.
- Choose heaters with a seal of approval from an independent testing laboratory.
- Always plug electric space heaters directly into a wall outlet, not a power strip or extension cord.
- Place space heaters on a solid, flat surface, away from common foot traffic areas.
- Look for heaters with a thermostat and overheating protection.
- If using a fuel-burning heater, ensure you are using the correct fuel and that the heater is approved for indoor use and well-ventilated.
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable items.
- Use heaters with an automatic shut-off feature if tipped over.
- Always turn off or unplug space heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Alternative Heat Sources:
Do not use portable burn pits, gas torches, or barbeque grills as heating sources inside your home. These are not safe for enclosed spaces.
Smoke Alarms and CO Detectors:
- Smoke alarms significantly increase your chance of escape in a fire. Install them in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of your home, including the basement. Test them monthly.
- CO detectors are necessary in homes with wood or gas appliances, as CO can build up to harmful levels without detection.
The Lebanon Fire Department has free smoke detectors, CO alarms, escape ladders, and residential fire extinguishers available for City of Lebanon residents while supplies last. Please contact us at (417) 532-2104 for more information.