It may be cold outside, but that doesn’t mean fires are unlikely to occur. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Many statistics show that winter is when most home fires occur, primarily due to cooking or improper heating techniques. However, those statistics don’t just apply to your home. It’s important to be even more vigilant in the winter months to stay safe at home and in the office.
Our blog this week shares everything you need to know about staying safe this winter and being aware of potential fire starters. The key to preventing winter fires is to be prepared and observant of your indoor surroundings.
In wintertime, we close up our home and offices and spend most of our time indoors. We’re statistically cooking more, and using our heaters and other heat sources more frequently.
What should I watch out for?
Multiple items can become fire hazards throughout the winter months. The following is a list of common items to be aware of.
- Fire ashes: Make sure you are placing fire ashes in a tightly sealed metal container (as opposed to a plastic trashcan) because they can continue to be flammable several days after their use.
- Candles: Never leave burning candles or incense unattended. You also want to make sure the flame is not close to any hanging decorations, paper products or drapes.
- Extension cords: Don’t run cords under rugs or carpet. During the winter months, increased static electricity and friction can lead to short circuiting or fire. It’s also important not to overuse the cords or have them running near heat sources (such as ovens, space heaters, etc.).
- Indoor fireplaces: You’ll want to keep a look out for sparks jumping out of your mantle and keep a couple of feet of area clear of rugs and other potential fire hazards (such as furniture, lamps, blankets, etc.). It’s important to make sure the fire is completely put out before leaving the room.
- Space Heaters: Place space heaters on a hard, level, non-flammable surface (such as tile or laminate). Always plug it directly into a wall outlet and keep it three feet away from any surrounding objects, and never drape any clothing over the top of the heater.
- Microwaves: Never leave your cooking unattended. Even a microwave can lead to fires if metal is placed inside or food is cooked too long.
What preventative measures can I take?
There are some easy preventative steps you can take to keep both your home and office space safe this winter.
- Be aware of carbon monoxide: Carbon monoxide is an odorless, poisonous gas that is released as materials are burned. If you are burning something in an enclosed space, you’ll want to be wary of the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning. Various alarms are available to use in your home or office to alert you in the case of an increase in the level of carbon monoxide in a room.
- Change your smoke alarm batteries: Checking your smoke alarm batteries monthly is recommended, but we realize that doesn’t always happen. However, winter is an imperative time to check and make sure they are in proper working condition and replace the batteries if necessary.
- Review emergency exit strategies: From any point in the office your employees should be aware of at least two possible paths they can take to exit the building. It’s also important to have a safety spot picked out to meet up in the event of a fire. It doesn’t matter how big or small your business is. Winter is a great time to remind staff at the beginning of a meeting to quickly review the emergency procedures.
- Get your heating appliances checked annually: This is an easy preventative task to ensure your furnace and water heater are in proper, working order.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket nearby: The kitchen is the most common room where fires start, so having preventative measures in place can help keep the fire contained when the right tools are quickly accessible.
Stay safe this winter! If you have any questions or concerns about your office or home don’t hesitate to contact Brenneco Fire Protection.
Brenneco Fire Protection provides fire inspection and protection services throughout Central Indiana including the Greater Lafayette and Indianapolis areas. We partner with many different industries to ensure your fire safety through installation and inspection of various emergency systems.
We make it our top priority to answer your call for assistance and show up on time when you need us. Our expertise helps you eliminate downtime and keeps you employees and facilities protected.