HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WENY) – According to the National Fire Protection Association half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February. This results in 500 deaths and over a billion dollars in property damage. Experts say there are some items you should have on hand to protect yourself at home during these frigid temperatures.
“Make sure you have a fire extinguisher if needed an ABC type is usually adequate. Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the house eight years from the manufacturer’s date you want to upgrade them to a ten-year seal battery. Test detectors monthly,” Max Bernhard with the Horseheads Do it center said.
Some other tips Max says are to keep things that can burn, away from your heating source.
“Make sure your window dressings are not too close to the heater so they don’t catch fire, make sure that the cords are not over excessively long because that can cause a draw-in amperage and cause them to heat up,” Bernhard said.
It’s also important to seal and cork all windows and doors around the edges to prevent drafts from coming into your home.
“On the window, we have heating plastic you can seal the windows, heat it with a hairdryer, shrink it to prevent airflow from going in and there are other door seals you can put on,” he explained.
He recommends having your chimney maintained by a professional before lighting a fire in your fireplace.
“If you burn a fire in your fireplace make sure your chimneys are clear and clean. The chimney should be cleaned regularly and your chimney flue should be open,” Bernhard said.
Another important tip, make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room as well as to keep kids and pets at a safe distance.
“Some do stick out like an arch to keep small kids away. Spark wise, yes they do detain some spark but always keep an alert,” he said!
Additionally, Bernhard stresses when using a portable heater, plug it into the wall and not an extension cord. Also, do not use a propane heater indoors he said.