Tips For Winter Fire Safety

The recent cooler temperatures and high cost of home utilities have forced many West Tennessee area residents to seek alternate home heating sources. The use of wood burning stoves, gas logs, and portable space heaters is expected to increase throughout the next few months. All these methods of heating may be acceptable, however, they are a major contributing factor of residential fires in our area. The Madison County Fire

Department would like to offer the following heating safety tips.

Space heaters

• Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn-including furniture, blankets, curtains, and paper products.

• Choose space heaters that turn off automatically if they tip over.

• Never use a space heater to dry clothing.

• Turn off space heaters before you go to bed.

• In a kerosene heater, use only the proper fuel.

• Refuel a heater outside, after it has cooled.

Fireplaces and wood stoves

• Have a service person inspect and clean your chimney or wood stove each year.

• Use a metal or glass fireplace screen to keep sparks from hitting nearby carpets or


• Keep air inlets on wood stoves open.

• Keep kindling, paper, and décor away from fireplaces and wood stoves.

• Never use gas or lighter fluid to start a fireplace or wood stove.

• Burn only seasoned hardwood. Burning soft, moist wood causes a lot of creosote

build-up and can cause a chimney fire.

• Don't burn cardboard boxes, newspaper, or trash. They burn too hot and can cause a chimney fire.

• Be sure vent pipes extend at least 3 feet above the roof.

• Install stovepipe thermometers to check flue temperatures.

• Follow manufacturer's instructions for installing and maintaining fireplaces and wood stoves.

Electric Wall Heaters

• Temperature control units may automatically turn themselves on when the temperature drops below the thermostat setting.

• Because they do not operate in summer months these units are often forgot about and may have furniture and other combustible items located within close proximity.

• Electric wall heaters should be checked to ensure no combustible materials are located within at least a 3 feet radius.

• The units should be inspected prior to the onset of cold weather.

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