Warm and safe

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fire safety is a year-round concern, but during wintry blasts there are good reasons to be even more cautious. Recent residential fires remind us that using common sense while trying to keep warm is a good way to stay safe.

Fireplaces, space heaters, kitchen oven and even stovetop burners to produce heat all have their perils.

Fireplaces should be inspected to make sure they are safe for roaring fires. Space heaters must be kept away from combustible furniture and curtains. In addition, heaters that easily tip over or overload electrical circuits can cause fire hazards. Kitchen ovens and stovetop burners should never be used to provide heat, because there are too many fire risks.

Even home furnaces need routine maintenance to make sure they are safe. Not only are malfunctioning furnaces a fire hazard, they can also produce deadly carbon monoxide.

The use of kerosene heaters and portable generators when electric service is disrupted by winter storms can cause other fire hazards. Users of these devices need to heed instructions that reduce those risks.

Staying warm in the winter can sometimes challenge our risk tolerance. Staying warm and safe in these cold months is something we all need to take seriously.

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