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Plainfield Fire Department Urges Winter Fire Safety

Tips for keeping your home and family safe during the cold months.

Editor's note: The following is a press release issued by the Plainfield Fire Protection District:

With the fall season here and winter on the way, the Plainfield Fire Protection District has some winter fire safety tips for you to help prevent a home fire from heating sources.  Have your furnace inspected annually by a qualified contractor.  If you have a wood stove or fireplace, the chimney should be inspected and cleaned annually before using it.  Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.  Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to contain embers and sparks.  Keep all combustible materials at least 3 feet from your fireplace or wood stove.  Always make sure your fireplace is out before leaving your home or going to sleep and never close the damper when there are hot ashes.  Closing the damper will allow the fire to heat up and cause smoke and carbon monoxide to enter your home.  Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using synthetic logs.  When cleaning your fireplace, dispose of ashes in a metal container with a secure lid and store it outside, away from your home.

Please remember that space heaters need space.  Keep 3 feet of clear space around space heaters.  Always follow the directions provided by the manufacturer for proper use of your heater.  When using kerosene heaters it is important that you have proper room venting per the manufacturer’s instructions.  Never refuel the heater indoors or while it is hot and keep the fuel properly stored outside of your home.  Never use an oven or range to heat your home due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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If you experience frozen water pipes, use hot water or a hand held dryer to thaw them.  Never use a blow torch or open flame because the pipe can conduct the heat from the flame and start a fire inside the wall space. 

There should be smoke alarms on every level of your home and it is recommended that you also have smoke alarms inside bedrooms.  If your smoke alarm is making a chirping sound that means the battery needs to be replaced.  Smoke alarm batteries should be replaced annually whether the smoke alarm is chirping or not, even hardwired smoke alarms have batteries in them for back up during a power outage.  The only exception to changing smoke alarm batteries is for the smoke alarms that have ten year batteries installed within them from the manufacturer.  Additionally every home should have a carbon monoxide detector located within 15 feet of bedrooms and the batteries should be changed annually in the carbon monoxide detector as well. 

By following some basic fire safety tips you can help prevent a heating related fire in your home.  For more information about fire and life safety please call the Plainfield Fire Protection District at 815-436-5335 or visit us on the web.  You may also visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s “Winter Fire Safety” website

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