According to the United States Fire Administration, heating equipment is involved in one out of six reported home fires and is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Nearly half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January and February. These fires are preventable! Loudoun County Fire and Rescue encourages residents to follow these tips and “Put a Freeze On Winter Fires.”
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
- Before going to sleep, ensure the fire in your fireplace is completely extinguished. NEVER close the fireplace damper with hot ashes in the fireplace.
- Let ashes cool completely before putting them in a closed metal container. Soak ashes thoroughly with water and place the container outside, a safe distance away from your home or other structures.
- If you use an electric heater, plug the appliance directly into the wall outlet, ensuring not to overload the circuit.
- Turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Keep children and combustibles at least three feet away from all heating equipment, stoves and fireplaces.
- Install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. CO is an invisible, odorless gas. Heating and cooking appliances, vehicles and generators are potential sources of this “silent killer.”
- Another important tip - “Close before you Doze!” A closed door can dramatically slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
Most importantly, ensure the smoke alarms in your home are correctly installed and functioning properly. To schedule a free home safety assessment or obtain information regarding our "Put A Finger On It!" free smoke alarm program, visit www.loudoun.gov/smokealarms or call 703-737-8093.