Did you know that home fires occur more in the winter months than any other time of the year? From 2017 to 2019, heating was the second leading cause of all residential building fires, following cooking. Follow these heating tips from the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System and the U.S. Fire Administration to help prevent winter fires and stay safe this winter season:
• 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 a portable electric space heater, plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord or surge type protector. Inspect cords for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections. Always turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Keep children and anything that can burn at least three feet away from all heating equipment, stoves and fireplaces.
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
• 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.
For more information on home fire safety, to schedule a free home safety assessment, or obtain information regarding our LC-CFRS smoke alarm program, visit loudoun.gov/smokealarms or call 703-737-8093.