Dan Dillard: Hi! I am Dan Dillard of the Burn Prevention Network. Today, I am talking about home fire safety and burn prevention. Now, I'm going to discuss some of the seasonal fire and burn risks a family faces during the winter.
For many in this country winter is a time when furnaces are running full-time and space heaters appear in especially cool spots of the home. Some even enjoy the beauty and warmth of an open fire in their fireplace. It is also a time when we must take extra care to safeguard against fire risks and burn hazards.
Do not use accelerants to start your fire. Use solid fire starters. Have your chimney and ?
ue checked annually and clean professionally as needed.
So what about the use of gas fireplaces?
These are usually safer, but still have inherent risk. Glass doors on these fireplaces will heat to 400 degrees within six minutes of ignition. They will remain hot enough to instantly burn exposed skin for up to 45 minutes after the flames have been turned off. Unsuspecting children may place their palms against the glass doors of recently extinguished, but still hot stoves.
Space heaters should be used only when someone is present. Clothing and other clutter should be kept at least three feet away from operating heaters. Kerosene heaters must be used in well-ventilated areas only. Never use an open oven to provide supplemental heat.
What special precautions must be taken during the winter holidays?
Well first, recognize that the extra demands of the holidays create stress and stress affects both our attentiveness to risk and sound decision making.
Make a conscious effort to conduct regular safety checks to include that candles are not left burning when leaving the home, that circuits and outlets are not overloaded. Cigarette butts and ashtrays were completely out before throwing them in the trash. Check exits and passageways so that they are not blocked by decorations and clutter.
And what about the Christmas tree?
If you use a cut tree, cut one half inch of the trunk before placing in the stand. Check the water level in the stand daily. Do not exceed the recommended maximum number of strings of lights you linked together.
Never use live candles on a tree. Place the tree away from heat fence and radiators, and remove cut trees when lower needles become dry and start to fall.
Winter can be a time of celebration and special connection with family and friends. Hopefully, by applying the precautions we have reviewed, it will not include a tragic fire or burn injury as well.