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updated: 12/28/2012 11:41 AM

Tips for reducing chance of fire at home

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Submitted by Bartlett Fire Protection District

The Bartlett Fire District would like to remind residents that as the colder weather approaches, it is time to focus on winter fire safety tips.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that on average 50,100 heating fires occur in residential buildings across the United States each year (2008-2010). These fires result in approximately 150 deaths, 575 injuries and $326 million in property loss.

Home heating is the second leading cause of residential building fires following cooking.

"Home heating fires are preventable," states the U.S. Fire Administration. As the heating season gets under way, the Bartlett Fire District and the U.S. Fire Administration would like to recommend the following:

• Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

• Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.(UL, FM)

• All heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.

• Plug space heaters directly into outlets and NEVER into an extension cord or power strip.

• Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms inside your home to provide early warning of CO.

• Clear the area around the fireplace hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.

• Never use flammable liquids to start a fire in the fireplace or wood stove.

• Use only seasoned hardwood in fireplaces or wood stoves. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.

• Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, lumber scraps, or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.

• Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended.

• Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.

• When cleaning the fireplace ashes out, they need to be soaked in water, and placed into a metal container outside your home or garage. Never put fireplace ashes into a plastic garbage can.

• Keep your roof clear of leaves, pine needles or other debris.

• Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrestor.

• Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues, or vents.

• Remember to check your detectors (smoke and CO) monthly and replace batteries on all detectors twice a year.

Stay safe by practicing these important fire safety tips and enjoy the change of seasons.

Please contact the Bartlett Fire Protection District at (630) 837-3701 if you have any questions and remember to visit the Bartlett Fire Protection District on Facebook.

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