SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- The Springfield Fire Department is again reminding people how to heat their homes safely and how to avoid residential fires.
In a press release, the department lists these tips for homeowners:
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area, and at every home level. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home-when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
- Create an escape plan and practice often with your family. Make sure everyone who lives with you knows the family meeting place in case of an emergency.
- Space heaters need space and should have tip-over protection. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding, or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
- Turn portable heaters off and unplug when you go to bed or leave the room.
- Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
- Inspect for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using it.
- Have your chimney inspected each year by a qualified professional and cleaned if necessary.
- Have your furnace inspected each year by qualified professionals and replace your furnace filters as required by the specifications. Furnace closets should not be used for storage. This can increase the risk of fire.
- Use a sturdy fireplace screen. Burn only dry, well-seasoned firewood.
- Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container.
- Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Never use an oven to heat your home.
- Close before you doze. A closed-door can isolate the fire’s flow, reduce room temperatures, and keep carbon monoxide levels down.
- Make sure your heating equipment has the label showing that it is listed by a qualified testing laboratory.
- Supervise children around open fires and when space heaters are being used.
The Fire Department says heating is one of the main causes of residential fires in Springfield.
“It is critical to your safety that you have working smoke alarms in your home. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home, in every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area,” says Springfield Fire Chief David Pennington.