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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Fire Prevention 24-7 – Fall safety risks


The months just seem to be flying by.

The leaves have begun turning from green to orange, yellow and red, the weather is turning cooler, and you’ve probably started preparing for the cold season ahead. You’re excited for Halloween and can’t wait to start decorating your home.

But have you thought about the fire safety risks that arise during the fall? Winterizing a home is an important step this time of year. Clearing water from sprinkler systems, getting the furnace serviced, and other things like this, help to keep a home running through the winter months. Many people don’t realize that homes are at a greater risk of fire in the winter months. Fall fire safety tips can help home owners prepare their home and protect their families.

Let’s start with our smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. I am sure you are probably tired of hearing about this, but did you know that both battery operated AND hard-wired alarms need to be tested? How often? The answer is monthly. Take a broom handle (so you aren’t climbing on a ladder) and push the button, hold it in and wait to hear a beep. If they are hard-wired you should start hearing them all go off. But you need to do this with every alarm, including your carbon monoxide.

You also want to fully check and service your heating devices before cranking up the heat. Have your furnace inspected, cleaned, and serviced, and be sure to replace your furnace filter.

If you’ve got a wood burning fireplace, hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect and clean your chimney before you start using it. Creosote is a deposit from smoke that can build up in a chimney. If it gets too thick, it can start on fire and destroy the house. In addition, cracks can allow poisonous carbon monoxide to seep into your home. And finally, a thorough inspection will remove any animals that may have built a home in your chimney during the summer. We also suggest the use of fireplace screens to keep sparks from floating out, while a fire is burning.

Don’t store flammable liquids, including any unused fuel in a gas can, inside your home or in an attached garage or shed. Store this material away from your home and drain excess fuel out of the container before storing it to prevent accidental fires from escaping fuel vapors. It’s also a great idea to remove fuel from lawn mowers before you store them for the winter.

Following these fire prevention tips will help you reduce the likelihood that your family will experience a fire. It’s a good idea to review these tips with your family every fall.


Soraya McLaughlin
Soraya McLaughlin
Soraya McLaughlin is the Naperville Fire Department Community Education Specialist. Contact her via email at mclaughlins@naperville.il.us.