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Friday, March 31, 2023

Fire Prevention 24-7 – Be prepared for winter


Winter is coming and for homeowners this means being prepared for the utmost extremes; the frightful and the delightful!

Over the holidays and winter months in general, there is an increased threat for fire-related incidents in the home, so it’s extremely important to learn about fire safety and taking the necessary precautions to ensure that you and your family have a warm and safe winter.

For starters, I am sure most of you have fired up your furnaces with this chilly weather we have recently encountered. It is important to have the furnace inspected every year. Have you changed the filter recently? Be sure to replace your furnace filter on a regular basis – based on manufacturers recommendations.

Wood burning fireplace? Fireplaces, if used, need to be inspected yearly by a licensed chimney sweep. Please don’t burn anything in your fireplace besides wood. Make sure when you clean it out (wait 48-72 hours) that you discard the ashes in a metal container, that you keep away from your house.

Do you have a space heater? While I would advise against it, I realize that many people have them. I would make sure that you have the kind that turns off when it is knocked over. Please remember that space heaters need space! There needs to be a 3-foot clearance all the way around it. People tell me all the time that they run them while they were sleeping. PLEASE don’t do this. When you leave the room, go to sleep or leave the house, they need to be turned off and unplugged. And have them plugged into an outlet, not an extension cord please.

This time of the year is joyous yet hectic with lots of activity and people at home. During the holidays, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Exercise caution while cooking your family feast. Use timers to remind yourself that there is something on the stove or in the oven. If you deep fry your turkey, make sure you do it outside (not on your wooden deck), and don’t overfill the oil that could spill out when you submerge the turkey.

Finally, make sure you have working smoke and CO alarms. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Did you know that you can get alarms with sealed 10-year batteries? Remember all alarms, battery and hard-wired are only good for 10 years, so if you need new ones, there is no time like the present. Be safe Naperville!

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