Fire official hopes to avoid another year of record-breaking house fires

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)—Now that the holidays are winding down, it’s time to take some steps to keep you and your home fire-safe throughout 2021.  Did you know 1 in every 7 home fires and 1 in every 5 home fire deaths involves heating equipment?  Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.

After Christmas:

  • Get rid of your real tree after Christmas or when it is dry.  If the needles drop off, it’s time to properly dispose of your tree.  Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.
  • Check with your local community to find a tree recycling program.
  • Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.

 Fireplace Safety:

  • With temperatures dropping, a roaring fire on a cold night may be great comfort and a real danger.  Before bringing in the logs to fill the fireplace, keep this safety checklist in mind:
    • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned.  An inspection by a certified chimney sweep will detect any repairs that are needed before you use the fireplace.
      • In August, Television personality Rachael Rae had a home fire which started from the fireplace.
    • When your ready to build a fire, burn seasoned wood only.  Dryness of the wood is more important than how hard the wood is.
    • Burn smaller, hotter fires which produce less smoke than larger fires.
    • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room.
    • Make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving your home.
    • Don’t use your fireplace to burn cardboard boxes, trash or used wrapping paper in your fireplace.  Sparks from the burning paper can start chimney fires.
    • Remember to keep the flue open until the next day to make sure the fire is completely out.  Always dispose of the ashes in a metal container with a lid, placed outside and at least 10 feet from your home and any nearby buildings.  Ashes can retain heat for several hours and even until the next day.
    • Close the flue after the fire is out to keep the warmth inside and the cold air outside.

Heating Safety:

As you stay cozy and warm this winter, stay fire smart!  Heating is the second leading cause of home fires!

  • Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (like a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time. 
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Keep anything that can burn (including kids) at least 3 feet away from any heat source.
  • Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.

Post-Holiday Entertaining:

  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan (2-ways out of every room).
  • Never block exits (doors and windows) with holiday decorations, luggage from your guests, boxes or other obstacles.

By following these simple tips, we all will contribute to Keeping Michigan S.A.F.E.

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