How to freeze out winter fires

It’s the season for colder days, unpredictable weather and much more time spent indoors. Unfortunately, deaths related to unintentional home fires peak in the winter months, according to Statistics Canada.

To help prepare your home, fire safety brand First Alert shares five important safety tips.

Clean kitchen appliances
Although it may appear clean on the surface, grease and food debris can build up in your oven and on your stovetop, presenting a fire hazard. Make sure to keep them clean before use. Also keep a fire extinguisher, like a multi-purpose rechargeable home fire extinguisher, in your kitchen in the event a small fire breaks out. Look for devices designed to combat common household fires caused by wood products, grease and electricity.

Light bulb lessons
When selecting a light bulb, be sure the wattage matches the rating of the light fixture – a bulb with a higher wattage is a fire hazard. For decorative lights, check the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands that can be connected so as not to overheat circuits and start a fire. Check strands of lights for loose connections, broken or cracked sockets or frayed or bare wires, and dispose of any damaged sets.

Generator basics
In the case of a power outage, never use a generator inside the home or the garage – carbon monoxide can collect in the confined space. To safely use a generator, keep the device outside and at least 4.5 metres away from the perimeter of your home. When plugging in appliances, be sure to plug them directly into the generator or use an extension cord rated for outdoor use. Inspect the cords for damage before use and turn off all appliances powered by the generator before shutting it down. For added protection, ensure your carbon monoxide alarms are up to date and have fresh batteries.

Space heater safety
If you use a space heater to warm up, remember to plug it directly into the electrical outlet, and only plug one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at a time. Be sure to keep anything flammable at least one metre away from the heater, or any other heat sources such as fireplaces, wood stoves or radiators. Don’t leave space heaters unattended, keep them out of reach of curious children or pets and always turn them off before you go to sleep.

Extension cords expertise
While extension cords are handy to have around the house, remember to use them with care. Do not run extension cords under rugs or furniture and avoid plugging multiple cords together. Ensure you are using the properly rated extension cord for your intended use and do not overload an outlet. For outdoor extension cords, keep them clear of snow and standing water.

Learn more winter safety tips at firstalert.ca

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