Re­duce cold-weather fire risk

South Shore Breaker - - Games - CON­TRIB­UTED ed­i­tor@southshore­

Plenty of things heat up when the tem­per­a­ture drops, in­clud­ing the risk for fire haz­ards. Fire­places, stoves, heat­ing sys­tems, can­dles and even elec­tric lights are used more of­ten dur­ing the win­ter than any other time of year, so it makes sense that the risk of home fires in­creases when the tem­per­a­ture dips.

Un­der­stand­ing po­ten­tial risks and ex­er­cis­ing cau­tion can help home­own­ers pro­tect them­selves, their fam­i­lies and their homes from fire.


Home heat­ing fires peak be­tween the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., when many peo­ple are home pre­par­ing din­ner. The fol­low­ing steps can im­prove safety in the kitchen and re­duce the like­li­hood of a home fire.

• Never leave cook­ing food unat­tended, as it can take just sec­onds for fires to ig­nite.

• Keep any­thing that can catch fire away from the stove or other ap­pli­ances that gen­er­ate heat.

• Clean reg­u­larly to pre­vent grease buildup.

• Make sure ap­pli­ances are turned off be­fore leav­ing the room or go­ing to bed.


The Na­tional Fire Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion warns that heat­ing is the se­cond lead­ing cause of home fires, deaths and in­juries in the United States. The NFPA of­fers these safety guide­lines.

• In­stall heat­ing ap­pli­ances ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­tur­ers’ in­struc­tions or have a pro­fes­sional do the in­stal­la­tion.

• Fuel-burn­ing equip­ment needs to vent to the out­side.

• Never use an oven to heat a home.

• Keep any­thing that can burn away from heat­ing equip­ment, in­clud­ing por­ta­ble space heaters.

• Clean and in­spect heat­ing ap­pli­ances reg­u­larly.

• Turn off por­ta­ble heaters when leav­ing the room or go­ing

to bed.


The Na­tional Safety Coun­cil of Amer­ica es­ti­mates that be­tween 600 and 1,000 peo­ple die each year from elec­tro­cu­tion. Elec­tric­ity also can con­trib­ute to home fires. The En­ergy Ed­u­ca­tion Coun­cil of­fers these safety sug­ges­tions.

Never force plugs into out-

• lets.

• Check that cords are not frayed or cracked. Do not run cords un­der car­pets or place them in high-traf­fic ar­eas.

• Use ex­ten­sion cords only on a tem­po­rary ba­sis.

• Make sure light bulbs are the proper wattage for fix­tures.

• In­stall ground fault cir­cuit in­ter­rupters in kitchens, baths, laun­dry rooms and else­where, mak­ing sure to test them reg­u­larly.

• Check pe­ri­od­i­cally for loose wall re­cep­ta­cles and loose wires. Lis­ten for pop­ping or siz­zling sounds be­hind walls.

Home fires are no joke and can be pre­vented with sim­ple safety checks.


Home­own­ers can re­duce their risk for home fires in var­i­ous ways.

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