As temperatures drop and the days grow shorter, there’s a natural inclination to create a warm and cozy haven at home. Unfortunately, as we see increased use of heating equipment, candles and electrical items, the number of home fires tends to increase during winter months.
Here are six ways you can safeguard your home for the winter season.
1. Ensure your detectors are working properly. If your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms are battery- operated, replace the batteries annually. Test the detectors once a month and give them a good dusting to ensure the sensors are clear of dirt and debris.
2. Inspect electrical cords. We depend on more cords during winter, whether for holiday lighting, extension cords or portable heaters. Before using any corded items, double check to make sure cords aren’t frayed or cracked.
3. Use space heaters properly. If you use portable space heaters, remember to keep them at least three feet away from flammable items. Use models that include an auto shut-off feature and overheat protection. Never plug a space heater into a power strip.
4. Avoid overloading electrical outlets and power strips. When overloaded with electrical items, outlets and power strips can overheat and catch fire. If you use power strips for multiple devices, make sure the strip can handle the electrical load. For a safer bet, look for power strips that include surge protection.
5. Clean the fireplace to improve safety and efficiency. As wood burns, a sticky substance known as creosote builds up in the chimney. When creosote buildup becomes too thick, a chimney fire can ignite. The chimney should be cleaned at least once a year to reduce fire risks. Regular cleaning also improves air flow and limits the amount of carbon monoxide that seeps indoors.
6. Practice safety in the kitchen. As we spend more time in the kitchen during the holiday season, be mindful of potential fire hazards. Never leave food that’s cooking on the stovetop unattended. Clean and remove spilled foods from cooking surfaces and be mindful of where you place flammable items like dish towels.
“We do everything we can to ensure electricity is delivered to our members’ homes as safely as possible,” says Cary Johnson, chief operating officer. “We want everyone to be as diligent so that they have a safe and happy holiday.”
Broad River Electric Cooperative wants you and your family to stay safe during the winter season. Visit our safety center for additional tips.