Fire Department offers winter safety tips

Jan. 13, 2014 @ 04:59 PM

Following the frigid temperatures that invaded the region early last week, the Durham Fire Department is asking residents to bring on the heat safely by remembering to give heating sources enough space. 
“In the midst of this wintery weather it is not unusual for people to try to keep warm any and every way possible – even if it isn’t necessarily safe,” said Fire Marshal Edward Reid. “Old habits, like warming the house with the oven, can be a great danger and should never be done. It is very important for everyone to adopt safety measures into our everyday habits.”
Reid said investigators have found that improper heating has caused of two fires so far this heating season. 
To help prevent more fires, the department offers these tips:
• Make sure space heaters are at least three feet from anything that can burn.
• Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
• Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. Never close you damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
• Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
• If you use an electrical heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords that have the necessary rating to carry the amp load.
• Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.
• If you have any gas appliances, a fireplace or an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide alarm.
• Plan and practice a home escape plan with the entire family.
• Gas and charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide and should only be used outside.
• If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh-air location outside and call 911.
City residents who need a smoke alarm or have fire safety questions should contact Sierra Mckoy at 919-560-4233 ext. 19242 or email her at Sierra.Mckoy@DurhamNC.gov .