The Richmond Hill Fire Department is distributing information to help keep residents safe during the holidays and winter months. Here are some of the main tips.
Fuel Concerns: Home-heating units (central heating units, portable and fixed space heaters and fireplaces) are the second-leading cause of fires in December, January and February. Be sure to have a qualified technician install and maintain all equipment, and have a qualified technician inspect and clean boilers, furnaces, water heaters and chimneys yearly.
Always keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fire place when using it and be sure the fire is completely out before going to bed.
Never use a kitchen oven or gas range to heat a home or apartment as it could lead to a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
Be Electrically Safe: Be sure to inspect extension cords to make sure they are not cracked or frayed and never use broken bulbs on a Christmas tree. Be sure all outlets and switches have cover plates, and never use items such as electric blankets that do not carry the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark.
Electric Space Heaters: Always buy one with an automatic shut-off and never use an extension cord. Keep at least three feet away from bedding or other combustible material. Never use them in bathroom or near other water sources, and always turn them off and unplug them before going to bed.
Trees: Only buy artificial trees labeled “fire-retardant” and for fresh trees select the freshest looking one. Select a tree that is appropriate to the size of the room. Keep real trees well-watered and keep real and artificial trees at least three feet away from heat sources.
Cooking fires: Stay in the kitchen while cooking. Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves that are less likely to snag on pot handles. Keep the area around the stove clear of towels, paper or anything that could burn. Keep a spare pot lid handy to smother any pan fires. Do NOT throw water on pan fires as this will cause it to splash and spread the fire. Keep turkey fryers outside.
Alarms: Regularly check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in working order.