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Posted on: September 14, 2021

Wintertime Fire Safety

Toy house wrapped in a scarf

Fireplace, Wood Stove and Open Fire Safety

Do chilly temperatures have you dreaming of cozy gatherings around a brightly lit fire? Whether your ideal winter retreat is in the warm glow of the family room fireplace or sitting by a fire under the stars, safety should be your first priority.

Make sure to have your fireplace or wood stove inspected before you begin using them each year. It's also a good idea to have your fireplace cleaned to remove creosote, which could ignite and start a dangerous chimney fire.

The McKinney Fire Department recommends using a tempered glass or metal screen over the fireplace opening to keep sparks inside. Never use papers, trash or liquid fuel in your fireplace and only burn wood in fireplaces or wood pellets in wood stoves.

Follow these safety tips to prevent injury around fire:

  • Keep anything that can burn or is flammable at least three feet away from fireplaces and wood stoves.
  • The openings can get hot enough to burn skin, so teach children and pets to steer clear of them.
  • Never leave children unattended around fire.
  • Never let children see you playing with fire. Fire is not a toy.
  • When finished with your fire, make sure to completely extinguish it before leaving the room or falling asleep.
  • When cleaning up, place the ashes inside a metal can with a lid. Store the can outside, away from the home, until the ashes are completely cold.
  • Store matches and lighters out of children’s sight and reach.
  • Help children if they are roasting marshmallows or hot dogs over coals. Remember, a cooked marshmallow or hot dog is hot enough to burn a child’s skin.

Portable Heater Safety Tips 

  • An estimated 900 portable heater fires in homes are reported to U.S. fire departments each year and cause an estimated 70 deaths, 150 injuries and $53 million in property loss. 
  • Only 2% of heating fires in homes involve portable heaters; however, portable heaters are involved in 45% of all fatal heating fires in homes! 

You can prevent a portable heater fire in your home this winter by following a few fire safety steps:

  • Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Keep anything that can burn such as bedding, clothing and curtains at least three feet away.
  • Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory and with an automatic shut-off in case of they tip over.
  • Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.

More Information 

For additional information, please contact the McKinney Fire Department at 972-547-2850.

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