In an effort to prevent house fires caused by heating devices, the Hagerstown Fire Department is advising residents to review a fire prevention checklist specific to cold weather.
Alongside updating your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, they also encourage residents to limit the use of extension cords, beware of overloading electrical outlets and to have your chimneys and furnaces inspected before using them.
"During this time of the year, people are starting to add more lights, more extension cords. Just make sure that anytime that you're adding extension cords that you're using electrical equipment, that you inspect all wiring to make sure that it's not frayed. Make sure that it wasn't chewed on by an animal or pet," said Cpt. Trayer Stoops, Hagerstown Police Department.
Fire Prevention Tips During Cold Months:
1. Install smoke alarms on every level of your home. Test and vacuum monthly. Change batteries every year. Replace smoke alarms after every ten years.
2. If smoking materials are used, please use a deep ashtray and smoke outdoors. Always ensure smoking materials are completely extinguished when finished,.
3. Keep all matches and lighters out of reach of children. Instruct children to alert an adult if they locate matches or lighters and not to touch them.
4. Replace frayed, cracked or otherwise damaged electrical cords.
5. Limit use of extension cords and don't overload electrical circuits.
6. Never run electrical cords under carpet or rugs.
7. Never use your stove-top or oven to heat your home.
8. Keep the stove-top clean and remove any combustible items on or near the stove area.
9. Never leave cooking food unattended. Turn off the stove if you need to leave the room.
10. Have chimneys cleaned and inspected before use.
11. Never use an accelerant in a fireplace or wood stove.
12. Burn only seasoned, dry wood to help prevent creosote build-up in chimneys and wood stoves.
13. Keep combustibles three feet away from any heating appliance or fireplace.
14. Have your furnace checked and cleaned for proper operation.
15. Check the clothes dryer exhaust duct and ensure link build-up is removed. Replace the duct with non-combustible ducting where applicable.
16. Keep flammable liquids in tightly sealed containers and store away from sources of heat.
17. Plan and practice you home fires escape plan at least twice a year. Know two ways out of every room. Have a predetermined meeting location outside.