Fireplace and space heater safety tips

WTNH–It’s that time of the year when many people are using heaters and fireplaces in their homes to stay warm. However, not properly using them can be dangerous and cause fires.

When using space heaters, it’s important to remember to pull the heating device at least 3 feet away from other furniture or any other combustible items. The space heather should also only be on for a limited time each day and never be connected to an outlet with an extension cord.

When you’re done using your space heater, make sure to unplug it and let it cool down before storing it away again.

If your electric heater has frayed or damaged cords, do not use it.

Fireplaces are also prone to fires if not used correctly.

Before using the fireplace, be sure the flue is already open. You can check this by looking up the chimney to see if light is peaking in.

You should also have your chimney inspected by a professional before heating season and cleaned to remove creosote build up, which is combustible.

If you’re using artificial logs for your fire, you should only use one at a time. Never use newspapers or trash in the fire because these burn too hot. You also shouldn’t store any newspapers, kindling, or matches near the fireplace.

You should also never leave your fireplace unattended when there’s a fire. You should also use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying.

It’s important not to have an exposed rug or wooden floor right in front of the fireplace either.

When exposing the ashes wait at least four days so they are completely cold.  A metal container with a tight lid works best to store the ashes  so they don’t  blow through, which can expose them for re-ignition.

Never put ashes in a paper or plastic bag or in cardboard.

Also do not store ashes on your deck or garage, or any location that allows the heat to transfer to something flammable.

Make sure you discard the ashes away from your house but not near dry brush either, which can cause a brush fire.

Ash that is completely cold can also be used on your garden as a soil additive.

For more information on fire safety, visit New Haven Fire Department’s  or Milford Fire Department’s  websites or talk to your local fire department.

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