It’s no secret that we’re in for bitter cold weather this weekend, but Wellesley Fire Chief Rick DeLorie has issued a fire safety warning to remind residents who aren’t escaping to warmer climates of some best practices.
“The Sub-freezing temperature dip this weekend will tax our heating and electrical systems as we try to stay warm, so a little caution can help you make you it safely through the extreme weather,” DeLorie said in a statement.
*Make Sure Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms are Working
*Don’t Overtax Furnaces
“Keep thermostats set at the lowest comfortable temperature as furnaces may struggle to keep the house warm; wear warm clothes and put an extra blanket on the bed,” DeLorie said.
“Cold snaps like this is when we tend to see space heater fires and one of every 16 space heater fires in the past five years has caused a fire death,” Chief DeLorie said. “Space heaters need space, so use them in a 3-foot circle of safety, free of anything that can catch fire. Space heaters are not designed to replace your central heating system, they are only designed to provide a little extra heat on a temporary basis. So be sure to turn them off when you leave room or go to bed at night.” He advises plugging space heaters directly into outlets, not using extension cords.
*Unvented Kerosene Heaters Illegal in MA
The use of unvented space heaters that use a liquid fuel such as kerosene inside homes and buildings is illegal in Massachusetts. They pose an extreme risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as well as a fire risk.
*Wood, Coal & Pellet Stoves
“Already this winter heating season, Massachusetts has seen numerous serious fires from the improper disposal of ashes from fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves,” said Chief DeLorie. “A single ember can remain hot for days, so put ashes in a metal container with a lid away from the house, the garage, the deck.”
It’s never too late to have a licensed professional clean and inspect your furnace or chimney. Heating equipment is the leading cause of carbon monoxide in the home.
*Prevent Freezing Pipes
Let water drip a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing and open cupboards under sinks to let heat circulate around the pipes unless there are small children in the home.
*Protect Sprinklers Systems
In order to protect sprinkler systems, check on your building during to the cold snap, especially if you don’t have a low temperature alarm. Make sure that all portions of the building remain heated to at least 40°F and are not exposed to freezing conditions. Setting the thermostat higher (50-60 °F) during this cold snap will help make sure pipes in concealed areas stay warm.
For more information on winter heating go to: www.mass.gov/keepwarmkeepsafe.