Fire Safety Tips

Winter Fire Safety

Fire-Related Hazards Present during and after a Winter Storm:

  • Alternative heating devices used incorrectly create fire hazards.
  • Damaged or downed utility lines can present a fire and life safety hazard.
  • Water damaged appliances and utilities can be electrically charged.
  • Frozen water pipes can burst and cause safety hazards.
  • Leaking gas lines, damaged or leaking gas propane containers, and leaking vehicle gas tanks may explode or ignite.

The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire-safe home this winter:

Wood Stoves and Fireplaces

Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.

Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.

Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.


Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.

Do not attempt repairs yourself: leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists.

Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.

Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Kerosene Heaters

Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane for example) can produce deadly fumes. Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.

NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. Follow manufacturer’s instructions. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. Cold fuel may expand in the tank as it warms up.

Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep young children away from space heaters – especially when they are wearing pajamas or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.

Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.