Tips for safely heating your home

With below-freezing temperatures blanketing Bexar County this week, residents are looking to keep warm. But not all heat sources are safe, Chris Lopez, Bexar County Fire Marshal said.

“This time of year, we see an increase of home fires,” Lopez said. “Unfortunately, we see many cases where residents have used their stove or other sources for heat inside their home to stay warm and then the fire quickly spreads to the rest of the house.”

You can reduce the risk of a fire in your home by following these tips:

  • Keep all fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, space heaters or candles at least three feet away from anything that can burn, such as curtains, carpet, mattresses, and blankets.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Turn off and unplug space heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Make sure the heater has an automatic shutoff, so if it tips over, it shuts off.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year by a professional.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
  • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
  • Have your furnace inspected each year.
  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom and test monthly.
  • Create a home fire escape plan.

For more information about fire safety and fire plans, click here.

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