Chief’s Corner | Be warm and safe this winter | SierraSun.com

Chief’s Corner | Be warm and safe this winter

NLTFPD Chief Mike Brown

EDITOR'S NOTE: "Chief's Corner" is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.

It's not too early to begin preparing for winter. As we turn up the heat and stoke our fireplaces, here are some seasonal home fire safety tips to remember:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.

• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.

• Does your portable space heater have an automatic shut off? Make sure your space heater is plugged directly into an outlet (not an extension cord).

• Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a qualified professional once a year.

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• Have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional (not cleaning your chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires from built up creosote).

• Have a three-foot 'kid-free zone' around open fires, space heaters, fireplace, and wood/pellet stoves.

• Make sure the fireplace screen is metal or heat-tempered glass, in good condition and secure in its position in front of the fireplace. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a covered metal container. Keep the container a safe distance (at least 10 feet) from your home.

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• When using your fireplace or wood stove, please use dry, seasoned wood.

• Test your smoke alarms and make sure they are working. You need a smoke alarm on every level of the home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area. For the best protection, the smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound.

• Test your carbon monoxide alarm every year and make sure it's working. They should be located outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.