Tahoe chief’s corner: 10 winter heating safety tips | SierraSun.com

Tahoe chief’s corner: 10 winter heating safety tips

Mike Brown
Special to the Bonanza

Mike Brown

With the recent snowfall in the Lake Tahoe Basin and Sierra, it finally feels and looks like winter.

It's also a good reminder for us to double check our indoor heating and safety systems. Have you checked these 10 tips off your list?

1. Our furnace has been inspected and serviced by a qualified professional during the last 12 months (a furnace should be serviced at least once a year).

2. Our chimneys and vents have been cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional. I have checked for creosote build-up (not cleaning your chimney is the leading cause of chimney fires from built up creosote).

3. Our wood for our fireplace or wood stove is dry, seasoned wood.

4. Our fireplace screen is metal or heat-tempered glass, in good condition and secure in its position in front of the fireplace.

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5. We have a covered metal container ready to use to dispose cooled ashes (the ash container should be kept at least 10 feet from the home and any nearby buildings).

6. Our children know to stay at least 3 feet away from the fireplace, wood/pellet stove, oil stove or other space heaters.

7. Our portable space heaters have an automatic shut-off.

8. Our portable space heaters will be plugged directly into an outlet (not an extension cord) and placed at least three feet from anything that can burn; like bedding, paper, walls, and even people (place notes throughout your home to remind you to turn off portable heaters when you leave a room or go to bed).

9. We have tested our smoke alarms and made sure they are working (you need smoke alarms on every level of the home, inside each sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, the smoke alarms should be interconnected so when one sounds, they all sound).

10. We have tested our carbon monoxide alarms and made sure they are working (carbon monoxide alarms should be located outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home).

Ultimately fire safety is your responsibility, so err on the side of caution. Don't do anything that will jeopardize the safety of your family or yourself.

For more winter heating tips go to nfpa.org/safety-information/.

"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.