WINTER FIRE SAFETY
Winter holidays can be a joyous time for all, but nearly 50% of civilian fire deaths occur throughout the winter season: November-February. Most heating fires in South Dakota involve fireplaces and chimneys. The most dangerous place to be, with regard to fire, is in your own home. Your home can be a cozy, warm place away from a harsh winter, but it can also become dangerous if you don’t take special precautions.
Tips to Eliminate Winter Fires
S a f e t y a r o u n d h e a t i n g equipment and appliances is an important first step in reducing the threat of fire. Keep children and loose clothing at a safe distance.
Use a yardstick to measure the distance between heating equipment and combustible material. Unless you have three feet of clearance, you are at risk.
Always turn off portable heating appliances when leaving home or retiring for the evening. Be sure the fire in the fireplace is out before going to bed.
Have chimneys, fireplaces, and o t h e r h e a t i n g d e v i c e s inspected by a qualified professional at the start of every heating season.
Use a sturdy screen or glass closure in front of your fireplace, and burn only clean fireplace wood. Never burn treated lumber.
Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and test them monthly.
If you smell gas in your home, contact your local utility c o m p a n y o r q u a l i f i e d professional heating contractor and follow their advice.
Inspect heat tape before using it. Never thaw frozen pipes with an open flame.
Winter Safety Tips.
Protect neighborhood homes this winter. Keep your nearest fire hydrant clear of snow.
After holiday parties, check wastebaskets and furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
Place holiday decorations well away from heat sources. If you have a tree, water it daily.
Do not burn holiday wrappings in a fireplace; it may cause a chimney fire.
Pay attention when cooking. If a pan is on fire, cover it with a lid. Water will spread the fire.
Turn off and unplug lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving your house. Buy electrical decorations that have been approved by a national testing laboratory. Don’t overload outlets. Candle Burning Safety Tips
Place candles on a secure surface in sturdy noncombustible holders that won’t tip over. Make sure the holder is large enough to catch drippings.
Keep candles away from children and pets. Candles should be out of children’s reach.
Keep candles away from combustible items such as curtains, books, and paper. Remember the “three-foot rule” - anything combustible needs to be kept three feet from a heat source.
Keep candles away from flammable liquids. Do not use a candle for light when fueling a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.
Avoid using candles during a power outage. A flashlight is a safer option. Don’t carry a lit candle.
Remember to extinguish candles when leaving the room or going to sleep. Never leave children or pets unattended in a room with a lit candle.
Winter Weather Preparedness Guide
SD Department of