Winter Safety Tips from the Laconia Fire Department

LACONIA — The Laconia Fire Department has issued the following Winter safety tips.

As you all know the winter heating season is now upon us. Home fires and home fire deaths peak during the cold weather months. There are many factors that cause this increase. Here are a few tips to make this season a safe one:

• Do not wear loose fitting clothing when working near the stove or fireplace
• Check all electric cords and plugs on your appliances. If they are worn or broken throw them away and buy new ones.
• Do not use candles near drapes or curtains. If you use candles be sure they are in a stable, non-tip container and are kept away from combustibles.
• Be careful of candles around children and pets – they can very easily knock the candle over or burn themselves. Be sure all candles are out and decorations are off when you go to bed.
• Do not overload electrical outlets. If you must use extension cords make sure the cord is in good condition and is adequate to handle the load. Do not run cords under carpet or furniture. This can cause overheating.
• You should have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year, preferably before the start of the heating season.
• Always use a fire screen in front of your fireplace. Never burn trash or rubbish in the fireplace. Be careful when adding wood to the fireplace – place the wood gently into the firebox.
• When cleaning the wood stove or fireplace always place the ashes in a metal container and place the container outside and away from the home. The coals can retain heat for many days.
• Have your heating appliances cleaned on an annual basis.
• Keep portable heaters at least 3 feet away from combustibles, especially curtains, bedding, and clothing. Keep combustibles at least 18" away from a wood stove or fireplace.
• Test your smoke detector monthly. At a minimum install smoke detectors outside of the bedrooms and at the bottom of the stairs.
• Review your Home Escape Plan with your family. Have a plan on how to get out of the house, in the event of a fire. Have a meeting place outside. Never go back into a burning home – wait for the fire department. Have two ways out from every room and floor level. If you cannot get out of a room, close the door, go to a window, and signal for help.
• Keep a flashlight in every bedroom. Check to make sure it works.
• We recommend that every home have at least one carbon monoxide detector. It should be located near the bedrooms.
• Never leave your car running in the garage; let the engine warm up outside.

In a fire or medical emergency seconds do count. A fire will double in intensity every minute. If you suspect a fire or have any other emergency call the fire department immediately. We are here to help you in any way possible. The number to call in Laconia is 9 1 1.