You’ve probably already broken out the sweaters and scarves, turned on the space heater in your bedroom or office and maybe even bought some logs to burn in the fireplace. It’s the time of year when we do our best to keep warm wherever we go.
With space heaters and fireplaces specifically though, it is important to take extra precautions to keep you and your families safe. Tracey Fejt, trauma prevention coordinator at Banner Children’s at Cardon Children’s Medical Center, cannot emphasize the importance of taking these safety precautions enough.
Around the holidays or when it is getting colder, people are using their fireplaces and using their space heaters and they do catch on fire because people are not watching. There is a high risk of fire with those and you really have to be careful with them.
Fejt also gave us some guidelines for keeping safe when using space heaters and your fireplaces.
Space Heater Safety
According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are responsible for just over two of every five fires. While they can be a nice alternative to centralized heating, it is important that they are used safely.
Tracey Fejt explains that it is important to follow the below guidelines:
- Use space heaters only on flat, steady surfaces.
- Use them 3 feet away from anything that can catch on fire.
- Plug them directly into the wall socket and do not use them with extension cords or power strips.
- Turn them off when people leave the room or the house.
Nothing sets the holiday mood more than a nice fire in the fireplace. Of course, it is always important to make sure you are being safe at the same time.
Some important fireplace safety tips include:
- Before lighting any fires, remove all greens, boughs, papers and other decorations from the fireplace area.
- Remember to check to see that the flue is open.
- Use care with “fire salts,” which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Be sure to keep them away from children.
- Do not hang Christmas stockings from the mantel when the fireplace is in use.
- Always use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
- Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Use only seasoned and dried wood.
- Never leave the fire unattended or let it smolder.
We hope you all stay safe and warm this winter season. Happy holidays!