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As the winter temperatures set in, we want to make sure your home and family are prepared for the colder weather. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, winter home fires account for an average of 890 deaths and $2 billion in property losses every year. Heating-related fires are the second leading cause of home fires, followed only by cooking fires. Keep your family and home safe this year by following these important steps.

Fireplace Safety

While a fireplace can be a great way to stay warm during the colder winter months, they can post definite threats if not properly maintained. Here are a few tips to keep in mind this winter:

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually by a licensed and insured professional. Built up debris within the walls of your fireplace can increase your risk of a home fire.
  • Always use a screen in front of your fireplace. This can prevent sparks or embers from catching items in your home.
  • Be mindful of items placed near your fireplace. Avoid placing flammable things, like upholstered furniture or rugs, within 10 feet of your fireplace.
  • Never leave your fireplace lit if it will be unattended. Fires should also only be lit for short durations. Avoid leaving them lit for long periods of time or overnight.
  • If you have children or pets in your home, make sure to keep a close eye on them whenever your fireplace is lit.

Portable Space Heater Safety

Do you use a portable heater for a little extra warmth during the winter? While these devices are often convenient, they can also easily spark a fire if not used properly.

  • Only use devices with anti-tip technology. This way, if your space heater is knocked over, it will turn off.
  • Before turning on your space heater, inspect it for any cracked wiring or broken plugs. If it is damaged in any way, do not use it.
  • Make sure your space heater is on even flooring and away from any flammable items.
  • Always plug your space heater directly into the wall — never plug them into an extension cord or power strip. These devices require a lot of energy, and can quickly overload a circuit, causing a fire.
  • Never leave your space heater on if it is unattended. Turn it off before leaving the room or going to bed.

General Safety Tips

Here are a few general tips to keep in mind as you heat your home this winter.

  • Never use your gas stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Have your furnace inspected annually by a licensed and insured HVAC professional.
  • Test all smoke and CO detectors once a month.
  • Create and regularly practice a fire evacuation plan with all members of your family.

We hope these tips help you have a safer winter. If you have more questions about protecting your home and family, we work with over 500 independent agents who are ready to help. Visit our website to find a local agent near you: bit.ly/QuincyFindAgent