Fire Safety Tips for the Home - Winter

Winter Fire Safety Tips for the Home

Prepare ahead for the winter season.  Think about how to add some extra heat to your home.  Many of us light fires in the fireplace or pug in space heaters this time of year; however, they are a major factor in preventable residential fires.

Below are helpful safety tips to make your home safer during the winter season.  Please follow these safety tips to maintain a fire-safe home this winter.

Chimney Safety

  • Before the start of every season, have your chimney inspected by a professional for proper installation, cracks, blockages, leaks, or creosote build-up.  Creosote is a chemical substance that forms when wood burns and accumulates in chimneys.  If allowed to build up it can cause a chimney fire.  It needs to be removed. 
  • Have your chimney professionally inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used in some time.
  • Make sure the flue pipe and pipe seams are inspected, well supported and free of holes and cracks.  Soot around or along a seam can indicate a leak. 
  • Be sure to open the flue for adequate ventilation when using the fireplace. 
  • Always use a fire screen and burn only materials appropriate for fireplaces, such as seasoned hardwood. 
  • If using manufactured fire logs, read and follow directions.  Never break the logs or use more than one log at a time.
  • Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces.  Overbuilding the fire could ignite creosote in the chimney.
  • Always remove branches hanging above the chimney.


  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate a fire in a fireplace or wood stove.
  • Never burn trash or paper in a fireplace.  Burning paper can float up your chimney and land on your roof or in your yard.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel.  A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
  • Add wood to fireplaces carefully; sparks can fly into the room while the screen is open.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package.  Never break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire, and never use more than one log at a time.  They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Remove ashes from the grate by placing them in a metal container.
  • Keep firewood stacked outdoors and away from your home.
  • Bring in only as much wood as you need for one evening.
  • Make sure you have a mesh screen spark arrester covering your chimney to prevent hot embers from landing on your roof or on your neighbor's roof.


  • It's important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.  Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line.  If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists.  Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.

Space Heaters

  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit.
  • Use only extension cords that have the necessary rating to carry the amp load and are the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Do not use a space heater that is in poor repair or if the cord on the space heater is loose or damaged.
  • Never place a space heater close to flammable curtains, furniture, etc.
  • Make sure space heaters are not accessible to small children or pets.

Other Fire Safety Tips

  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event of a fire.  Be sure that all the windows open easily.  Home escape ladders are recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of obstacles so it can easily be located.
  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check it on a monthly basis.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.

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229 N Main St
New Castle, IN 47362
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