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A hot-button issue: Preventing house fires

Half of all home heating fires occur in December, January or February. Check the following items off your list to prevent malfunctioning heating equipment—the number one cause of house fires during the winter. 

Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a qualified professional every 12 months. Contact a qualified professional to clean and inspect your chimney and vents. Use only dry, seasoned firewood in the fireplace. Use a metal or tempered glass fireplace screen. Use only portable space heaters with automatic shut-offs. Plug portable space heaters directly into an outlet and place at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure children know to stay at least three feet away from the fireplace and space heaters. Dispose of cooled ashes and coals by placing them in a metal container and wetting them down. Keep the container outside your home and away from combustible materials. 

For more information, contact Fire Marshal Laura McCarthy at 952-563-8965.