Only You Can Prevent Housing Fires
By: Dave Hanegraaff
Only you can prevent forest fires. While the slogan made famous by Smokey the Bear is now firmly cemented in our memories, the ad campaign once began for a very specific reason. With depletion in manpower of the US firefighting forces due to the high number of US men fighting abroad during World War II, the US Forest Services began the campaign with the hopes that educating local communities about the danger of forest fires could help to prevent them from starting in the first place. And education worked! According to the national Ad Council, over 95% of Americans know about Smokey the Bear and can cite his infamous slogan.
While what I’m about to tell you probably won’t set the Internet ablaze and go viral, it just might save your home from an unwanted visit from the local fire station this winter. The cold weather drives us to heat our homes, and that’s fine. But, we want to make sure that you’re taking the necessary precautions to keep those heat sources contained so that you can prevent housing fires.
Here are some tips to safely heat your home this winter.
One of the most enjoyable ways to heat your home is by cozying up to a fireplace or furnace. But, we want to make sure that the fire stays contained. So, if you are heating your home with fire make sure to follow the following rules of thumb.
- Keep anything that could catch fire at least 3 feet from any flame. This includes keeping excess hot ashes in a metal box at least 3 feet away from your home outside.
- Consider keeping a guard or screen in front of your fire to ensure that sparks and embers stay inside the fireplace or furnace.
Do not burn papers in the fire.
Always put the fire out before you leave home or go to bed for the night.
Some of us prefer technology to heat our homes, and that’s ok too. Sometimes we trust technology more than we should so make sure to follow these simple rules when using a space heater or any other portable heating device.
- Keep anything that could catch fire at least 3 feet away from the device.
- Keep your device on solid ground, rather than on top of a rug, carpeting or anything else that might overheat and catch fire.
- Never leave the device unattended, which means if you leave home or go to bed for the night turn the device off.
Inspect your devices! No matter what method you are using to heat your home, it is important to inspect your device or have them inspected annually. Additionally, ensure that your smoke detector has working batteries to detect a fire should the advice as mentioned above go unheeded.
Bonus Tips to Prevent Overheating.
Your home isn’t the only thing that can overheat and cause problems during the winter, as there is such a thing as overheating your body as well. Failure to avoid overheating your body can lead to serious health issues so make sure that you’re heating your home, but not excessively so! The key is to find a healthy balance between how you’re heating your home, what you are wearing to keep warm and the number of blankets you have on your bed.
For example, heating your home to 80 degrees, wearing wool pajamas and stocking your bed with 4 blankets during winter might be the definition of overkill. It is important to find a sleep temperature that works for your body and take the necessary steps to achieve that level.
Personally? I don’t change a single thing about my sleep routine during the winter months aside from setting the temperature of my ChiliPad to a slightly higher temperature than during the warmer months. But, everyone is different, so it’s important to test things out and figure out what works for you. Whatever it is, just make sure that you’re not overheating!