Ask a firefighter: Help prevent a heater fire

Winter weather can make for beautiful scenery and a winter wonderland to play in. There is something about the winter months and curling up with a good book by the fireplace. But did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? With a few simple safety tips and precautions, you can prevent most heating fires from happening.

To help you keep warm and safe this winter remember to:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heaters.

• Have a three-foot “kid free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

• Never use your oven to heat your home.

• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

• Have heating equipment and chimney’s cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

• Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

• Install and test CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. CO alarms should be in homes with fuel fired appliances and/ or with attached garages.

Through December, January, and February we get to enjoy the winter weather. The snow that packs on the Sierra mountains lets us enjoy recreational activities such as skiing, snow shoeing, and sledding. All too often after the snow falls, we get periods of heavy rain. This rain can cause flooding in the valleys. One of the most asked questions from community members is how to prepare for an emergency such as a flood.

By following these emergency preparedness safety tips, you should be prepared and ready.

Make a plan

• Have a way of communicating to your family

• Know the location of evacuation sites

• Keep at least a half a tank of gas in your vehicle

• Have a battery-operated radio to listen for weather and/or evacuation updates

• Have an evacuation plan for your pets and/or livestock

Make a kit

• Have enough supplies in your kit to last at least three days

• One gallon of water per person in the household per day

• Non-perishable foods that require little or no water to prepare

• Have a first-aid kit

• Prescription medication

• Prescription glasses

Have tools and emergency supplies

• Plastic utensils

• Extra flashlights

• Extra batteries

• Cash

• Sanitation supplies and toiletries

• Clothing and bedding

Special considerations for children and those with special needs

• Supplies for your pets

• Food

• Water

• Medication

• Carriers

For information about emergency preparedness, emergency supply lists, and heating safety you can go to,,

Send your questions about the heating safety, emergency preparedness, and the Carson City Fire Department to:


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