SALEM - Oregon State Fire Marshal Robert Garrison urges safety in citizens' efforts to stay warm this winter. Keys to safety include:
Have a certified chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney and fireplace for creosote build-up, cracks, crumbling bricks and obstructions.
Place fireplace or wood stove ashes outdoors in a covered metal container at least three feet away from anything that burns.
A flue fire can ruin your chimney or stovepipe. To prevent flue fires, burn dry, well-seasoned wood. Burn small, hot fires. Don't burn trash.
Always use a fireplace screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass to prevent sparks from escaping. (If children are present, use a special child-guard screen as a barrier.)
Give heaters space. Put at least 36 inches of clear space between the heater and everything else, like furniture, curtains, papers and people.
Vacuum and clean the dust and lint from heating vents. A buildup of dust and lint can cause a fire.
Have your furnace checked and cleaned regularly by a qualified repairperson. Be sure to leave all repair work to the experts.
Check the cord on portable electric heaters. If the cord gets hot, frayed or cracked, have the heater serviced.
Never use extension cords with portable electric heaters. It can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
Turn off portable heaters when family members leave the house or are sleeping.
An adult should always be present when a space heater is used around children.
Make sure your portable electric heater is UL-approved and has a tip-over shut off function.
Avoid kerosene heaters. They can emit poisonous fumes.
If using a propane-fueled heater, make sure it is designed and approved for indoor use. Read all of the manufacturer's instructions and make sure it is properly vented.
Working smoke alarms alert you to a fire and more than double your chances of surviving a fire. In a fire, minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
Install smoke alarms in every home, on every level, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom.
Test and vacuum your smoke alarms each month to make sure they are working.
Make a home escape plan and practice it with your whole family at least twice a year.