With cold weather often leading to alternative methods of heating homes, Hall County Fire Marshal Capt. Scott Cagle recommends the following precautions:
• Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
• Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
• Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
• Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
• Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home.
For electric space heaters
• Space heaters need space. Keep items at least three feet away from each heater – in front, behind, above and below.
When buying a space heater, only buy one with a safety feature that automatically shuts off the power if the heater falls over, and that has been evaluated by a testing laboratory.
• Space heaters require a large amount of electricity. When using a space heater, do not plug anything else into the same outlet.
• Never leave space heaters unattended. Turn them off and unplug them when leaving the home or when going to bed at night.
To avoid carbon monoxide dangers
• Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage.
• Never keep a car running in a garage. Even if the garage doors are open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of CO.
• Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms.
• Check smoke alarms and practice a home escape plan,.
Source: Fire Marshal Scott Cagle