GEORGETOWN — As the winter season begins to settle in, Chief Fred A. Mitchell Jr. and the Georgetown Fire Department wish to share home heating safety tips with residents.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, home heating is the second leading cause of home fires in Massachusetts.
“The cold weather is here, and we’re urging residents to properly use and maintain their heating systems to prevent fires,” Chief Mitchell said. “We also recommend that everyone takes the time to create, review and practice home escape plans with every person in your household to ensure everyone knows how to safely evacuate, should a fire take place.”
The Georgetown Fire Department wishes to share the following winter home heating safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Install and test regularly smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home.
- Do not use a stove, oven or grill for heat.
- On an annual basis, furnaces and chimneys should checked by a professional.
- Make sure to keep appliance vents and exhaust pipes clear of drifting snow and bushes.
- Practice home fire drills and establish an escape plan with everyone in your household.
- Practice fire safety and teach children to do the same.
- If using a fireplace or a solid fuel stove:
- Have the chimney professionally cleaned on an annual basis.
- Check that your stove is approved by a national testing agency.
- Obtain a building permit prior to installing a stove.
- Make sure anything capable of burning is three feet away from the stove.
- Put any ashes in a metal container when disposing of them, and store them away from the house.
- If you use a space heater:
- Space heaters should not be used as a primary heating system.
- Make sure anything capable of burning is kept at least three feet away from the space heater.
- Never leave a space heater on before falling asleep or going out.
- It is illegal to use portable kerosene heaters in Massachusetts for the home.
- When using natural gas to cook and/or heat a home, make sure to maintain that system:
- On an annual basis, have the furnace and hot water heater professionally checked.
- Never use or store gasoline or painting equipment indoors where they could be ignited by the pilot light.
- If you smell something similar to rotten eggs or believe there may be a gas leak, evacuate, do not smoke or turn off electrical switches and call 911.
- In order to maintain oil heating systems:
- On an annual basis, have your boiler professionally cleaned and checked.
- Do not allow the tank to get completely empty.
- If the oil burner releases smoke or soot indoors, call for service.
For more fire safety tips and recommendations, visit www.mass.gov/keepwarmkeepsafe.