ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Low temperatures have arrived in Albuquerque. If you are turning the heat on, the Albuquerque Fire Rescue (AFR) has a list of things you should know to prevent fires at your home.
According to the United States Fire Administration, every year, fires during the holiday season injure 2,600 people and cause more than $930 million in damage across the country.
Below are AFR’s safety tips to consider during the winter:
Fireplaces and Wood Stoves
- Have a certified chimney sweep clean and inspect your chimney and fireplace or creosote build-up, cracks, crumbling bricks and obstructions.
- Place fireplace or wood stove ashes outdoors in a covered metal container at least 3 ft away from anything that can burn.
- Don’t burn trash including gift wrapping. The wrapping may ignite suddenly and cause a flash fire.
Portable heaters need at least 3 feet of empty space between the heater and everything else like furniture, curtains, papers and people.
- Make sure the heater is UL-approved and has a tip-over shut-off function.
- Check the cord and make sure it is not frayed. If frayed, it is time for a new heater.
- Never use extension cords with portable heaters. It is a common cause of fire.
- An adult must always be present when a space heater is used around children.
- Always turn off portable heaters when family members leave the house or are sleeping.
Working smoke alarms alert you to a fire and more than double your chances of surviving a fire.
- Install smoke alarms in every home, on every level, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom.
- Test your smoke alarms each month to make sure they are working.
- Replace batteries twice a year when daylight savings occurs.
- Replace smoke alarms every ten years or sooner if they are broken.
- When the smoke alarm sounds, get out fast!
Have an Escape Plan
It is essential to have an escape plan. It could mean life or death.
- Plan your escape; know two ways out of every room.
- Have a “safe” spot that everyone meets at across the street.
- Practice at least once a month so everyone knows what to do if a fire does occur.
If you are unable to access a warm area or find yourself outside during the cold, AFR said it’s important to dress in layers and drink water to prevent dehydration.
AFR recommends going outside during mid-day when the sun is the strongest and the temperature is at its highest. AFR also asks that people check on elderly neighbors and relatives.
More safety information can be found here.