Public news and announcements are brought to you by the Horry County Public Information Office.
Horry County, SC - - Did you know that home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season? Half of all home heating fires occur in the months of December, January, and February. With cold weather in the forecast, and the upcoming winter season approaching, Horry County Fire Rescue would like to remind residents to follow these heating tips to help maintain a fire-safe home:
· Keep anything that can burn, such as bedding, clothing, and curtains, at least 3 feet away from the heater.
· Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off, so if it tips over, it shuts off.
· Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
· Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
· Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
· Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out.
· Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
· Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
· Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 10 feet from your home.
· Make sure your wood stove is 3 feet from anything that can burn.
· Do not burn paper in your wood stove.
· Have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a professional.
· Have your furnace inspected each year.
· Keep anything that can burn away from the furnace.
· Do not use a kitchen oven to heat the home. It is not designed to heat large areas, and the element may fail which could cause a fire.
· Portable generators are commonly used in the winter as a result of storm-induced power outages. Carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and deadly. Follow manufacturer’s instructions to prevent death from carbon monoxide.
· Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, and vents.
· Make sure you have carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month.
· Do not use a generator in a wet area. This can cause shock or electrocution.
· Connect appliances to the generator with heavy-duty extension cords.
· Do not fuel your generator when it is running. Spilling gas on a hot engine can cause a fire.
Heating pads and electric blankets also pose a fire risk, especially if more than 10-years old. Do not place anything on top of either device when in use, this includes other blankets or pets. Never fold electric blankets or use while sleeping.
Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and inside and outside sleeping areas. You should test your smoke alarm each month. Also, lightly dust or vacuum your smoke alarm after each test. Smoke alarms should be completely replaced every 10-years. Your family should plan and practice a home escape plan during your monthly smoke alarm testing routine.
Lastly, if there is a fire emergency, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible and remain outdoors. Never return inside a burning building to retrieve an item.
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