Sunday, November 05, 2006

Winter Preparation and Fire Safety

The rain is here, the temperature has dropped, and it's a great time to gear up, stock up, and get ready for colder weather. This is a great time of year to make sure that you have everything that you will need for the winter, and be prepared before the cold season sets in. This can include checking your winter heating supplies, whether you need wood - or simply turning on your heating elements to check if everything is in working order.

Since the first really cold nights are when most people discover that there heating source is either broken or weak, it's generally a good idea to turn it on a few times before the heart of winter sets in, especially if you live in an area that packs a thicker blanket of snow. Of course there are no guarantees as to when an appliance or heating element can go out, making sure that it is not out now is a good idea. Chances are that if you can run your heater for a few hours with no problems, it will run for a good long time. Make sure that you clean the dust and cobwebs out of any vents before running it for the first time, as these can add to fire dangers. Remember the chimney project you've been meaning to work on? Now is the best time to take care of things like that, before the fire danger becomes an issue. Cleaning out any debris that has collected, and cleaning out the "soot" or creosote that builds up in the pipes can prevent a deadly and fast burning attic fire.

Make sure that all of your smoke detectors are present and working. There should be at least one for every bedroom in the home, plus at least one more near the main area of the house. If you don't have at least this many, you should get some. Having working smoke detectors can make all the difference in the world when a fire breaks out while the residents are asleep. Be sure that all escape routes are well known in the household, and that all exits are free and clear of stored items or debris. Again, this is one safety precaution that could help you escape danger.

With the recent rains, this is a great opportunity to check the seals on windows for any water leakage, check the attic for any indication of a leaky roof (before it saturates your attic!) Warm the house and then run your fingers along the windows and doorjams to check for cool air entering your home - this can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of one winter!

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