Winter Safety Tips

InfoGraphic_winterSafety_AG_1213With colder temperatures in the upcoming months the City of Georgetown Fire Department would like to remind the citizens to use caution when heating their homes.

Here are some tips to remember for winter home Fire Safety:

  • Do not overload electrical wiring or outlets. We have experienced home fires from overloaded electrical wiring powering portable space heaters.
  • Do not use your stove to heat your home.  This is a dangerous situation that not only increases the chance of a fire but it will fill your home with deadly carbon monoxide. An unattended open flame is a disaster waiting to happen especially with small children at home. Using portable space heaters is safe if you keep the heater 3 feet away from combustible materials. Do not leave a space heater unattended in a child’s room. Plug the heater directly into an outlet and do not use extension cords. If the electrical breaker trips while using the heater, discontinue the use of the heater and call a qualified electrician to check your electrical system.
  • Service your fireplace before use.  Have your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year. Chimneys often become clogged with soot and other debris from birds or squirrels. Always make sure your chimney flue is open before you light your fire.
  • Keeping your pets warm: Every year we see at least one fire started by heating lamps or lights that were placed in a dog house to keep the pets warm. This is a dangerous practice and we do not recommend placing heating devices within the dog house or pet container.
  • Check your smoke detectors for proper operation and review your fire escape plans with your family. If you have gas fueled appliances in your home,  install a carbon monoxide detector and have your heating unit checked and serviced by a qualified service company.

It is also important to make sure your pipes are wrapped well to prevent frozen pipes.

  • Before winter hits, disconnect garden hoses and, if possible, use an indoor valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
  • Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl spaces and attic, even if you live in a climate where freezing is uncommon. Exposed pipes are most susceptible to freezing. Remember: The more insulation you use, the better protected your pipes will be.
  • Seal leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located. Look for air leaks around electrical wiring, dryer vents, and pipes, and use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out. With severe cold, even a tiny opening can let in enough cold air to cause a pipe to freeze.

Even if you’ve taken the right preventative steps, extreme weather conditions can still harm your pipes.
Here are a few more steps you can take:

  • A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. Let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
  •   Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature  both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature – more common overnight – could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.

              Prevention is the key for keeping water running during the winter months,
so take precautions to see that your pipes are securely wrapped and warm.