With cold weather setting in, the danger of home fires increases from use of portable heaters and fireplaces. The following are fire safety tips from the office of John F. King, the state insurance and safety fire commissioner.

General tips

  • Keep flammable materials like bedsheets and blankets 3 feet away from any heat source.
  • Never use an oven to heat the home.
  • Extinguish any fire in the fireplace and turn off any space heaters before leaving the area or going to bed.

For fireplaces

  • Put fireplace ashes in a metal container with a lid and place the container more than 10 feet from the home.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace and close the doors to a wood stove.
  • If possible, place switches for fireplaces out of a child’s reach.
  • Have the chimney inspected by a professional each year.

For portable heaters

  • Ensure the heater is tested by a testing laboratory.
  • Get a heater that automatically shuts off if it tips over.
  • Plug heaters directly into outlets without any other item on the same circuit.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.