GLOUCESTER- As temperatures drop and with winter on the horizon, Chief Eric Smith and the Gloucester Fire Department would like to provide residents with safety tips for heating homes and staying warm this winter.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Safety, heating is the second leading cause of home fires in Massachusetts with over 7,000 fires started in just the last five years.
“With planning and proper preparation, residents can prevent hazardous home heating situations that could cause a fire during the winter months,” Chief Smith said. “As the temperature continues to drop, please make sure your heating systems are up to date, clean and working properly so that you and your family can stay warm and safe this winter season.”
In order to keep residents warm and safe, the Gloucester Fire Department wishes to share the following tips from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services to help prevent heating related home fires:
- Have your chimney professionally cleaned every year.
- Make sure your stove is approved by a national testing agency such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL).
- Obtain a building permit before installing a stove.
- Keep anything flammable three feet away from all heating appliances and chimneys.
- Dispose of ashes in a metal container, with a lid, away from the house, garage and porch.
- Do not use space heaters as your primary heating source.
- Always turn off space heaters when going to bed or leaving home.
- Have your furnace and hot water heater professionally checked every year and never let the tank get completely empty.
- Call for service if the oil burner releases smoke or soot in the house
- Do not use or store gasoline or painting supplies indoors where the furnace pilot light can ignite them.
Gas leaks can be dangerous – if you smell something like rotten eggs or you think there might be a leak:
- Evacuate the building.
- Do not smoke or turn electrical switches on or off – sparks can cause an explosion.
- Dial 911 immediately.
If you have more questions about safely heating your home please contact the Gloucester Fire Department at 978-281-9760.