Fire Prevention Tips from the El Paso Fire Department
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — Risks for fire related incidents and fatalities increase tremendously when temperatures outside begin to drop.
This large increase is due to the actions taken in order to stay warm. T
he El Paso Fire Department would like to remind the public of some basic fire safety practices to help minimize the risks during this cold weather season:
Heating Safety: Heating is the second leading cause of all residential building fires (behind cooking fires) and is most prevalent in the winter months when the use of central heating systems, portable heaters, and fireplaces is most common.
Over one quarter of residential building heating fires result from improper maintenance of heating equipment, specifically the failure to clean the equipment. Most home heating fires involve portable and space heaters, with gas (propane) and kerosene heaters accounting for the highest fatality risk.
• Use a heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards.
• NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
• Turn the space heater off if you leave the area. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
• Be aware that mobile homes require specially designed heating equipment. Only electric or vented fuel-fired equipment should be used.
• Use space heaters with extreme care and inspect electric heaters for damaged cords.
• Keep combustible materials including furniture, drapes, and carpeting at least three feet away from the heat source.
• Never drape clothes over a space heater to dry.
• Always keep an eye on heating appliances. Never leave children alone in the room where a space heater is running. Turn it off when you are unable to closely monitor it.
Appliance Safety: Have all heating appliances - furnaces, water heaters and wood stoves - checked and serviced annually by a reliable professional. Do not repair them yourselves, unless you are licensed to do so. These devices are a primary source of carbon monoxide poisoning and present some of the most significant fire potential in a home.
Gas Stove Safety: Do not use a kitchen range or oven to heat your house because it could overheat or generate excessive carbon monoxide.
Carbon Monoxide Safety: Watch out for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, such as nausea, lightheadedness and headaches, especially when more than one person in the home is experiencing these symptoms. If you recognize these symptoms and suspect carbon monoxide, exit the home immediately. Call 911 from a safe location.
Smoke Alarms: Have a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of the house, inside every bedroom, and outside the bedrooms in each sleeping area. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.
If you do not have a working smoke detector in your home and need assistance obtaining one, please contact the Fire Prevention Division at (915) 485-5699 or visit www.EPSmokeAlarm.com
Special Needs: Remember to check on the very young and the elderly as they are more susceptible to cold related injuries. Help protect those that can’t protect themselves. Also remember your pets. Take precautions to help keep them safe and warm as well.
Emergency Escape Plans: Make sure that you have and practice an emergency escape plan. When you have to evacuate, get out, stay out, and call 911 from a cell phone or neighbors home.