CINCINNATI, OH – As the region prepares for extreme winter weather, the Cincinnati Fire Department (CFD) encourages residents to keep fire safety tips in mind. “There are many safety considerations when we’re anticipating inclement weather, and one consideration people may not initially think of is fire safety. Whether it’s keeping warm or keeping the household running during a power outage, the measures people take can increase the risk of fire,” says Fire Chief Michael Washington.
When temperatures drop to extreme lows, it’s important to be safe when using additional heating elements. The CFD advises residents using any heating equipment such as fireplaces, space heaters, or wood stoves to keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the equipment. Likewise, children and pets should stay three feet away from heating equipment. Chief Washington says half of all home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. “We encourage everyone to heat their homes safely and check their smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly, especially during this time of year and type of weather.”
Power outages caused by extreme weather present additional health and fire risks. Portable generators are a temporary solution to power appliances during an outage, but they add the risk of carbon monoxide exposure, shock, electrocution, or fire ignition. To avoid these risks, residents using portable generators should always do so in a dry, well-ventilated outdoor area at lease 20 feet from doors, windows, and vent openings. Appliances should be connected using heavy duty extension cords that are free of cuts and tears. Never fuel a generator while it is running. Spilling gas on a hot engine can cause a fire.