Brian Schaeffer

Keeping you warm and safe this winter

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief, No Phone Number Available

Monday, December 9, 2013 at 3:18 p.m.

It is going to be a cold winter in Spokane and the Spokane Fire Department wants you to keep warm and safe this holiday season.

Candle Safety

Softly glowing candles are the backdrop to holiday decorations and ambience. Unfortunately, the top three days for candle fires are Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The Spokane Fire Department recommends the use of battery-operated candles rather than open flame candles. For those using open flame candles, the following tips can help keep your holidays safe (drawn from the most recent candle fire study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association):

  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn. Some form of combustion placed too close to the candle accounted for 56 percent of home candle fires.
  • Never leave a candle burning in a room without a responsible adult. Nearly 20 percent of home candle fires resulted from unattended candles.
  • Make sure candles are always in sturdy containers. Four percent of candle fires were caused by unstable or combustible candle holders.
  • Never light candles when you are drowsy. Falling asleep with a candle burning was a factor in 43 percent of candle-caused fire deaths.

These tips and more can be found in the December issue of the Spokane Fire Department's Apartment Safety Newsletter.

Portable Electric Heater Safety

The SFD, U.S. Fire Administration and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) provide these 12 tips for using portable electric heaters safely:

  1. Read the manufacturer's instructions and warning labels before using your heater.
  2. Never leave an operating heater unattended. Always unplug the heater when not in use.
  3. Unplug the heater by pulling the plug straight from the outlet. Inspect the power cord regularly, and never use a heater with a damaged cord.
  4. Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug does not fit snugly into the outlet or if the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced. Check with a qualified electrician to replace the outlet.
  5. Never use a power strip or extension cord to power your heater. Overheating of the power strip or extension cord can easily cause a fire.
  6. Do not plug any other electrical device into the same outlet as your heater. Doing so can overheat the circuit and cause a fire.
  7. String the included power cord above any rug or carpeting. Anything you place on top of a cord, including furniture, may damage it.
  8. Keep combustible materials such as furniture, pillows, bedding, papers, clothes, curtains, paint, gas cans and matches at least three feet from all sides of the heater. Do not block the heater's air intake or outlet.
  9. Unless the heater is designed for outdoor use or in bathrooms, do not use in damp or wet areas. Parts in the heater may be damaged by moisture.
  10. Place the heater on a level, flat surface. Only use a heater on tabletops when specified by the manufacturer.
  11. Heaters should be kept away from pets and children and never used in a child's room without constant adult presence.
  12. Seniors, the disabled, those living alone or in student housing may be at increased risk due to careless or improper use of heaters. If you know someone in this risk category, please share this safety list and your concerns.

Please stay warm and safe.

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