Jan Doherty


Jan Doherty, Public Education Officer, No Phone Number Available

Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 10:10 a.m.


Photo by J. Samuel Burner via Wikimedia Commons

The Spokane Fire Department reminds the community of “lessons learned” from past power outages during winter months:

  • Use flashlights instead of candles to provide some light in the home. Many house fires have been caused by unattended candles that had been used for light. In some cases, people fell asleep while the candles were still lit. In other cases, a family pet knocked over a candle and ignited the fire.
  • If you must use candles, be sure they are in a sturdy holder and kept three feet away from anything that could burn. Blow them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Never use a barbecue or hibachi to cook inside the house. These devices are intended for outdoors usage because the unburned fuels can produce poisonous carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO) cannot be perceived by human beings. That is why it is so important to have CO detectors outside your sleeping areas to alert you to the presence of CO in the home.
  • Never use a generator inside the home. Set it up outside and be sure the house is well ventilated to assure there is no build-up of carbon monoxide poisoning inside the home.
  • Be extremely cautious of using fireplaces that were intended more for decoration than a heating source. Heat can extend to the wood behind the fireplace and start the home on fire.
  • Recognize that chimneys should be cleaned every year. An accumulation of creosote in the chimney can cause a roof fire.
  • Take care in disposing ashes from a fireplace. Always place them in a metal container located far away from the house exterior.
  • Never use any type of open-flame torch to thaw out frozen pipes. Torches on pipes are predictable causes of winter home fires.
  • Never use an oven to warm the house. They are not built for that function and can either cause carbon monoxide poisoning or start a fire. Three children died in a house fire earlier this month in Minneapolis because an oven was used as a temporary source of heat.
  • Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order! If you have questions about your smoke alarms, call Spokane Fire at 509.625.7058.

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