Keep safe from fires this holiday season

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 17, 2004

Two fires late Saturday night brought home the point that we all need to be safe this winter. Thankfully, no one was hurt in either fire &045;&045; one at an auto body shop on St. Catherine Street and one at a trailer in north Adams County.

At the body shop, the owner told police he thought a heater started the fire. Officials aren’t sure what caused the second blaze, which caused minimal damage at the trailer.

Both fires, though, give us a chance to reflect on fire safety tips. The U.S. Fire Administration recommendations:

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4Be sure your kerosene heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon build-up. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.

4Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting.

Burning fuel (kerosene, coal or propane, for example) produces deadly fumes.

4Be sure the stove or fireplace is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36 inches) from combustible surfaces, and proper floor support and protection.

4Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.

4Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.

4Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.

4It’s important that you have your furnace inspected to insure that it is in good working condition.

4Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.

4Never use a range or an oven as a supplementary heating devise.

Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.

4If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry the amp load.

4Avoid using electric space heaters in bathrooms, or other areas where they may come in contact with water.