Heat Your Home Safely as Colder Weather Moves In

Credit: American Red Cross https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/Cold-Weather-Calls-for-Special-Safety-Steps.html

The colder weather is making its return into many parts of the country and people everywhere are turning their heat back on. The American Red Cross has steps people should follow to safely keep their homes warm as the cooler temperatures take over.


1. Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected and cleaned before another winter of use.

2. If using a space heater, look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.

3. Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.

4. Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.

5. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

6. Cut down on heating costs. Insulate the home by installing storm windows or covering the inside of windows with plastic to keep cold air out.

7. Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

8. Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.

9. Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

10. Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.


On average, seven people die every day from home fires. The Red Cross is working with community partners to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries by installing free smoke alarms, helping families create home fire escape plans, and providing public fire prevention and safety resources through its Home Fire Campaign. Since the campaign began in October 2014, it’s reached more than 1.6 million people and is credited with saving 472 lives nationwide.

In the last four years, Red Cross volunteers and more than 4,500 partners have gone door-to-door in high-risk neighborhoods to deliver free preparedness resources through the campaign’s Sound the Alarm canvassing events. So far, we have:

Reached more than 1.6 million people through home visits in nearly 14,000 cities and towns Installed 1.47 million free smoke alarms Replaced more than 68,000 smoke alarm batteries Helped families make more than 521,000 fire escape plans Reached almost 1.2 million children through youth preparedness programs


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