The Iowa Fire Marshal’s office is trying to help state residents prevent winter fires.
The risk of home fires in Iowa goes up from October through January as portable heaters, holiday cooking and candle uses raise the number of potential sources for fires.
Here are 10 ways you can help prevent fires in your home:
- Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a qualified inspector. Checks at the beginning of the season, when equipment has been idle through the summer, are especially important.
- Make sure chimneys and vents are cleaned and inspected. Creosote buildup in a chimney can be especially dangerous.
- Use dry, seasoned wood in the fireplace.
- Use only metal containers — with metal covers — to hold cooled ashes for disposal.
- If you use portable heaters, make sure they have an automatic shutoff and place them at least three feet from anything that can burn.
- Plug portable heaters directly into outlets.
- Test your smoke alarms.
- Make sure smoke alarms are on every floor and in all bedrooms.
- Have carbon monoxide alarms and make sure to test them.
- Never leave cooking equipment unattended.