Northwest NEWS

December 11, 2000

Home & Garden

Avoid fire danger during freezing weather

The King County Fire Marshall's Office, located within the Department of Development and Environmental Services, advises citizens to take extra fire safety precautions during the coldest winter months. It is critical to avoid fire hazards while heating your home. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:
   1. Never leave flames unattended. This includes fireplaces, candles, kerosene heaters and lanterns;
   2. Keep your home heating system systems turned on, even if you are not at home, to prevent home sprinklers and other plumbing systems from freezing. The interior temperature of a home needs to be maintained at 40 degrees F or higher to prevent pipes and spinkler systems from freezing;
   3. If a pipe does freeze, thaw it by pouring hot water over it or wrapping it in hot towels. Never use a torch to thaw pipes - many home fires are started this way;
   4. Never leave portable heaters turned on unattended. Keep any combustible materials at least 15 inches away;
   5. Never use charcol barbecues or any other un-vented cooking device in the house or garage;
   6. Clean out fireplaces regularly to avoid chimney fires. When cleaning out a fireplace, dispose of the ashes outside, far away from the home. Often, ashes can still ignite long after they are assumed to be cooled;
   7. Never burn wrapping paper in a fireplace or wood stove. Such materials can burn with explosive intensity; and
   8. Ensure that you house number is still visable when is snows so that emergency vehicles can find your home in the event of an emergency.
   The King County Fire Marshall's Office is available to answer any questions pertaining to home safety during the Winter months. For additional information, please contact Gay Johnson, Assistant Fire Marshall at (206) 296-7075 or Paula Adams, DDES Communications Director at (206) 296-6682.