Winter dos and don'ts from BVFD
It's that time of year to prepare yourself for the holidays and the cold winter weather by following some advice and taking some precautions from the Bella Vista Fire Department.
Propane Tanks — fill them early!
Fill your propane tanks early, so that when you really need it you are prepared and not left shivering from the cold. When your tank begins to get too low, it will make your house smell like gas. If at anytime you smell gas in your home, don’t hesitate to call the Fire Department at 479-855-8249 to have someone come check it out.
The biggest problem we see stemming from the winter use of space heaters is when the wall outlet becomes overloaded and starts a fire. Always follow factory recommendations on your space heating appliances, and be sure you have chosen one that meets your home’s electrical system’s amperage. That way, there won’t be any excessive electrical heating or constant breaker tripping.
Isn’t it nice to sit by a warm cozy fire, especially if snow is falling? Think about this: Anything that produces a flame (even the kind of fireplace activated by a wall switch) also produces carbon monoxide — a clear, odorless, tasteless gas that can really mess you and your house pets up.
Take an extra precaution before starting up your fire — that is, any kind of fireplace that produces a flame: Install a carbon monoxide alarm near the source. You can find CO detectors at most home improvement stores.
Call a Chimney Sweep
You don’t want to come home to your house burned down because of a flu fire. Those types of fires are more common than you think. That stuff that builds up in your chimney — creosote it’s called — is super combustible. Call a professional who is licensed for that type of work and have your chimney inspected before burning your fireplace for the season.
Fireplace Ashes — No plastic!
Hot ashes burn through plastic.
Put all ashes from a fireplace into a metal – NOT PLASTIC OR CARDBOARD – container, put the container somewhere that is not on your deck, like on concrete or dirt away from the house. Put a lid (also metal) on the container and keep the ashes covered for three days. You can always water down the ashes, too. After enough time has gone by and they are no longer hot and smoldering, you can dump the ashes out.
Remember — do not dump hot ashes in the woods on common property.
We can get some pretty crazy ice storms here. With the threat of a power outage, people stock up on generators. The number one precaution with generators is to get them away from the house, so that the fumes don’t get inside. Don’t put the generator inside your home, in the garage or in any other enclosed space. Keep them in their own open area.
And, as with all appliances like this, follow the factory recommendations for operation.
Starting your car in the garage? Don’t do it!
The fancy Fire Department term is “negative pressure,” but in layman’s terms that means when you open the door from your house to your garage, the air that’s in your garage gets sucked inside your house without you even knowing.
So — It’s single digits outside in the morning when you’re ready to leave for work. You go out and open the garage door and then start up your car and leave it parked in the garage. You got back inside and finish getting ready for your day — make your kids lunches, finish getting dressed, grab a quick bite for breakfast, whatever you do. Meanwhile, your car is running and carbon monoxide is filling up your garage.
You are ready to go and you grab all your stuff and you grab the door handle to the garage door and open. Your house becomes filled with carbon monoxide fumes, and you don’t even know. Do you want Mr. Whiskers or the twin Yorkie’s Bailey and Buster to be inside with those fumes after you’ve left for work? Poor Mr. Whiskers.
Be extra safe this holiday season while cooking, especially if you are planning on frying a turkey. The best place to fry a turkey is NOT on your back deck, but on concrete or dirt if possible. Follow the factory recommendations for use of the fryer and pay close attention to how you should safely prepare the turkey BEFORE putting it into hot oil.
And, remember — DO NOT PUT WATER ON A GREASE FIRE! Turn off the source of heat, and cover the flame. You can also throw baking soda on the fire or use a chemical fire extinguisher.
Your family and friends that you are thankful for this holiday are more important than your material possessions or even your house. Think of safety first in the event of an emergency and call 911!
Other Holiday Cooking
Don’t leave things you are cooking unattended.
A good majority of house fires are started in the kitchen. Here’s what happens: Whatever you’re cooking gets hot enough to burst into flames. You’ve left the room to check the laundry or something, and you come back to a wall of flames.
Remember — NO WATER ON A GREASE FIRE.
Ah, the smell of a live fur tree! There is nothing like it. But remember – these things are alive. They need to be watered. Keep your live Christmas trees well hydrated — ever try to start a fire with wet wood?
Also, use common sense in your decorating. Don’t put the live Christmas tree snugged up next to the fireplace. Sparks fly, and they love fresh trees.