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 January 13, 2012 - Dauphin County Commissioners Offer Home-Heating Safety Tips

​HARRISBURG, PA (January 13, 2012)¬—More residential fires occur during the cold winter months, when furnaces, woodstoves, fireplaces and other heating devices are operating to heat homes, than any other time of the year, according to the American Red Cross.

Dauphin County Commissioners Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick, III encourage the public to follow these simple fire prevention tips to stay safe through the winter.

Wood stoves:
• Wood stoves should be properly installed with floor support, in good condition, and have a 36’’ clearance from combustible surfaces.
• Avoid using charcoal in your stove and fireplace.

• Cover the opening with a glass or metal screen.
• Do not use flammable liquid.
• Do not close the damper with hot ashes in the fireplace.
• Limit use of paper to build a fire.
• Make sure a fire is out before going to sleep.

Kerosene heaters:
• Always use K1 kerosene and burn according to manufacturer’s instructions.
• Keep the heater in a well-ventilated room.
• Place the heater at least 36’’away from all other combustible materials and in a safe spot.
• Keep fuel stored in approved metal cans outside your home, and never fill a heater while hot or inside your home.
• In case of a fire, do not move a burning heater.
• Know how to turn it off manually.

• For homes that use furnaces, ensure that all controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition and serviced by a professional.

Water pipes:
• Pipes should be well-supported and free of holes, rust, or cracks.
• If a water pipe freezes, do not try to thaw with a blowtorch or open flame.
• Use hot water or a UL labeled device, such as a hair dryer for thawing.

Other general safety tips:
• Always keep combustible materials away from a heating system.
• Do not use a range or oven as a heating device.
• Monitor burning candles, and do not burn them when asleep or away from home.
• Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and check them regularly.
• To adequately prepare for a fire, plan an escape route, practice by crawling low to the floor to the nearest exit, and establish a meeting place outside.

For more winter fire safety information, please visit the Web site of the Office of the State Fire Commissioner at and click on the “Public Education/Information” tab, and then the “Prevention and Education Programs” tab.

Category: Commissioners
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