Fires can be just as common in the winter as they are in the summer. Last year the Helena Fire Department Responded to over a dozen structure fires from November to March. Even when the snow is coming down outside it doesn't take much for a fire to start in your home.
Lou Antonick the Fire Marshall for the Helena Fire Department says they are very busy in the winter.
“The winter time we always see an increase in calls. Fire related calls and then carbon monoxide related calls and the fire related calls are two reasons why cooking and then also heating.”
Here are a few tips to make sure your home is ready for the winter months.
- Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned at least annually. More frequent cleaning may be needed depending on use.
- Use certified chimney specialists whenever possible. Commercial products that clean the chimney may reduce creosote buildup but should not be used as a substitute for annual cleaning.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. They should also be outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Install alarms in the basement.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
You can visit NFPA.org for smoke alarm information by clicking here. Also to watch a very good informational video about Close Before You Doze you can click here to watch.
And of course if you have any questions you can call the Helena Fire Department at 447-8472 for more information.