Heat up safety precautions this winter

(BPT) - Nothing says winter like cooking festive foods, getting cozy around the fireplace and spending time with loved ones during the holidays. During the cooler months of the year, when more gatherings are held indoors, it is important to take the time to help protect your family and home from the threats of fire and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. First Alert, the most trusted brand in home safety*, offers the following reminders to help keep your home safe this winter and all year round:

Schedule annual inspections. Before the temperatures drop and you turn on the heat, call a professional to clean and inspect your home's furnace, wood-burning stove and other heat-emitting fixtures, including gas and wood-burning fireplaces, as dangerous levels of CO can result if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly. Also ensure all heat sources are free of debris, dust and particle buildup to ensure proper airflow. During annual inspections, have a professional check for rust and corrosion, malfunctions, cracks or brick separations. These conditions can prevent proper air movement and cause back-drafting or other fire hazards.

Disperse plug-in items. During colder weather, you might find yourself using more plug-in items, such as space heaters or electric blankets, to help stay warm. Be mindful of how many objects you are using for each outlet or extension cord, as well as the surfaces they are sitting on. Also, since heat-emanating objects, specifically space heaters, can be fire hazards, make sure you only have one such item plugged into each outlet at a time and that it is a safe distance away from blankets, plants, wall art or other flammable items.

Check home safety devices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, when winter temperatures plummet and home heating systems run for hours, the risk of CO poisoning increases. Be prepared and make sure to evaluate the fire and CO protection in your home. In addition to testing alarms regularly and replacing alarms that are 10 years old, make sure you have installed the proper protection. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that homes have smoke alarms installed high on walls and ceilings, inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Additionally, CO alarms should be installed on each level and in or near each sleeping area. To put this into perspective, a two-story, three-bedroom house needs a minimum of five smoke alarms and four CO alarms. For convenient protection and peace of mind, install First Alert 10-Year Sealed Battery Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms for 2-in-1 protection with a 10-year sealed battery, which eliminates the need for battery replacements and late-night battery chirps for a decade.

Cook with care. According to the NFPA, cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home injuries, so it's important to know what you can do to help keep your family and friends safe while entertaining during the holidays and winter season. Keep a fire extinguishing device, like the First Alert EZ Fire Spray, at arm's reach while in the kitchen, to ensure you can react quickly and safely in case of an emergency. The EZ Fire Spray is compact, lightweight and easy to use, making it a convenient option to store close by.

To learn more fire safety tips, visit

*First Alert Brand Trust Survey, March 2023 - Results are based on the responses of 1,043 adult homeowners, ages 25 and older, living in the United States who completed an online survey asking them to choose from six brands in the smoke, fire and carbon monoxide protection space.

November 14, 2023

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