SOUTH LEBANON TWP, Pa. – It’s the first day of winter, which means ice and snow may soon be on the way—as well as an increased risk of fires caused by home heating, warns the South Lebanon Fire Department.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), heating fires—the second-leading cause of house fires—are most prevalent in December, January, and February as people try to keep themselves warm.
Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in these kinds of fires, contributing in forty percent of reported incidents—that’s two out of every five house fires. Fireplaces and portable generators can also be risky if used incorrectly.
Luckily, there are ways to keep safe and warm during the winter. Here are some important guidelines that you and your family should follow:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month, and make sure to install and monitor carbon monoxide (CO) detectors within your home as well.
For more information about winter fire safety and prevention, visit www.NFPA.org.
Go Beyond: Become a Volunteer Firefighter and Protect Your Community
Looking to ensure the safety of more than just you and your family? Consider becoming a volunteer firefighter in South Lebanon Township.
The township’s fire department is made up of three companies: South Lebanon Fire Company No. 1, Friendship Fire Company, and Prescott Community Fire Company. Each has their rich history and tradition of service, but they all work together to ensure the safety of South Lebanon residents.
Volunteers can become firefighters, drivers, or simply help out in an administrative capacity. Those aged 16 or 17 can join as a cadet and train toward becoming a full-fledged firefighter when they turn 18.
Training and equipment is provided free of cost, and the opportunity to fight fires and form lifelong friendships awaits.
“Giving back to my community as a volunteer firefighter has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have been a part of,” says fire lieutenant William Weikel.
Be your community’s lifesaver with South Lebanon Fire Department – visit www.FightSouthLebanonFires.org to sign up today.