Heating, holiday decorations, electricity, winter storms, and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months. We have already seen several house fires caused by some of these hazards and the winter season is just beginning. There are several things you can do to make your home more fire safe. There are also some activities you can personally adopt that can help you be more fire safe during the upcoming winter months.

Here are some safety tips provided by the US Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).


December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. Any open flame is dangerous.

  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn. (Think about using flameless candles in your home. They look and smell like real candles!)
  • Put candles in sturdy holders and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.
  • Make sure candles cannot be reached by children or pets.
  • Blow out all candles if you leave the room, get sleepy, or go to bed. 

Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the US. Around half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters.

  • Plug only 1 heat-producing appliance (coffee maker, space heater, microwave, etc.) directly into a wall outlet at a time.
  • Never use an extension cord with a heat-producing appliance.
  • Extension cords should only be used temporarily. (Check electrical cords often. Replace cracked, damaged, and loose electrical or extension cords.)
  • Keep lamps, light fixtures, and light bulbs away from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, curtains, clothing, and flammable or combustible gases and liquids.

Heating is the second leading cause of US home fires and home fire injuries and the third leading cause of home fire deaths. December, January, and February are the peak months for heating fires. Space heaters are most often involved in home heating equipment fires, as well as most deaths and injuries in home fires caused by heating equipment.

  • Give space heaters their space! Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heating equipment (furnace, fireplace, wood stove, portable heater, etc.).
  • Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Have your heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.

Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms throughout your home. To schedule a home fire safety visit, contact us at 509-928-1700, or at

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