Winter fire safety tips from the Austin Fire Department

After recent devastating fires around the country left many individuals injured and displaced, the Austin Fire Department (AFD) wants to share how to safely stay warm in the winter.

Central Texas is expecting cold and windy weather in the coming days, so being in the know about winter fire safety is more important than ever. AFD says that the following tips are lifesavers.

Space heaters need space

Space heaters need plenty of room around them and should not be placed near anything that could burn. Make sure they are in a spot with no other object close to them.

Generators belong outside

After Texans experienced the harshness of Winter Storm Uri, many invested in generators. It's important to keep generators outside the home, otherwise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is raised.

Never leave candles burning

It's easy to forget that you lit a candle an hour or two ago, but set yourself up to remember to put it out before leaving the house or going to sleep. Battery-operated candles are a good alternative to real ones.

Clean fireplaces, never burn cedar

Make sure to clean a wood-burning fireplace regularly and have the chimney inspected. AFD also recommends burning only hardwoods like oak. Cedar is a dangerous option as it gets extremely hot and can cause blowback embers into the home.

Don't use cooking appliances as heaters

Do not use a BBQ or oven as a heater, as they are both dangerous and pose high fire risks.

Invest in household fire extinguishers

Buy a couple of fire extinguishers to keep around the home, they could help keep a smaller fire from getting out of hand. 

Check your smoke alarms regularly

AFD says that smoke alarms are the cheapest life insurance money can buy. Make sure your fire alarms are equipped with working batteries, and test them regularly. It's also important to replace the device after 10 years.

If you need assistance with any of these things—including the alarms themselves—just give the Austin Fire Department a call at (512) 974-0299.

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