Winter Fire Safety – Is Your Home Safe?

According the Philadelphia Fire Department, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January, & February.

Follow these Winter Fire Safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration and Philadelphia Fire Department:

Smoke Detectors

If you need a smoke detector, visit Philadelphia Fire Department’s fire prevention website or call Philadelphia’s 3-1-1 system.

  • Inspect and maintain heating equipment regularly.
  • Keep a three foot clearance between heating equipment and anything that can burn.
  • Do not use your oven or stove burners to heat your home. It is a fire hazard and can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and, if possible, near every sleeping area. Test them on a monthly basis.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, help the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow, so they can locate and use it in the event of a fire.

Space Heaters

  • Have fixed space heaters installed or inspected by a qualified technician, according to manufacturer’s instructions or applicable codes.
  • Buy portable space heaters with labels listing a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Turn off space heaters every time you leave the room and before going to bed.
  • Choose space heaters that turn off automatically if they tip over.
  • Never use a space heater to dry clothing.
  • Do not use an extension cord with a space heater unless the cord is properly rated and checked regularly.

Oil or Kerosene Heaters

  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper ventilation.
  • Only use the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer.
  • Never fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling.
  • Refueling should be done outside of the home.


  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned, if necessary.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of a fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. It can give off legal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace.
  • Never break a synthetic log apart or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly and release higher levels of carbon monoxide.

An easy,  essential way to be prepared is to stay informed. Get emergency alerts from OEM’s ReadyPhiladelphia program sent to your phone or email to keep you informed prior to, during, and after an emergency. Also, look for PhilaOEM on Twitter and Facebook.