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Fire safety key as temps drop

Posted: January 19, 2012 - 1:11am

The Alaska State Troopers are reminding Alaskans to stay safe throughout the winter season, especially when heating homes with wood stoves and fireplaces and in light of a notable recent spike in chimney fires in several Alaska communities.

Troopers warn in a press release moisture and creosote travel up the chimney as the heat and smoke rise, and that those by-products cool and build up inside a chimney in extremely cold weather, decreasing its efficiency. When those by-products are ignited, they can cause the chimney to overheat and fail, the release states.

To practice safe fire behavior to prevent a fire from starting, Troopers recommend the following:

• Follow manufacturer’s guidelines when installing new heating equipment

• Have heating equipment (including chimneys) inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional once a year

• Burn dry seasonal wood only

• Do not use flammable liquids to start a fire (gasoline, kerosene, BBQ starter fluid, etc.)

• Do not overload wood stove or fireplace with wood

• Clean chimney monthly with a recommended method if wood stove is used continuously

• Keep combustibles at least 36 inches away from wood stove or fireplace

• Keep children away from heating equipment

• Maintain heating equipment throughout the heating season to insure that it operates safely

• Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in your home

• Plan and practice a fire escape plan in case of a fire

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