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Posted on: November 8, 2023

Winter Ready: Fire Safety Tips

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As we start to transition out of our local fire season, temperatures get colder and we move into winter season, Santa Rosa Fire Department would like to remind City residents to be mindful of potential fire hazards that can arise during this time. Here are some cold weather fire safety tips to help ensure a safe and cozy winter season for you and your loved ones.  


When it comes to keeping your home warm and safe during the colder months, it's crucial to be mindful of carbon monoxide, often referred to as ‘CO’. This silent threat has earned the nickname "invisible killer" because it's a gas that lacks both color and odor, making it difficult to detect. Unfortunately, each year, more than 150 individuals in the United States tragically lose their lives due to accidental CO poisoning stemming from generators or fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and fireplaces. Breathing in high levels of CO can be lethal.


But here's the good news: you can take proactive steps to protect your loved ones. Installing CO detectors within your home is a vital precaution to provide you with an early warning should CO levels start to rise. When installing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors make sure to follow current fire and building codes along with the manufacturer instructions for placement. 

To read more in depth about Carbon Monoxide detectors and download the CO Safety Tip sheet click HERE

Heating Safety:  

Check your furnace, fireplace, or space heaters and make sure they are in proper working condition. When using a space heater keep them on a flat and stable surface and make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over, it shuts off. Keep flammable materials, such as curtains and furniture, away from heating sources. 

Indoor Fireplace, Wood Burning Stoves, and Chimney Maintenance: 

If you use a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional annually to prevent the buildup of creosote, which can lead to chimney fires. Creosote is a sticky, black substance that forms inside the chimney when people use wood for heating. If creosote builds up too much, it can block the chimney, making it hard for the smoke and dangerous gases from the wood-burning fire to escape, leading to poor air quality. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out and starting a fire. 

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: 

Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors regularly to ensure they are functioning correctly. Replace batteries as needed. When installing new smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors make sure to follow current fire and building codes along with the manufacturer instructions for placement.  

Candle Safety: 

If you use candles for decoration or relaxation, keep them away from flammable materials and never leave them unattended. Make sure to blow out all candles before leaving the house or going to bed.  

Holiday Lights and Decorations:  

Inspect holiday lights and electrical decorations for damage before use, and never overload electrical circuits. Turn off holiday lights and decorations before going to bed or leaving the house. 

Generators and Winter Grilling:  

A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors, and vent openings. Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside. 

  • To download a Winter Fires Tip Sheet, click HERE
  • For further information on Winter Fire Safety and additional resources click HERE

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