Temperatures are expected to remain at or below freezing for at least another day and that means finding ways to stay warm at home and work.
The National Fire Protection Association has published the following tips for minimizing the risk of heating-related fires:
* Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
* Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
* Never use your oven to heat your home.
* Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
* Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
* Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
* Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
* Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
* Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) Assistant Fire Chief Larry Hoffman also urges everyone to make sure to use approved heating sources and take care of pipes and outside hose bibs (water faucets) to prevent them from freezing which is likely to result in breaking and leaking during the thaw.