With recent price increases in home heating fuel, fire departments are anticipating an increase in the use of alternate heating methods, which if used unsafely can lead to serious property damage or worse. In an effort to prevent accidental fires, the Norwich Fire Marshal’s office has provided a few tips on heating safety for the winter season.

Smoke Alarms

• Install smoke alarms on each level of your home including the basement and inside and outside of every bedroom.

• Test your smoke alarms once a month.

• Change the batteries twice a year, the same time you adjust your clock.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

• Where there are fuel burning appliances in the home, Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed on each level of your home and outside of sleeping areas.

• When the alarm sounds leave the building and call 911. Tell the dispatcher if you feel ill such as headaches, or drowsiness. DO NOT reenter the building until instructed to do so by the fire department.

Portable Heaters

• When using electric space heaters, make sure to have at least 36 inches of empty space between the heaters and anything which could burn like curtains, papers, and furniture.

• Be sure your heater has a tip-over shut off feature.

• Plug electric heaters directly into outlets. DO NOT use extension cords or plug strips.

• Turn off heaters when leaving the house or sleeping.

• Unvented fuel fired portable heaters such as kerosene or propane are illegal in apartment buildings.

• DO NOT use your oven or range to heat your home. This is a safety hazard which could cause a build-up of toxic fumes.

• DO NOT use charcoal indoors. It can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide when burned.

Fireplace or wood stove

• Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out and starting a fire.

• Do not burn paper in your fireplace.

• Put ashes in a metal container with a lid. Store the container outside at least 3 feet from your home.

• Have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a professional.

• Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from the fire place or stove.

For questions on any of these tips or for more information, please contact the Norwich Fire Marshal’s Office at 860-887-2780.