Here’s how to protect your home against winter fires

The weather is getting colder, but that does not mean the chances of a fire breaking out in your home go down.

According to FEMA, 890 people in the United States die in winter home fires each year. That makes for about 30% of all fire deaths.

The number one cause of winter house fires is cooking. The Spokane Fire Department said the best way to protect the lives of your family and your property is to use caution when you are cooking and when you aren’t.

Recently, Spokane firefighters responded to a call where they found a homeowner had placed their garbage can on top of their stove to keep their dog from digging in to it. The dog jumped to try and reach it and turned the stove on, lighting the garbage can on fire. Damaged costs exceeded $50,000.

Spokane Fire said a good rule of thumb is to never leave anything on your stove top. If you are cooking, don’t leave the kitchen where a pot is cooking. Stay near it so you can act quick, should anything happen. Be sure to turn handles away and toward the back of the stove so they do not get knocked over.

If you are cooking in an oven and a fire begins inside, do not open it.Turn the oven off and let the contents burn on their own. If that doesn’t work, call 911.

Another major cause of winter fires is space heaters. FEMA recommends space heater users to place them on a solid, flat surface at least three feet away from things that can burn. Never leave a space heater abandoned and never plug one in to a power strip. Space heaters should always be plugged in to a wall outlet.

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