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5 Tips to Prevent Residential Fires During the Winter Months

As the temperature drops, the number of residential fires goes up.

The Santa Barbara County Fire Department wants you to have a worry free winter by taking the following precautions:

1. Before you use your heater for the first time this winter, have a qualified serviceman inspect your furnace and change your filter.

2. If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove that you use for home heating, make sure it's clean and inspected by a qualified chimney sweep. Burn only dry, well seasoned wood. When using your fireplace, make sure the opening is covered with an approved metal screen or glass doors. Never leave a fire unattended.

3. When using space heaters, make sure there is a minimum of 36 inches of clearance on all sides of the heater. 

4. Never try to thaw frozen water pipes with a torch or open flame. Use hot water or an approved device.

5. Make sure there are operating smoke detectors on each level of your home and in every bedroom. Your family should have and practice a home fire escape plan.

With these helpful tips, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department hopes you will be safe and worry free this winter.

Capt. Dave Zaniboni is the information officer for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department.

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