The Texas burn injury attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers know that winter can be a hazardous time around your home without proper precautions. Here are some helpful tips to winterize your home and minimize the risks that this time of year can bring.

Fireplaces, furnaces and wood-burning stoves

Nothing is cozier than sitting around a fire on a cold winter’s evening. But there are several safety hazards that can arise from improper use and upkeep of fireplaces, wood-burning stoves and furnaces.

One of the most important safety tips our Texas burn injury attorneys can offer is to make sure your chimney and stove pipe are clean before you start using them for the season. For furnaces, the key is inspection. These heaters should be inspected and cleaned by a professional, making sure all parts, valves, pipes and emergency shutoff controls are in working order before use each and every season.

Other tips for fireplaces and wood-burning stoves include:

  • Wood-burning stoves should have 36-inch clearance from combustible surfaces as well as proper floor support.
  • Metal or glass screens should be placed in front of fireplace/stove openings to keep children away from them and prevent embers from reaching burnable material.
  • Never leave children unattended near a fireplace or stove.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to accelerate a fire.
  • Always extinguish the fire before going to sleep.
  • Don’t close your damper when there is hot ash in your fireplace as it can cause the fire to heat up and produce carbon monoxide in your home.

Portable Heater Use

The use of small portable heaters is a quick and easy way to provide extra warmth in your home, but they can be a fire hazard if not used correctly. Our Texas burn injury attorneys offer these tips for safe use:

  • Do not put portable heaters in a position to block room exits or touch flammable items.
  • Clean wicks and read safety instructions before using kerosene heaters.
  • Never use kerosene heaters without proper room ventilation.
  • Don’t fill portable heaters with fuel while operating or hot.
  • Electric heaters shouldn’t be placed close to bedding, furniture or draperies.
  • Keep out of reach of young children.

More Winter Fire Safety Tips

Sometimes, families will use an oven or range to provide additional heat in their homes. This is a safety hazard and should be avoided because of the risk of toxic fumes and fire.

Another source of fire risk is overloaded electrical outlets and extension cords. Avoid plugging multiple heaters and other appliances into the same electrical source.

Our Texas burn injury attorneys encourage you to perform regular fire safety drills with your kids. Make sure they know where available exits are in case of fire and where to go if a fire occurs. Double check the batteries in your smoke detectors and ensure they are in proper working order regularly.

The Houston personal injury lawyers hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy winter season.