From Barrett Baker at the Tucson Fire Department:
In Tucson, we generally have Summer,Winter, and very little in between. We can be challenged by going from near 90 degree high temperatures one week and lows in the 30’s just days later. As the need for warming the house increases, so can the dangers associated with fireplaces, furnaces, and space heaters. Below are a few reminders as you heat up while the temperatures drop.
- Fireplace Safety: Have the chimney flue cleaned annually by a professional. Remember to open the damper on the fireplace before starting the fire Keep combustible objects a minimum of three feet away from any fireplace. Equip the fireplace with a metal screen to catch burning embers or shifting logs.
- Furnace Safety: Change your furnace filter regularly, usually at least 3-4 times a year Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed Regularly vacuum the furnace and the area surrounding the furnace. This prevents lint build-up, which creates a fire hazard.
- Space Heater Safety: Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or leave the area When selecting a space heater, look for one that has been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory Heaters must be kept at least 3 feet (36 inches) from all combustible materials Plug heater directly into a wall receptacle. Never plug it into an extension cord.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector: Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. All homes should be equipped with a CO detector to provide a warning if levels are too high.