For Immediate Release - November 08, 2013

November 8, 2013 - State Fire Marshal Launches Keep Warm, Keep Safe Campaign

STOW — As the temperature continues to drop, State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan is urging residents to safeguard their homes now to prevent potential fires this winter and to keep warm, keep safe.

The department will release television and radio spots aimed at highlighting the simple steps residents can take now to be prepared for the winter. Titled, “Look Around,” the setting is a home showcasing the many items of value, such as family heirlooms and mementos that can be lost in seconds from a fire. The spots remind residents to test their carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms, get the furnace checked and chimney cleaned, to dispose of fireplace ashes outside the home, and to give space heaters at least three feet of space. To see the television spot go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jBUISJgT7s.

“Now is the time to prepare for the winter heating season,” said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan. “We hope that people will take the time now to make sure that their carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms, furnaces and chimneys are working properly. As we settle into the cold days of winter, remember to check on your elderly neighbors. Never use your oven as an alternative heating source.”

The television and radio spots will run from November through January across the state. The radio spots will be available in English and Spanish, and community access stations will be able to download the television spot through the MyAccess community cable network. They will also be posted on social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) in the hope that others will partner with us and share these important winter heating safety messages.

Heating remains the second leading cause of fires in the home in Massachusetts. One of every 20 space heater fires in the past five years has caused a fire death. December through February are the traditionally the peak months for house fires as the cold weather drives people indoors and there is more use of space heaters.

Space heaters can cause fires if they are placed too close to flammable materials such as drapes, furniture or bedding. Keep anything that can burn three feet away from the space heater and use only heavy duty extension cords. Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on each floor of your home. Test the alarms once a month and change batteries twice a year. Make sure to check on elderly neighbors regularly in the cold months.

If you heat your home by burning solid fuels (coal, firewood, pellets), make sure to dispose ashes properly. Place ashes in a metal container with a lid on it and place away from the house, garage and deck. Have the chimney annually cleaned by a certified professional.

More winter safety tips can be found at www.mass.gov/keepwarmkeepsafe