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Fire Marshal Warns Wilton of Heater Fires

While snow- and ice-covered roadways have kept people indoors this winter, home is not necessarily safe, Wilton Fire Marshal David Kohn says. That is because each year about 33,000 fires and 180 deaths occur from heating equipment, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission. And Kohn says all of those fires can be avoided.

"We can prevent home-heating fires in Wilton by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly," Kohn said in a statement.

Kohn and the rest of the Wilton Fire Department have come up with a list of tips to prevent heating fires from occurring in your home.

• Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.

• Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.

• Inspect for cracked, frayed or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.

• Never use gasoline in a kerosene heater. Even a small amount can be dangerous.

• Have your chimney inspected each year and cleaned if necessary.

• Use a sturdy fireplace screen.

• Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and leave it open until the ashes have cooled. This will prevent the buildup of poisonous gasses in the home.

• Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them outdoors in a metal container with a lid. Hot embers can remain long after a fire is out.

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

• Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.

• Never use an oven to heat your home.

What steps do you take took your home safe when using fireplaces or space heaters? Share with us below.

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