According to the National Fire Prevention Association, winter months are especially dangerous times for house fires. Before our northern Illinois winter weather fully sets in for the next four months, take time to assure that you, your family, and your home are safe from potential fire hazards.

Check Your Fire Alarms
Fire alarms and smoke detectors are a crucial component of your family’s fire safety plan. However, without working batteries, you are missing the chance to detect a fire in enough time to safely get out. Ideally, you should check your fire alarm at least twice per year. Most Americans choose to do the checks during each time change. It’s not too late to check your detectors – do a quick test and swap out the batteries to assure your detectors are ready to work, if they need to.

Beware of Open Flames
The winter holidays and chilly weather can leave many of us lighting candles to feel cozy and calm. However burning, too many candles at once can create a serious fire hazard. Be sure everyone in your family knows to blow out candles when leaving the house, even if it is just for a short amount of time. Further, keep your candle wicks trimmed and your candles far from curtains, fabrics, or other flammable materials.

Be Careful With Your Twinkle Lights
Christmas trees can catch fire frighteningly fast. Your strands of twinkle lights, whether on the tree or elsewhere, can be the culprit for igniting your tree and your home. When putting up your lights, assure that strands are not damaged and that wires are not exposed. Opt for LED lights when possible, as they do not get as hot as other options.

Ditch the Space Heater
Space heaters may help your home feel warmer, but these devices can quickly become deadly. If you must use a space heater, keep it shut off when unattended and keep all fabrics far away.

Finally, use the winter season as a reminder to talk with your famiy about safe fire evacuation plans. You can work together to designate a meeting spot outside of your home, and remind one another about how to safely evacuate the home in case of fire.