Fire Officials: 3 ways to keep your family safe this winter


REXBURG — Keeping an eye on your home appliances and detectors in the winter isn’t just a good idea; it could save you money — and possibly your life.

Madison Fire Chief Corey Child says there are three important safety aspects to remember this winter.

Carbon monoxide poisoning prevention

Child said during the winter time it is common too fresh air intakes and exhaust ports for furnaces to get clogged with snow and ice. It is vital to maintain the fresh air access for a furnace to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in a home.

Home and business owners should check their furnaces to make sure the fresh air intakes, and exhausts are clear and free.

Child said ensuring the fresh air intake for your furnace and clearing any buildup around exhaust areas creates a clean burn pattern for the flame.

“If a flame does not get fresh air, the flame will burn what we call ‘dirty,’ and it produces carbon monoxide at a greater rate than the exhaust system is capable of exiting, or exhausting, and that carbon monoxide will load up in the home,” Child said.

Having your appliances inspected annually can also help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

“It only takes on appliance to malfunction to put off carbon monoxide. It’s always a good rule of thumb to have your appliances checked,” Child said.

Child says having a carbon monoxide detector on each floor can save lives, even if it doesn’t seem like an immediate necessity.

Smoke detectors

People should check their smoke alarms about once every month by pressing its test button, Child said. The alarm should be kept clean of dust , and the batteries should be changed every year.

“Make sure that there are smoke detectors are outside of every sleeping area. They are a great saver from even the simplest of smoke incidents in the home,” Child said.

Snow buildup on roofs

Another common issue during the winter is snow buildup on roofs. Child says if buildings are in constant use, the heat from the inside should melt the accumulating snow and ice on top. Older buildings that aren’t in use, or buildings that need proper infrastructure, are sometimes not suited for snow buildup. Such buildings are at risk for a leaky or collapsing roof.

Child said with the heavy snow period followed by the warm spell that brought rain will add to the snow weight resting on people’s roofs.

“I would encourage anybody with a concern to properly get that snow off your roof. If you can’t do it safely yourself, then there are companies that will come and do it for you,” Child said.

For more tips on winter safety, go to the National Safety Council’s website.

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