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Winter weather fire prevention for your home and vehicle

For immediate release: January 15, 2020 - 3:20pm
FI20-972

With winter in Saskatchewan, we’re never sure what to expect – from extreme temperatures to potentially heavy snowfall, residents and visitors of Saskatoon must be prepared for it all. The Saskatoon Fire Department emphasizes the importance of the following tips and recommendations on home and vehicle safety for winter weather:

Heating Equipment:

  • Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet; never use an extension cord,
  • Be sure to turn off and unplug space heaters when you leave the room or are going to sleep,
  • Never use space heaters to dry combustible items,
  • Keep children, pets, and combustible items at least one metre away from heating equipment,
  • Place a screen in front of your wood-burning or gas fireplace,
  • Keep all heat sources free from dust, lint, and chemical product,
  • Never use your oven to heat your home, and
  • Have a reputable and qualified company install and maintain all heating equipment; inspect gas or oil burning furnaces annually.

Outdoor Home Vents/Pipes:

After a heavy snowfall, freeze-thaw cycle, or extreme cold temperatures, check your furnace, water heater, chimney, and dryer vents and pipes to verify that they are free of snow and ice buildup or other obstructions. Obstructed vents and pipes can negatively affect your home’s function and can result in the accumulation of carbon monoxide inside your home.

Vehicle Block Heaters:

  • Always use a heavy-duty, three wire, three pronged, extension cord that is rated for outdoor use,
  • Be sure to check your block heater cord, as well as your extension cord, to make sure that neither are cracked or frayed,
  • Always keep your block heater plug covered with its protective cap when not in use,
  • Be sure to thoroughly clean off the prongs on both the block heater plug, as well as the extension cord ends,
  • Check to make sure your block heater cord is positioned through the proper channels and is not pinched under the car or wrapped around sharp metal objects in the engine compartment, and
  • Never drive over your extension cord; this may cause additional wear on the cord and/or its plugs.

If you happen to drive away while your vehicle is still plugged in, remember to check the block heater, extension cord, and electrical outlet for damage and, if necessary, replace the damaged components before the vehicle is plugged in again.

Stay warm, Saskatoon! In an emergency, call 911 immediately.

SAFETY TIP!

After a snowfall, verify that your house number is cleared off and is visible from the street; this will help firefighter-paramedics locate you in the event of an emergency.