8 New Year’s resolutions to keep your home safe from fire

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Improper heating is a major cause of residential fires this time of year. Here is what you can do to keep your home safe, according to Pennington County Fire Administrator Jerome Harvey:

  1. Keep your outdoor vents clean. Blocked vents can cause a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide within your home.

    “People need to be watching, especially freeze thaw cycles that we’re in here this time of year. Just make sure all your vents there, you see, prevent vents for your furnace as they’re clear and remain clear,” Harvey said.

  2. If your home is heated with wood, have your chimneys cleaned regularly by professionals.
  3. If you use a space heater, plug it into the wall outlet, not a power strip. They often aren’t built to withstand the current that space heaters use.

    “If you’re going to use a space heater, make sure you use it supervised situations and that the space heater is actually plugged into the wall outlet or they have an outlet that can actually handle the load. Avoid those cheap low end power strips,” Harvey said.

  4. Make sure there is at least three feet of space around your space heater that is free of anything flammable.
  5. Don’t use your stove or other cooking appliances to heat your home; that’s not what they are intended for.

    Check out these photos of house and structure fires around the Black Hills:

  6. Check your smoke detectors. They should be clean and free of any dirt or dust. You should also change the batteries at least twice a year.

    “It’s always a great time to check your smoke detector. Keep it clean. If it’s ten years old or older, replace it. Make sure your batteries are fresh twice a year,” said Harvey.

  7. Check your fire extinguishers. If you are unsure about your extinguishers, get them serviced by a professional fire extinguisher servicer.

    “Fire extinguishers should be done, a minimum of once a year should be checked out. Encourage people to check them on a weekly basis, make sure that they stirred up to keep the dry chemical inside of them loosened up and ready to go,” Harvey said.

  8. Practice fire drills at home, so that you can get out safely and quickly in the event of a fire.

With these tips, you should be able to have a safe, fire-free year.

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