Romantic dinners by candlelight or a cozy evening spent beside the fireplace can really set the mood for Valentine’s Day. However, neglecting to take preventative measures against potential fire hazards can quickly ruin the experience.
“Valentine’s Day should be a fun experience, and planning ahead when using flames is essential,” said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. “It is important for people to exercise caution whenever they are dealing with fire.”
Marshal Greeson is reminding Hoosiers to keep the spark purely metaphorical this Valentine’s Day by practicing the following fire safety tips:
· Keep candles at least one to two feet away from any combustible material.
· Make sure to use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily, and always place candles on a stable and uncluttered surface.
· Most candles aren’t designed to burn all the way down – extinguish the flame before it burns too close to the base.
· An estimated one-third of home candle fires start in the bedroom. Avoid using candles in the bedroom or other areas where falling asleep is likely.
· Remember to place candles, matches and lighters out of the reach of children and pets.
· Never use candles if oxygen is used in the home.
· Consider using flameless candles. They look, feel and often smell like real candles.
· Fireplaces should be regularly cleaned and inspected by a certified professional. Gas fireplaces should have proper ventilation, with a working carbon monoxide detector nearby.
· Use only dry, seasoned firewood to prevent build-up of creosote, which can prevent the chimney from venting properly.
· Don’t close the damper too early when hot ashes are still in the fireplace. Doing so can force dangerous levels of carbon monoxide into the home.
· Avoid using flammable liquid to start fires in fireplaces or wood stoves. Always have a fire extinguisher on hand in case the fire gets out of control.
Remember, never leave candles or fireplaces unattended. Open flames should always be extinguished before going to bed or leaving the home.
· Stay alert. Don’t use the oven or stovetop when drowsy or after consuming alcohol.
· Turn off the stove when leaving the kitchen, even if for a short period of time. Never leave the home while food is cooking.
· Regularly check on food that is simmering, baking or roasting. Use a timer as a reminder.
· Keep flammable items such as oven mitts, towels, curtains, utensils and food packaging away from the stovetop.
For more tips to keep this Valentine’s Day flame safely burning, visit GetPrepared.in.gov.