Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention

This week a person in Indiana died and a child was hospitalized from carbon monoxide poisoning. The first responders found their oven being used to heat the home.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause severe illness or death. Carbon Monoxide is found in all fires, as well as fumes produced by charcoal or gas. It is produced by cars and trucks, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, burning charcoal and wood, and gas ranges and heating systems.

 Here are ways to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.

  1. Do not use items that produce carbon monoxide inside your home or garage or outside an open window.
  2. Never use gas ovens to heat your home, even for a short time.
  3. If you use a fireplace or wood stove, make sure that chimneys and flues are in good condition and are not blocked.
  4. Never idle a car in a garage, even when the garage door is open.
  5. If you use gas or oil appliances, make certain carbon monoxide detectors are installed on every level of your home and outside every sleeping area. Test your carbon monoxide detectors along with your smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

If the CO detector sounds, turn off any heating appliance and open windows to get fresh air. Call 911 if you experience CO poisoning symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, or headaches and move to fresh air immediately. If you suspect an appliance is the source, call a qualified technician to fix the problem before restarting the appliance.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Handout

Holiday Safety Tips

The Seattle Fire Department would like to remind residents to be mindful of fire safety during this holiday season. Holiday-related home fires primarily involve cooking, heating and electrical sources. Busy kitchens can lead to unattended stoves. Cold winter weather results in high use of space and wall heaters. Festive lights can be temptation for the use of overloaded outlets and dangerous extension cords.

View the Seattle Fire Department’s Holiday Tips video.

Here are some tips to keep you safe:

    1. Cooking is the number one cause of holiday fires. Make sure to be present while you are cooking and keep children three feet away from the stove.
    2. If you do have a pan fire on the stove,put a lid on it to extinguish the fire. Never use water on a grease fire.
    3. Consider using electrical candles ore decorations. If you do use real flames, blow out  candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
    4. Keep holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources.
    5. Water your tree daily. Make sure to turn off all holiday lights on the tree and around your house when you to to sleep or leave the house.
    6. Utilize a power strip with an internal circuit breaker so you don’t overload electrical outlets. Never connect more than three strings of holiday lights together.
    7. Make sure you smoke and CO alarms are working so you and your family can get out safely if a fire starts.

The Seattle Fire Department wishes you and your family a happy holiday season.

Heating Fire Safety

In December there have already been a couple of heating-related fires that could have been prevented.

                     Curtains draped over baseboard heater

Heaters are the second leading cause of fires in residential buildings. As would be expected, most heating-related fires occur during the winter months when heaters get turned on and the use of portable heaters and fireplaces increases. Fires caused by furniture, bedding, and other materials placed too close to baseboard heaters and portable heaters are the most common types of heating-related residential fires.

Safety Precautions for Residents

• Give your heaters space. Do not put anything close to any type of heater.

• Never use an extension cord with a portable heater. Plug the heater directly into a wall outlet.

• Make sure your portable heater is tested by an independent testing laboratory and has an automatic shut off feature if it tips over.

• Turn portable heaters off before leaving the room or before going to bed.

• Never permit any item to drape across heaters.

• Clean or replace furnace filters regularly.

• Inspect all heating equipment yearly and always hire an experienced electrician to do any necessary repair work on your baseboard heaters.

For more Heating Fire Safety information

Candle Safety

With the arrival of cooler weather and darker days, the use of candles and other types of festive lighting increases. Unfortunately, the number of fires caused by candles also increases. A recent home fire that started from a candle left unattended in a living room provides another reminder about the potential damage from a single flame.

Candles are used in 70% of US American households. Yet, a study by the National Fire Protection Association shows that only 30% of adults who use candles have a specific household rule to never leave a burning candle unattended.

Consider adopting the following candle safety rules in your home:

  1. Always keep burning candles within sight. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or before going to sleep.
  2. Always use a candleholder specifically designed for candle use. The holder should be heat resistant, sturdy and large enough to contain any drips or melted wax.
  3. Keep burning candles away from items that can catch on fire such as furniture, drapes, bedding, carpets, books, paper, etc.
  4. If light is needed during a power outage, use battery-operated light source instead of candles.

Cooking Safely for Thanksgiving

Whether you are gathering for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, keep safety in mind if you decide to forgo takeout and use your oven this year. Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking-related fires. And if you are considering frying a turkey this year, BE CAREFUL! The US Fire Administration has some recommendations if you decide to fry a turkey this year.

Here are a few more thankful safety tips:

  • Check on food regularly while cooking – unattended cooking is the number one cause of home fires
  • Keep children at least 3 feet away for the stove
  • Unplug kitchen electrical items which have a heating element such as coffee pots, rice cookers and toasters, when not in use
  • If a fire starts on the stove top, cover it with a lid or metal cookie sheet and turn the stove off. Do not throw water on a grease fire.

For more information, contact Public Affairs at