Salem Fire & Rescue

Salem Fire & Rescue

1315 Salem Rd. Morganton, NC 28655 Ph: (828) 437-8488 Fax: (828) 437-8488








Safety Tips




10 Tips For Home Fire Safety | Exit Drills In The House (EDITH) | Smoke Detectors | Cooking/Kitchen

Chimney/Fireplace | Babysitter/Childcare | Summer | Autumn | Winter | Easter | Halloween | Thanksgiving | Christmas


10 Tips For Home Fire Safety


    1. Maintain Smoke Detectors


        - Test detectors every month.

        - Replace batteries twice a year. A good time to remember is when you change your clocks.

        - Don't be a "battery bandit". Never borrow the batteries from a smoke detector.

        - Never paint a smoke detector.

        - Periodically clean detectors with a vacuum cleaner without removing cover. Dust and cobwebs can reduce sensitivity to smoke.


    2. Plan And Practice To Escape A Fire


        - Have at least two ways to get outside from each room in your home, especially bedrooms.

        - Practice escape plan at least twice a year.

        - Get out right away, as fast as possible and don't stop for anything.

        - Stay outside until you are sure it is safe to go back.

        - Have a prearranged meeting place outside, so you'll be sure everyone is out of the home.

        - Never use an elevator. It might take you right to the fire.


    3. Know How To Deal With Smoke


        - If you encounter smoke, use an alternate escape route.

        - If you must exit through smoke, keep low where air is cleanest (1-2 feet above the floor) and crawl on your hands and knees to safety.

        - Cover you mouth and take short breaths.


    4. Keep An Eye On Smokers


        - Don't let anyone smoke in bed.

        - Put water on butts before discarding.

        - Before going to bed or leaving home check under and around sofa cushions for smoldering cigarettes.


    5. Be A Careful Cook


        - Never leave anything cooking unattended.

        - Keep cooking area clear of items that will catch fire.

        - Never put foil or metal in a microwave.

        - Keep pots and handles turned inward so they won't be knocked over.

        - If there is a grease fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the burner. Never use water.

        - Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves to cook.


    6. Give Portable And Space Heaters The Space They Need


        - Keep heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn.

        - Keep children and pets away.

        - Always turn heaters off when leaving home or going to bed.


    7. Remember, Matches And Lighters Are Not Toys


        - Use child-resistant lighters.

        - Store matches and lighters up high where children cannot reach them, preferably a locked cabinet.

        - Teach children that matches and lighters are tools for adults, not toys for children.


    8. Take Care Of A Burn Right Away


        - Immediately place the burned area in cool water for 10-15 minutes.

        - If a burn blisters or chars, see a physician immediately.


    9. Be Careful With Electricity


        - Replace cracked or frayed electrical cords.

        - If an appliance smokes or smells hot, unplug it right away and have it repaired.

        - Don't overload extension cords or run them under the rug.

        - Don't tamper with fuse boxes or fuses of the wrong size.


    10. Know What To Do If Your Clothes Catch Fire


        - STOP, DROP, AND ROLL!

        - STOP where you are. Never run.

        - DROP to the ground. Cover your face with your hands to protect face and lungs.

        - ROLL over and over to smother the flames.


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Exit Drills In The House (EDITH)


    How to Survive


        - Install and maintain smoke detectors.

        - Make an escape plan and practice it.

        - Consider installing an automatic fire-sprinkler system.


    Plan Your Escape


        - When a fire occurs, there's no time for planning. Sit down with your family today and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire.

        - Draw a floor-plan of your home marking two ways out of every room, especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household.

        - Agree on a meeting place outside your home where every member of the household will gather after escaping a fire to wait for the fire department. This allows you to

            count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is trapped inside the burning building.

        - Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be monitor and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race.

            Get out quickly, but carefully.

        - Make your exit drill realistic. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire and practice alternative escape routes. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape

            routes are filling with smoke.


    Be Prepared


        - Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars need to be equipped with

            quick-release devices and everyone in the household should know how to use them.

        - If you live in an apartment building, use stairways to escape. Never use an elevator during a fire. It may stop between floors or take you to a floor where the fire is


        - If you live in a two-story house, and you must escape from a second-story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for

            children, older adults, and people with disabilities. People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their sleeping area and, if possible, should sleep on the

            ground floor.

        - Test doors before opening them. While kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and touch the door, the knob, and the space between the door

            and its frame with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, use another escape route. If the door is cool, open it with caution.

        - If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a

            light-colored cloth or a flashlight. If there's a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.


    Get Out Fast


        - In case of fire, don't stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Go directly to your meeting place and then call the fire department from a neighbor's

            phone or an alarm box. Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department.

        - Crawl low under smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary

            exit, use your alternate escape plan. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters)

            above the floor.


    Stay Out


        - Once you are out of your home don't go back for any reason. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a

            fire are overpowering. Firefighters have the training, experience, and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.


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Smoke Detectors


    Smoke Detectors Save Lives


        - The majority of fatal home fires happen at night, when people are asleep. Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. The

            poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put you into a deeper sleep.

        - Inexpensive household smoke detectors sound an alarm, alerting you to a fire. By giving you time to escape, smoke detectors cut your risk of dying in a home fire

            nearly in half. Smoke detectors save so many lives most states have laws requiring them in private homes.


    Choosing a Detector


        - Be sure that the smoke detectors you buy carry the label of an independent testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).

        - Several types of detectors are available. Some run on batteries, others on household current. Some detect smoke using an "ionization" sensor, others use a

            "photoelectric" detection system. All approved smoke detectors, regardless of the type, will offer adequate protection provided they are installed and maintained



    Is One Enough?


        - Every home should have a smoke detector outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. The National Fire Alarm Code,

            developed by NFPA, requires a smoke detector in each sleeping room for new construction. On floors without bedrooms, detectors should be installed in or near

            living areas, such as dens, living rooms or family rooms.

        - Be sure everyone sleeping in your home can hear your smoke detector's alarms. If any residents are hearing-impaired or sleep with bedroom doors closed, install

            additional detectors inside sleeping areas as well. There are special smoke detectors for the hearing impaired; these flash a light in addition to sounding an audible


        - For extra protection, NFPA suggests installing detectors in dining rooms, furnace rooms, utility rooms, and hallways. Smoke detectors are not recommended for

            kitchens, bathrooms, or garages where cooking fumes, steam or exhaust fumes could set off false alarms or for attics and other unheated spaces where humidity and

            temperature changes might affect a detector's operation.


    Where To Install


        - Because smoke rises, mount detectors high on a wall or on the ceiling. Wall-mounted units should be mounted so that the top of the detector is 4 to 12 inches (10 to

            30 cm) from the ceiling. A ceiling-mounted detector should be attached at least four inches (10 cm) from the nearest wall. In a room with a pitched ceiling, mount the

            detector at or near the ceiling's highest point.

        - In stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, position smoke detectors anywhere in the path of smoke moving up the stairs. However, always position smoke

            detectors at the bottom of closed stairways, such as those leading to the basement, because dead air trapped near the door at the top of a stairway could prevent

            smoke from reaching a detector located at the top.

        - Don't install a smoke detector too near a window, door, or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with the detector's operation.




        - Most battery-powered smoke detectors and detectors that plug into wall outlets can be installed using only a drill and a screwdriver, by following the manufacturer's

            instructions. Plug-in detectors must have restraining devices so they cannot be unplugged by accident. Detectors can also be hard-wired into a building's electrical

            system. Hard-wired detectors should be installed by a qualified electrician. Never connect a smoke detector to a circuit that can be turned off by a wall switch.


    False Alarms


        - Cooking vapors and steam sometimes set off a smoke detector. To correct this, try moving the detector away from the kitchen or bathroom, or install an exhaust fan.

            Cleaning you detector regularly, according to the manufacturer's instructions, may also help.

        - If "nuisance alarms" persist, do not disable the detector. Keep the detector in working order until a replacement is purchased and installed.




        - Only a functioning smoke detector can protect you.

        - Never disable a detector by "borrowing" its battery for another use.

        - Following the manufacturer's instructions, test all your smoke detectors monthly and install new batteries at least once a year. A good reminder is when you change

            your clocks in the spring or fall: "change your clock, change your battery."

        - Clean your smoke detectors using a vacuum cleaner without removing the detector's cover.

        - Never paint a smoke detector.

        - Smoke detectors don't last forever. Replace any smoke detector that is more than 10 years old or as directed in the owner's manual.


    Plan And Practice


        - Make sure everyone is familiar with the sound of the detectors alarm.

        - Plan escape routes. Know at least two ways out of each room.

        - Agree on a meeting place outside your home where all residents will gather after they escape.

        - Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

        - Remove obstructions from doors and windows needed for escape. Make sure everyone in the household can unlock doors and windows quickly, even in the dark.

            Windows or doors with security bars should be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone in the household should know how to use them.

        - When an alarm sounds, leave immediately. Go directly to your outside meeting place and call the fire department.

        - Once you're out, stay out. Never return to a burning building.


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    Watch What You Heat


        - Cooking is the number one cause of home fires in the United States. The leading cause of home cooking fires and injuries is unattended cooking. Never leave cooking



    Cooking Safely Prevents Fires


        - Always keep an eye on food being heated. If you leave the kitchen, turn off the heat!

        - If the phone rings or something else requires you to leave the kitchen momentarily when cooking, take a pot holder or wooden spoon with you as a reminder to get

            back to the kitchen quickly.

        - Keep young children away from appliances when cooking. If you allow older children to cook, supervise them closely and teach them safe cooking practices.

        - Enforce a three foot kid-free zone around the range and teach youngsters not to play in that area.

        - Dress appropriately for cooking. Wear short or tight-fitting sleeves when cooking and use caution when working near heat sources.

        - Try not to reach or lean over the stove. You can avoid this by not storing items you use directly over or behind the stovetop.

        - Provide plenty of quality, fire resistant pot holders and oven mitts for the cooks in your household. Select heavy, fire retardant oven mitts that nearly reach the elbow to

            protect your entire forearm from heat.

        - Turn handles inward so pots and pans won¡¯t be pulled or knocked off the stove.

        - Keep the stove-top clean and clear. Store things that can catch fire, like pot holders or wooden utensils, away from heat sources.

        - Keep food or grease form building up by cleaning often.

        - Monitor hot oil carefully and heat it slowly, keeping the pan lid close at hand. Guard against splattering grease. Know what to do in case a grease fire occurs.

        - Use caution with electrical appliances. Plug one appliance into an outlet at a time. Have appliances with frayed or cracked cords repaired before using. Never stand in

            or near water when using electrical appliances. Un-plug countertop appliances when not in use.

        - Always have pot holders and lids at the ready when cooking. You may need them if you experience a small pan fire.

        - If you keep fire extinguishers on hand and plan to use them in the event of a fire. be sure you know what type to buy and how to use them properly. Ask your fire

            department for information on what to buy and training in their use.


    If You Have A Fire


        - If a pan fire starts on the stove-top, carefully slide a lid or large pan over the fire and then turn off the burner. Never pour water on a grease fire because splashed grease

            can ignite combustibles in your kitchen, spreading the fire.

        - Don¡¯t try to carry a pan that¡¯s on fire outside or to the sink. This is extremely dangerous because it can easily ignite your clothing or other combustibles you may pass

            with the pan.

        - If a pan fire starts inside the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to suffocate the flames. If a fire starts inside your microwave, keep the door shut, push the

            "stop" switch, and unplug the unit. Keep the door closed until the fire is out. Call the fire department if the fire does not go out immediately.

        - If your clothing catch fire, do not run, Stop, drop to the ground and roll over and over until the flames are smothered.

        - Cool a burn: if you experience a burn while cooking that does not break the skin, run cool water over the skin for 10 - 15 minutes. Do not place butter or other ointment

            on the burn as this keeps the heat in and could further damage the skin. Severe burns, including burns that break the skin, should be treated by a physician.


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    Failing to maintain your woodstove or fireplace properly can lead to a chimney fire. Chimney fires occur when combustible deposits on the inner walls of the chimney ignite.

    These combustible deposits, called "creosote," are a natural byproduct of wood burning. A fire hazard exists if 1/4 inch of creosote (or more) coats the inner walls of the





        - Chimney fires do not occur in clean, intact, properly installed chimneys. Have a professional chimney sweep clean and inspect your appliance at least once a year.

            More frequent cleanings may be required, based on the type of wood burned, the type of appliance, and the frequency of use. In general, an older, uncertified

            woodstove, or any appliance that is used frequently, will require more than one cleaning per year.




        - The first indication of a chimney fire is usually the noise - a roaring sound that grows louder as the fire¡¯s intensity increases. Clouds of black smoke and sparks will be

            seen exiting the top of the chimney. In severe fires, flames can extend several feet above the chimney.


    What To Do


        - Call the fire department immediately and alert others in the house to evacuate.

        - Close the fireplace or woodstove dampers and/or the primary air inlet controls, limiting the fire¡¯s air supply and reducing its intensity. If there is a barometric damper in

            the chimney connector, plug or close the opening in the barometric damper.

        - Open the appliance door just enough to insert the nozzle of a 10 lb. dry chemical fire extinguisher rated for Class ABC fires. Discharge the entire content of the

            extinguisher into the appliance and shut the door.

        - If possible, wet down the roof and other outside combustibles to prevent fires ignited by shooting sparks and flames. Closely monitor all combustible surfaces near the

            chimney. During severe chimney fires, these surfaces can become hot enough to ignite.

        - After a chimney fire, have the chimney inspected by a professional chimney sweep or woodstove/fireplace installer. Choose a professional who has earned credentials

            from the National Chimney Sweep Guild, Chimney Safety Institute, or the HEARTH Education Foundation.

        - Do not use the chimney/fireplace until it has been inspected by a professional. The excessive heat produced by a chimney fire can crack chimney walls, damage

            chimney liners, and damage some types of factory-built chimneys. If not repaired, these damages create a greater possibility for any subsequent chimney

            fire to spread beyond the confines of the flue to the house.


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        - Before the parents leave the house, make sure that both the babysitter and the children know the fire safety procedures. Parents should review with the babysitter the

            fire escape plan with alternate exits and the designated meeting place outside once everyone has escaped the fire.

        - Plan ahead. Know how to get the children out of the bedrooms if smoke or fire blocks the front or back doors. Make sure you know in advance what all your escape

            options are.

        - Parents should verify that all smoke detectors are in working condition.

        - Insure that at least one approved smoke detector is installed and operating near the sleeping area. Check that the home has a functioning carbon monoxide detector.

        - In case of a fire, sound the alarm, yell "FIRE" as loud as possible. The babysitter should get the children out of the house first, then call 911 from the approved

            neighbor's home. The babysitter should then call the parents to let them know where the children are. The babysitter may then go back outside to direct the

            firefighters to the fire if he/she needs to.

        - Smoke kills. Shut doors to stop it from advancing. If possible, close the door to the area where the fire is. DO NOT attempt to extinguish the fire, but rather attempt to

            save a life.

        - To help the children escape injury in a fire, make sure the children are familiar with fire safety tips. Show children how to crawl under smoke low to the ground to get

            better air near the floor. Check all doors and doorknobs for heat before opening them. If their clothing were to catch on fire, stop, drop, and roll, to extinguish the

            flames. Under no circumstances are the children to go back into the house once they escape.

        - In the kitchen, smother a pan fire with a lid. Never use water.

        - You and the children should wear tight sleeves during meal preparation. Loose-fitting clothes can catch fire.

        - Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children.

        - Babysitters do not smoke on the job.

        - Safety covers are placed on all unused electrical outlets.

        - Loose cords are secured and out of the way. Multiple cord or octopus plugs are not used (They may overheat and cause fires).

        - Flammable and/or poisonous liquids must be securely stored in their original containers.


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        - Keep barbecue grills far away from anything that can burn - your home, cars, dry vegetation, etc.

        - Stay with the grill when lighted, and keep children and pets well away from the area.

        - When barbecuing, protect yourself by wearing a heavy apron and an oven mitt that fits high up over your forearm. If you get burned, run cool water over the burn for 10

            to 15 minutes. ( Tip: Don't use butter or a salve on burns because these seal in heat and can damage the tissue further.) If you receive a serious burn, with charred

            skin, for example, seek medical attention promptly.

        - Barbecue grills must never be used inside the home because, in addition to the fire hazard of indoor grilling, the grill can easily cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

        - If lightning appears while you're grilling, seek shelter and wait for the storm to pass.

        - For charcoal grills, only use starter fluids (never use gasoline) designed for barbecue grills. Use a limited amount of starter fluid before lighting the fire. If the fire is too

            slow, rekindle with dry kindling and add more charcoal if necessary. Don't add liquid fuel to re-ignite or build up a fire, as flash fires can result. Soak the coals with

            water before you discard them and leave the grill away from the house until completely cool.

        - For gas grills, always store the gas cylinder outside, away from structures, and turn off the valves when not in use. Check frequently for any leaks in connections by

            using a soap and water mix that will show bubbles if gas escapes. When purchasing a gas grill, select one that bears the mark of an independent testing laboratory

            such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Follow manufacturer's instructions and if needed, have it repaired by a trained professional.




        - Before fueling your boat, make sure to extinguish smoking materials and shut down all motors, fans and heating devices. Be sure the fueling nozzle is grounded to the

            fuel intake and don't fill to capacity - leave room for expansion. Wipe up fuel spills immediately and check the bilge for fuel leakage and odors. After fueling and before

            starting the motor, ventilate with the blower for at least four minutes.

        - On board your covered boat, consider installing a smoke detector and test the battery before using the boat each time, replacing the battery with a fresh one at least

            once a year.

        - Only use portable stoves and heaters specifically designed for marine use.




        - Pitch your tent (flame retardant is best) well away from your campfire.

        - Only use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns inside the tent or any other closed space, as opposed to liquid-fueled heaters or lanterns. In addition to the fire hazard

            posed by liquid-fueled devices, carbon monoxide poisoning can easily result in non-vented spaces.

        - Build your campfire downwind, away from your tent, clearing away all dry vegetation and digging a pit surrounded by rocks. Look for signs that warn of potential fire

            hazards in national forests and campgrounds and always obey park service regulations. Pour water over or cover the fire with dirt before going to sleep or leaving the

            campsite. Store liquid fire starter away from your tent and campfire and use only dry kindling to freshen a campfire, not liquid fuel. Never use gasoline to start a





        - The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend an outdoor public display put on by professionals.

        - Pyrotechnic devices, better known as fireworks, are designed to burn and explode and are a leading cause of injuries in the U.S. Every year, fireworks used by

            amateurs cause thousands of injuries serious enough to require emergency room treatment. Children between the ages of 10 and 14 are at greatest risk of injury from


        - NFPA recommends that all fireworks, including devices considered "legal", be used only by trained professional pyrotechnicians. Even sparklers, often mistaken as

            safe, burn as hot as 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.

        - Use only those fireworks that are legal to use in your area.

        - Follow all manufacturer recommendations and precautions when using any fireworks.

        - Leave any area where amateurs (adults included) are using these devices, and do not pick up or touch found fireworks.




        - Trim tree limbs so they don't hang over your roof

        - Keep eaves and gutters free of leaves and other debris that burns easily.

        - Clear weeds, brush and other flammable vegetation at least 30 feet away from your home and store firewood away from all structures.

        - Check with local authorities before burning debris outside. If you do decide to burn, obtain all required permits, closely supervise the fire, keep a garden hose running

            nearby and keep children and pets far away from the area. Be sure fire is completely extinguished before going to bed.

        - Never leave an outside fire unattended.

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        - Store gasoline outside the home, preferably in a locked, detached shed and store just enough to power your gasoline-fueled equipment.

        - Keep gasoline up high, inside a clearly marked container that's labeled and approved for gasoline storage.

        - Make sure gasoline and all flammable liquids are well away from any heat source or flame.

        - Use gasoline as a motor fuel only - never as a cleaner or for other purposes.

        - To transport gasoline in an automobile to and from the filling station, place a sealed, approved container in the trunk with the trunk lid propped open and drive directly

            to the fueling site. Take a direct route back home and never store gasoline in a vehicle. When using a pickup truck, be sure to properly secure the container in the

            bed to prevent spilling.

        - Extinguish smoking materials before fueling and take the equipment outside well away from combustibles. Wipe up any spills immediately and move the equipment at

            least 10 feet away from the fueling area to start the engine. Before refueling, turn off the equipment and let it cool completely.


    Enjoying Your Pool


        - Always supervise children in or around the pool area.

        - Maintain a fence around the pool and keep the fence gate locked when the pool is not in use.

        - Keep the pool area clean and free of unneeded debris.

        - Liquid and solid chlorine-based oxidizers are commonly sold for home pool care as hydrogen chloride products. These chemicals can spontaneously combust if

            contaminated by organic materials (such as body fluids, acid rain, etc.) or hydrocarbon liquids such as fuel or motor oil. This type of fire will result in toxic fumes that

            can be extremely dangerous and require resident evacuation.

        - Always store and use pool chemicals according to the manufacturer's recommendations and always store them outside the home, away from any heat source or


        - Keep the containers in a dry place, well away from other items. If the container is punctured or otherwise damaged, properly dispose of the chemicals.


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    Check Your Detectors


        - Spring forward, fall back and check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

        - When you change your clocks, also change the battery in your detectors. Developing this habit is a good way to remember a simple task that can save your life.


    Space Heaters


        - Space heaters need space, too. As the weather gets cooler, space heaters come out of their summer hiding places. Remember to leave at least 3 feet of space

            around your heater.

        - Unplug it when not in use.


    Clean Your Chimney


        - Make a clean sweep for autumn and give your fireplace a fall cleaning. Call your local chimney sweep and have your spark arrester checked and your chimney

            inspected for soot build-up.


    Do You Have Defensible Space?


        - Fire season isn't over. It's not too late to make sure that your roof is clear of leaves or pine needles and that there is a clear space of at least 30 feet between your

            house and the nearest tree.


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        - In this age of high energy costs adding insulation to your house can save you energy, but it could also lead to a fire.

        - Have your home electrical system checked and have deficiencies corrected by a qualified electrician, especially before installing insulation.

        - Always make sure insulation is kept away from ceiling light fixtures and other heat sources.


    Fuel Burning Furnace


        - Your furnace flue must be inspected regularly. Your furnace gives off heat and something else too - carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide gas has often been described

            as the 'silent killer'. Clear, colorless and tasteless, it is difficult to detect.

        - If your furnace flue is clogged or loose, carbon monoxide could be going into your lungs instead of up the chimney. Have your flue inspected on a regular basis by

            qualified personnel before it's too late for an inspection to make a difference.


    Wood Burning Appliances


        - Experts do not recommend the purchase or installation of any wood burning stove unless it is air-tight and has controlled airflow.

        - Clean out creosote before it wipes you out!

        - Fireplace chimneys should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, stovepipe chimneys once a month.


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