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Posted on: February 17, 2021

Winter Safety Tips

Put a freeze on winter fires

Clearing Snow

  • Be sure to clear snow from around heating vents.
  • Roof top heating and cooling units on commercial buildings have to have the vents cleared of snow after a storm or it causes problems for efficiency.
  • The same is true for home owners.
  • With the recent gas installations not all units vent outside through the roof top chimney.
  • Some have direct vents installed outside the side wall of the home.
  • If the vent is low it could have snow and ice buildup around it.
  • Removing the snow will help it run more efficiently and reduce the possibility of Carbon Monoxide venting back into the home.
  • The same care should be used for the permanently installed generators. Be sure to clear snow and ice from around the generator to make sure it will run properly. 
  • Be sure to clear snow from elevated decks.  The snow load can cause a decks anchor points to weaken and collapse.


NFPA's general winter safety tips



NFPA Web-site for additional information



Ref: NFPA Public Safety Education.

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. 

Winter storms

Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.


Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. 


December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top two days for home candle fires are Christmas and Christmas Eve. Each year between 2013-2017, an average of 7,900 home candle fires were reported each year.


Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. More statistics on electrical fires.

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