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Cold temps are here. While portable heating appliances and fireplaces can make us more comfortable, they also contribute to an increase in residential fires. The Bakersfield Fire Department has been responding to several fires caused by heating appliances. To curb that trend, your Bakersfield firefighters urge you to keep the following concerns in mind:

Portable heaters should be:
  • (UL) listed and equipped for automatic shutoff if device is tipped over 

  • kept in good condition: no frayed wires or dust accumulation

  • plugged directly into the wall outlet, NOT an extension cord

  • at least 3 feet away from anything combustible and unplugged when not in use
Portable heaters should never be:
  • used as a place to dry clothes or store objects 

  • on when/where small children are left unattended, even briefly
Fireplaces should:
  • be shielded by a sturdy screen across the front to prevent flying embers or logs rolling out

  • have a spark arrestor across the top of the chimney to prevent sparks from igniting the roof

  • have all combustible items, including extra firewood, kept at least 3 feet from the opening
If you use manufactured logs, follow the directions carefully. Do not modify the logs or use in any way other than intended by the manufacturer. Never use gasoline, kerosene, or other flammable liquids to start a fireplace fire. Avoid burning gift wrappings, trash, or other debris in the fireplace. It releases toxic fumes and can cause excessive heat buildup that damages fireplaces. Put all ashes in a covered metal container – never in a cardboard box or trash bag, as embers can continue to smolder for days with potentially disastrous results. Have the chimney cleaned annually by a qualified chimney sweep.

Anytime we add any type of heat to our homes, the risk of uncontrolled fire increases. The Bakersfield Fire Department hopes that you will keep that in mind and wishes everyone in our community a warm and safe winter.

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