Fall is definitely in the air — and with the cooler weather, many Kenai Peninsula residents are turning up the thermostat, plugging in a space heater or and firing up the woodstove to take the chill off the season.
But as our mornings get crisper, it is also a good time for a reminder to keep our homes safe while making them warm and cozy.
For starters, make sure your home has working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. They should be tested regularly, and even though we don’t change our clocks back to standard time until Nov. 5, it’s still a good time to change the batteries. The state fire marshal’s office recommends that smoke alarms be installed on each level of your home, and in each sleeping area. Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed on each level as well.
According to the fire marshal’s office, home heating issues are the leading cause of structure fires in Alaska. If you use a fireplace or woodstove on a regular basis, make sure your chimney is clean. Local fire departments loan out brushes to help with that task.
If you use a space heater, make sure to give it plenty of space — at least 3 feet on all sides and above it. Combustion heaters — those using kerosene or propane — emit carbon monoxide and, if you need to use one, it is crucial to make sure it is properly vented.
As long as you’re checking your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, it wouldn’t hurt to go over your family’s emergency plan as well. Do your kids know what to do if those alarms go off? If they have to exit the house quickly, do you have a meeting spot?
We hope everyone has a nice, warm place to go after being out in all the rain and wind the season is bringing. And we encourage everyone to do a quick safety check to make sure it stays that way.