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Winter Home Heating Safety

Over the past five years, the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services has reported nearly 10,000 fires caused by heating.  When it comes to heating your home this winter, it is important to remember to be safe, wise and responsible when doing so.


Maintain Oil Heating Equipment

  • Have your furnace cleaned and checked every year.
  • Do not let your oil tank go completely empty.
  • Change your furnace filter regularly.
  • Keep furnace area clear of storage, boxes or other items that could be flammable and restrict airflow.
  • If your oil burner begins releasing smoke or soot, have it serviced.


Space Heaters

  • Do not use a space heater as your main heating source.
  • Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from the heater.
  • If you are leaving the room or the home, make sure the heater is turned off properly.


  • Have your chimney professionally cleaned every year.
  • Keep flammable items at least three feet away.
  • Have a sturdy screen covering to guard the living area from sparks or human contact.
  • Do not burn glossy or coated papers – these may contain chemicals that can be released into the air.
  • Dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid, away from the house, garage and porch.

Carbon Monoxide

  • Install alarms on every level of your home
  • Do not use your stove or oven to help heat your home.
  • Have your furnace and chimneys checked every year.
  • Keep vents and exhaust pipers clear of snow and bushes.

General Safety

  • Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand. It is also good to make sure everyone in the home is familiar on how to use it.
  • Battery-operated smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor. Check the batteries regularly and replace when you detect signs of wear.
  • Have a plan for the whole family in case of an emergency. Make sure to practice this plan and everyone is aware of what to do.