Winter Safety Tips Offered by Wake Forest Baptist and Safe Kids Forsyth

December 5, 2008

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Safe Kids Forsyth and the Burn Center of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center offer some winter safety tips to help keep families safe. As the weather turns colder and the holiday season approaches, it’s necessary to take a few extra precautions to protect your home and family.

“Our community has seen two recent deaths due to house fires and an Advance boy recently got himself and siblings to safety during a fire because of what he learned from the fire department,” said Donna Joyner, director of Safe Kids Forsyth. “It’s so important to educate ourselves so we can hopefully avoid such tragedy and keep our loved ones safe.”
Home Heating

• Have heating equipment, including furnaces, fireplaces and coal or wood stoves checked annually and cleaned as recommended.
• Use a sturdy fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
• Install a spark arrestor on top of your chimney to keep sparks from starting a fire on your roof or outside your home.
• Burn only well-seasoned wood in a fireplace or wood stove. Use paper or kindling to start the fire, not flammable liquids. Do not use artificial logs in wood stoves.
• Use space heaters with care. Place them on a firm, sturdy, noncombustible surface at least three feet from flammable objects such as wallpaper, draperies and paper.
• Always turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
• Place portable generators outside your house, and away from windows, doors or vents. Also keep clear from trees or leaves.
• Never use a stovetop or oven to heat your home.
Holiday Decorations
• Keep Christmas trees well watered and away from fireplaces, space heaters and radiators.
• Use a sturdy, non-slip tree stand.
• Never block a doorway with a Christmas tree.
• Keep menorahs, kinaras or any other festive candles on a flat surface, and at least a foot from flammable items.
• Never leave a burning candle unattended.
• When possible, use battery-powered flameless “candles” instead of real ones.
• Always turn off decorative lights before leaving the house or going to sleep.
Holiday Cooking
• When doing holiday cooking, or any cooking, make sure your kitchen is equipped with a working smoke alarm and a multi-purpose ABC-rated extinguisher.
• Keep your stovetop and oven clean, as food and grease splatters can ignite.
• Keep an eye on ovens in use and make sure children stay away from stoves.
• Turn pan handles inward and use rear burners whenever possible.
• In case of an oven fire or microwave fire, keep the door closed and turn off the appliance.
• In case of a pan fire, don’t try to put it out with water or with a fire extinguisher. Both can spread the flames and increase the fire. Instead, smother small grease fires with baking soda or by covering the pan with a small lid.
• No matter how busy you are during the holidays, never leave the house while the oven is on.


Media Relations Contacts: Bonnie Davis,, (336) 716-4977; or Shannon Koontz,, at (336) 716-4587.

Media Relations