ROCHESTER, Minn. - Homes will soon be trading in air conditioning for heat.
Rochester Fire Department Captain Caleb Feine shared three key things to keep in mind to prepare the home for winter:
- Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have batteries.
- Clean out chimneys.
- Have heating appliances inspected and cleaned out.
Capt. Feine expressed the importance of making sure carbon monoxide detectors are functioning.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas - so, there is no way to sense there has been a leak.
A carbon monoxide leak could mimic flu-like symptoms in the body if you are exposed.
While a carbon monoxide leak is undetectable by a person, there are some other signs to look out for once the heaters are turned on.
"One thing to be aware of if they haven't run for a long time," said Capt. Feine. "When you first fire them up you're going to burn off some dust, some cobwebs. A little bit of odor is normal. So, don't be super concerned. But, once you start to see a haze and it starts to smell like smoke, please call the fire department so that we can come and check it out."
Capt. Feine said one of the most important things they can do to prevent fires is to educate the community on fire safety.
"During the cooler months, people would think there would be more fires or a spike in call volume," said Capt. Feine. "But there's really no rhyme or reason for when we get more calls. The biggest thing we want to do is just educate people on the safety aspect of it - the maintenance piece of it - to make sure that whatever they're using to keep themselves comfortable during the cooler months that they're doing it the safest way possible."
He recommends keeping flammable objects at least three feet from powered heating devices to prevent fires.