AUBURN — The holidays and the heating season present specific safety considerations in the home. The Auburn Fire Department reminds residents of the importance of fire safety in their homes during this time and has provided these tips:

• Chimneys get their heaviest use at this time of year. Before building a fire, clean and inspect the chimney. Anyone unsure whether a chimney is clean enough should not light a fire until it is checked out by a professional. 

• Wood stoves need to be installed properly and have adequate clearance — 36 inches — from combustibles. Only seasoned wood should be burned. Discard hot ashes in a metal container outside and away from the home.

• Furnaces should be inspected by a qualified specialist to ensure that they are in good, working condition.

• Cooking-related fires are the number one cause of fires in the home.

• Cooking food should not be left unattended. If leaving is necessary, cooking appliances should be turned off.

• Keep combustible materials, such as loose clothing, towels, potholders, papers, etc., away from heat sources on the stove or oven. 

• If a pan of grease catches fire, cover the pan to smother the fire and turn off the heat source. Do not attempt to move a pan of grease that is on fire. 

• Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove where they cannot be accidentally bumped or grabbed.

• Keep pets off cooking surfaces and countertops to prevent them from knocking things onto the burner.

• Burn candles in stable holders where they cannot be knocked over; keep them away from decorations, evergreens or other combustible materials.

• Children should not be left unattended around lighted candles. Candles, matches and lighters should be put out of their reach.

• At least one smoke alarm should be installed on each level of the home, including near sleeping areas.

• Important places to store fire extinguishers are in the kitchen, laundry room and garage. An extinguisher with an ABC rating can fight fires caused by paper, wood, cloth, flammable liquids and electrical short circuits.

• Make a family plan for fire emergencies, and practice escape plans.

FMI: 207-333-6633, ext. 6. 

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