Fire district offers cold weather survival tips

As the winter continues on, Spokane County Fire District 4 offers safety reminders for avoiding weather-related fires and injuries.Remove dry Christmas trees soonForty percent of house fires in the month of January are caused by dry Christmas trees still standing inside homes. This is 100 percent preventable – remove Christmas tree as soon as possible.Prevent chimney firesBurn dry, seasoned wood in your wood stove or fireplace. Make sure that the fire burns hot from time to time, rather than a low burn all of the time, to prevent the buildup of creosote inside the chimney. If you see a glowing chimney pipe, or flames coming from the top of the chimney, call 911.Prevent fires inside and around the homeDon’t use portable heaters without making sure you are following the manufacturer’s directions for safety. Keep combustibles away from heat sources. Take extra care when using alternative heating sources, (heat lamps, heated water bowls, animal heating pads, etc). Do not use open flame devices for thawing pipes or frozen fixtures around the home. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and be sure to check them monthly.Keep walkways and hydrants clearIt seems that every time you turn around, there is more snow on that walkway or ice has built up again! Keep those paths clear to avoid a fall that will ruin your, or someone else’s, day. Check the hydrants closest to your home – they should have a 3-foot area around them clear of snow and other obstructions. HypothermiaIf working or playing outside, keep your head warm and stay dry if possible to avoid hypothermia. Check on vulnerable neighbors and the elderly who are more susceptible to cold temperatures. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, slow speech, fatigue and confusion. If you suspect someone is hypothermic, call 911, and protect them from further cold.