Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Chief, Bryan Collins shares his tips to prepare your home for the winter months which will also get you ahead of the game for wildland fire season this spring.

  • High winds, snow, and colder temperatures came early and not all the leaves and pine needles have fallen from our trees. As leaves continue to come down, continue pine needle and leaf cleanup in gutters and around the yard. Leaves and other debris will hamper drainage and cause ice dams to form.
  • Look for flammable debris on or around the outside of homes and make sure it is removed.
  • If you store wood for your fireplace, do not stack it up against your house or under your porch.
  • If you heat with wood, clean your fireplace or stove and have your flue and chimney checked for cracks or creosote buildup.
  • If you are an all-weather BBQ person, maintain your BBQ a safe distance from your house.
  • Have your heating system checked by a professional to ensure safe and efficient operation,
  • Make sure your home is properly insulated. If necessary, add insulation to walls and attics. This will conserve energy and help prevent destructive ice dams from forming.
  • Caulk doors and windows to keep cold air out. Install double-pane windows or storm windows, or cover windows and sliding doors with plastic sheeting from the inside to provide an extra layer of insulation.
  • Drain and clear sprinkler systems and outside pipes and hoses. Shut off valves to outside lines. If exposed water pipes are in use outside, bury or insulate them to protect them from freezing and bursting. If pipes do freeze, never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch. Know how to shut off your water valves. Keep a wrench near the valves.
  • Inspect your water heater and have it flushed if necessary.
  • Replace batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Make it part of your annual routine when you set your clocks back in the fall.
  • Be aware of the potential for flooding when snow and ice melt. Prepare ahead of time to prevent basement leaks or deal with accumulated water.
  • If possible, arrange and connect electric lights and holiday decorations before the first snow arrives. It is safer to use ladders and electricity before snow and ice arrive.

For more information for wildland fire season preparation, winter, and holiday fire safety visit:

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