Winter weather can create new hazards around homes and local Fire Departments want to make sure residents are being safe.

Snow around front and back entrances to the home should be kept clear as well as window wells.

This way in case of an emergency the fire department can get access to the home quickly and residents can exit the home quickly as well.

Exhaust and furnace vents should be checked regularly to make sure they're clear of snow and ice.

Okotoks Fire Chief, Ken Thevenot, says if you have a wood stove or fireplace it's a good idea to check your chimney once every two weeks and watch for creosote.

"If you're burning on a regular basis ensure you're burning dry wood so you don't have that extra creosote build up in there because this time of year is the worst time for creosote build up because of the freezing and thawing and the wide range of temperatures from daytime to nighttime, that's when you start to build up creosote, especially if you're using wood that may be a bit wet."

It's also key that fire wood is properly stored.

"It can store outside as long as it's dried and seasoned, it'll dry and season over time as well," Thevenot says. "Anywhere you store it just make sure it's not too close to your fireplace or wood stove because of the sparks and embers, and just bring in small amounts."

Thevenot says those putting up outdoor Christmas lights should be careful using ladders on the frozen ground and make sure they have assistance to keep the ladder stable.


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