Safe & Warm: Heating Safety & Assistance

The Town of Longmeadow is offers a program to assist residents who may be have difficulty heating their homes. Our program offers:
  • Fuel Assistance Programs
  • Home Heating Safety Tips
Alternative Heating Sources
If you are considering alternative heating sources this winter, we urge you to consult with your local fire officials, and local building department to make sure any alternative heating sources are safe and legal.

Statistically, more fires occur in the home from November through March. This is because people are heating their homes, and cooking indoors. Please follow these safe and simple tips to help you stay safe and warm this winter.

Cover the ABCs Of Fire Safety
  • Make sure there are working smoke alarms on every level including 1 outside the bedrooms.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly and change batteries twice a year when you change the clocks.
  • Hold home fire drills to practice the home escape plan.
  • Practice home fire safety and set a good example for the children.
Be Careful When Using Fireplaces & Solid Fuel Stoves
  • If you heat your home by burning solid fuels (coal, firewood, pellets), be careful before, during and after using these kinds of fuels.
  • Have the chimney professionally cleaned every year.
  • Make sure the stove is approved by a national testing agency such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL).
  • You must get a building permit before installing a stove.
  • Keep anything that can burn 3 feet away.
  • Dispose of the ashes in a metal container, with a lid, away from the house, garage and porch.
  • Find out more about Wood Stove and Chimney Safety (PDF).
Space Heaters Need Space
  • Fires caused by space heaters are rare but often deadly. If you must use a space heater, do so safely.
  • Do not use space heaters as your primary heating source.
  • Keep anything that can burn 3 feet away. Use only heavy-duty extension cords.
  • Always turn off when going to bed or leaving home.
  • Portable kerosene heaters are illegal in Massachusetts to use in your home.
  • Find out more about Space Heater Safety (PDF).
Maintain Natural Gas Equipment
  • Natural gas is a safe and efficient way to cook, heat our homes and hot water.
  • Have your furnace and hot water heater professionally checked every year.
  • Do not use or store gasoline or painting supplies inside where they can be ignited by the pilot light.
  • Gas leaks can be dangerous. If you smell something like rotten eggs or you think there might be a leak,
  • Move outdoors.
  • Do not smoke or turn on or off electrical switches - sparks can cause an explosion.
  • Dial 911 immediately.
  • Read about what you can do to save energy heating your home this winter (PDF).
Maintain Oil Heating Equipment
  • Home heating with fuel oil is also safe and efficient.
  • Have your furnace professionally cleaned and checked every year.
  • Don’t let the tank get below 1/4 full.
  • If the oil burner releases smoke or soot in the house, call for service.
  • Read a Guide to Home Heating and Energy Assistance (PDF) prepared by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer
  • Heating equipment is the leading source of carbon monoxide (CO) in the home.
  • Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home.
  • Don’t use the gas stove or oven for heat.
  • Have furnaces and chimneys checked annual by a professional.
  • Keep appliance vents and exhaust pipes clear of drifting snow and bushes.
  • Read a Carbon Monoxide Safety Guide (PDF).
  • Check out Carbon Monoxide Facts (PDF).
Cooking Safety
  • Put a lid on a grease fire to smother it, and then turn of the heat. Baking soda is also an effective way to extinguish a grease fire.
  • Never move a burning pan.
  • Never throw water or use a fire extinguisher on a grease fire. Water will only spread a grease fire, and a fire extinguisher can splash the grease, spreading the fire.
  • Stand by your pan! Don’t leave food, grease or oils cooking on a stove top unattended.
  • Wear short or tight fitting clothes when cooking. Loose fitting clothing can easily catch fire.
  • If your clothing does catch fire, Stop Drop and Roll to extinguish the flames.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent accidental spills.
  • Create a 3-foot “Child Free” zone around the stove.
  • Keep combustible objects such as pot holders, towels, paper and plastic bags away from the stove top.
  • For fires inside an oven or microwave, keep the door closed, turn off the appliance and call the Fire Department.
  • Unplug appliances such as toaster ovens and coffee makers when not in use.
  • Don’t store items inside an oven.
More Information
For more information to help you stay safe, please contact our Fire Prevention Bureau at 413-565-4108. You can also email Fire Chief Eric Madison or contact him at 413-567-3357. For assistance, call Linda Collina at 413-565-4150.