It’s National Fire Prevention week and now’s the perfect time to go over some basic heating safety tips in the winter. There are many hazards with different types of heating equipment and it can be easy to forget that those hazards exist. And while we all want to stay warm, we mustn’t forget to take extra special precaution with portable space heaters, chimneys, ovens, and other heating sources.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S. home fires, resulting in 400 civilian deaths, over 1500 civilian injuries, and nearly $900 million in direct property damage. These types of fires may have just accounted for 14% of all reported home fires, but that’s 14% of fires that could easily be prevented with best heating practices.
Here are some other facts from the NFPA:
- Placing heating equipment too close to objects that can burn, like upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for 53% of home heating fire deaths.
- Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths.
- Half (50%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
Before anything else, we suggest having a professional come out and do routine heater maintenance on your heating system. Of course, if you’re still in the market for a heater installation, let us know as we can give you some great recommendations.
But if you’re relying on portable space heaters or fireplace chimneys, make sure to follow these tips from the NFPA:
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves, or portable space heaters.
- Never ever use your oven to heat your home.
- Never leave a space heater on when you leave the room or go to bed.
- Always use the correct kind of fuel as specified by the manufacturer for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a strong screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Don’t forget to keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.