MONTECITO, CA – There is something about the winter months and curling up with a good book by the fireplace. However, did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? With a few simple precautions and safety tips, you can prevent most heating fires from happening.
According to the March, 2016 NFPA report, home fires involving heating equipment accounted for 16% of all reported home fires in 2009-2013 (second behind cooking) and 19% of home fire deaths (second behind smoking materials). Space Heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 84% of associated civilian deaths, 75% of civilian injuries, and 52% of direct property damage. The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (56%) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding. The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (30%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
Be warm and safe this winter:
- Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
- Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
Heating equipment smarts:
- Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation. Vent all fuel-burning equipment to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
- Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local Fire Department or Gas Company.
For more information regarding fire prevention and preparedness, go to our website at www.montecitofire.com.