Monday, December 23, 2013 - 6:35am
Colder temperatures have most of us looking for ways to stay warm. But heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire fatalities. Space heaters in particular, whether portable or stationary, account for approximately one-third of home heating fires and three-fourths of home heating fire deaths.
The leading factor contributing to home heating fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
Follow these tips for staying safe and warm throughout the winter months:
- Keep anything that can burn (including presents, pets and people) 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 and carbon monoxide alarms monthly.
- Lori Wirth, (608) 575-4943, firstname.lastname@example.org