Heating Season Safety

In 2014, according to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) there were 494,000 total Structure Fires reported in the United States; 53,600 of those fires were related to home heating equipment.  Last year, 12% of fire related deaths were due to stationary or portable heaters.  Here are a few reminders on how to keep your family safe in the coming winter months:

 Carbon Monoxide “The Silent Killer”:  Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and remember these few tips:

  • Avoid warming your motor vehicle while it is inside, even if you have the garage door open
  • Have any fuel burning equipment serviced yearly, such as your water heater and furnace
  • Be sure heating equipment has a supply of fresh air
  • Open the chimney flue on wood burning stoves
  • Don’t use gas or charcoal grills indoors or in the garage

If you have a fireplace, wood stove, electric or portable fuel heater, here are few things you can do to stay warm and safe this winter:

  • Have a heating contractor perform a yearly maintenance, this includes ensuring that chimney fireplaces are cleaned and inspected at least once a year and that spark arrestors are installed on the top of your chimney.
  • If you use a wood burning fireplace or stove, only use seasoned wood, this helps to prevent creosote buildup.
  • Be sure that a screen is placed properly across the front to prevent logs and sparks from coming out.
  • Discard any ashes in a noncombustible container, such as a metal can, and place outside and away from home.
  • Make sure there is a free flow of air and that combustibles (curtains, furniture, etc.) are at least 3 feet from the heating source
  • It is always a good idea to extinguish a fire in your fireplace before going to bed, and never leave an electric or kerosene heater unattended.
  • Never leave unattended children or pets by or near heaters
  • Never use gas or other flammable liquids to start a fire 

  • If you must use an electric heater, only use a heater that has been tested by Underwriting Laboratories.  This will ensure that the heater is equipped with safety features.
  • Electric heaters should be plugged directly into an outlet.  If you must use an extension cord, never use a light duty cord.
  • ALWAYS make sure you have working smoke alarms installed properly and on every floor of your home. If you aren’t sure, utilize the City of Lafayette Action Center and submit a smoke alarm request.