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.