Warm your home safely on cold nights | Home & Garden
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - With the coldest temperatures of the season expected, fire departments are warning people to be smart when warming their homes. Heating sources are a leading cause of house fires and fire deaths in the United States.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home-heating fires occur during the winter months. On average, NFPA research shows that heating equipment is involved in more than 62,550 reported U.S. home structure fires per year, with associated loss of more than 516 civilian deaths, more than 1,595 civilian injuries and roughly $924 million in direct property damage per year.
The Columbia Fire Department offers the following safety reminders for people trying to heat their homes:
- All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
- Use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instruction. Have a qualified professional install the equipment.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO poisoning can cause illness and even death.
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide.
- Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
- Turn space heaters off when you leave a room or go to sleep.
- Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
- Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations, and flammable materials.
- Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
- Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
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