It’s a cold winter night. You decide to use a space heater, or perhaps light a fire in the fireplace. Comfortable from its warmth as bedtime approaches you think, “What harm could it cause to leave it on overnight?”
Think again. While these heating devices may help you feel cozy and warm, they can become extremely dangerous if not used properly. On average, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) research shows that heating equipment is involved in in an estimated 56,000 reported U.S. home fires per year. These fires resulted in 470 civilian deaths, 1,490 civilian injuries and $1.0 billion in direct property damage per year.
The great news is, home heating fires are largely preventable when you know the rules. We urge you and your loved ones to use extra caution this winter when heating your home by following these precautions:
- Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
- Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
- Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
- Inspect for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.
- Have your chimney inspected each year by a qualified professional and cleaned if necessary.
- Use a sturdy fireplace screen.
- Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container.
- Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Never use an oven to heat your home.
On the Horizon: Fire Station 10
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New Maintenance Inspection Fees
To ensure fire inspections that prevent injury and property loss, the city will begin charging maintenance fire inspection fees in 2020. Learn more