With many parts of the country continuing to be in the deep freeze, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) issued a renewed warning about the fire dangers associated with heating equipment, saying the improper use of heating equipment can be incredibly dangerous and their misuse is a leading cause of home fire deaths.
According to organization, half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Half of the home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that started when something that could burn was too close to the heating equipment.
NFPA offers several tips you can follow to ensure a safe and cozy winter this year:
· Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or other space heater.
· Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
· Never use your oven to heat your home.
· Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
· Test smoke alarms monthly.
· Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
· Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room and burn only dry, seasoned wood. Allow ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which is kept a safe distance from the home.
· Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
· Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
More codes and standards can be viewed at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess