When the mercury drops, the risk of home fires starts to rise. Although most people think they are safest in their own homes, homes are actually where we are at greatest risk of fire death. More than 80 percent of fatal fires occur in the home.
According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires in the months of December, January and February. The organization estimates that roughly 55,000 home heating equipment fires occurred in the latest year the organization studied. Here’s what you can do to prevent home heating fires:
- Keep things that burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
- Use fireplaces, woodstoves, heaters and furnaces properly and carefully, with good maintenance.
- Get furnaces and chimneys inspected once a year and cleaned or repaired if needed.
- Closely watch children and pets in rooms with heating equipment, and keep them safely away.
- Turn off portable space heaters when you get ready to sleep or if you leave the room.
- Get your chimney inspected and the furnace tuned up.
- Make sure you have a fireplace screen.
- If you’re buying new heating equipment, always select products listed by an independent testing laboratory.
- Choose a qualified installer and follow all codes and manufacturers’ instructions. And save the user’s guide that comes with the heating equipment, so you can keep it properly maintained in the future.