Fall is upon us, winter is creeping behind and temperatures are dropping around the country. Did you know that trying to keep toasty in cooler months is the second leading cause of house fires? Cooking is the first. Here is a list of safety tips to prevent fires in your home during this fall/winter season.
Basics for home-heating safety:
- Have heating equipment and chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected yearly
- Keep space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn
- Never use your oven to heat your home
- Use radiator covers to protect kids from burns
- Carbon monoxide can kill in three minutes
- Get a carbon monoxide detector and make sure the batteries are good
Space heaters: Give them room
Did you know space heaters are involved in one-third of home-heating fires? The National Fire Protection Association recommends keeping space heaters at least 3 feet from anything that can burn.
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed
- Use portable heaters that have been approved by a recognized testing laboratory
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters. Only refuel outdoors.
- Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off in case it tips over
- Plug portable heaters directly into outlets
- Don’t use an extension cord or power strip for portable heaters
More fireplace safety tips
- As with space heaters, keep anything that could catch fire at least 3 feet from the fireplace
- Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home
- Fire ashes should always be cool before you put them into any kind of covered, metal container
- Never use plastic containers to dispose of fire ashes
- Keep fireplace ash containers a safe distance from your home
Ovens are for cooking
Never turn on the oven and open the door or light burners to heat the home. Not only is it ineffective, but it can lead to burns and poses a carbon monoxide risk.
A gas oven might go out or not burn well, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. An electric oven is not designed for space heating.
Carbon monoxide is contained in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars, engines, grills, furnaces, or fireplaces. It can build up indoors, and it can poison and kill people and animals who breathe it.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can seem like the flu, and the symptoms include confusion and sleepiness. Carbon monoxide poisoning can make you pass out, and it can kill you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that every year more than 400 Americans die, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning not linked to fires.
Following these routine maintenance tips and common-sense safety practices will help you stay safe and warm.