Home fires and deaths that result from them, start because of a handful of reasons. Cooking and heating are among these. Consequently, half of the year’s home heating fires occur in the winter months, December through February. One in six reported home fires involves heating equipment and one in every five deaths in a home fire stems from heating equipment.
Cooking fires are still the most popular reason for a house fire, and that carries over into these winter months. But other fire hazards join in the mix when homes start feeling colder. From space heaters to fireplaces, fires can spark quickly and spread faster than normal. Here are some tips for keeping your family safe from fire during the winter months.
There are a few general rules that apply to heat sources and fire safety, and several more for specific heating equipment. Generally, make sure to keep all flammable materials (this also includes rugs, bedding, curtains, and paper) at least 3 feet away from heating sources. Never leave children or pets alone with these sources and regularly clean and maintain them.
Ovens and stoves are not designed or intended to heat your house, nor are they safe to do so. And here’s another reminder to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors regularly. If you have a portable generator, make sure it’s stored outside away from windows and as far away from the house as possible.
Wood stoves are a great way to heat your home if used safety. Wood stoves work similarly to space heaters, in the way that they can heat your entire home if they are located where your family spends the most time and the heat can be disbursed equally throughout the house. Ideally, you’ll have a professional come clean and inspect the chimney before the season starts, both to maximize the efficiency and to make sure it’s safe. Make sure you always extinguish the fire in the stove before going to bed or leaving the home and never use flammable liquids to start a fire in it.
Fireplaces are more than pretty features in a main living area or bedroom in a home. They can effectively heat up a room, and gas fireplaces can be cost-efficient as well. With any fireplace, gas, electric, or traditional, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind for safety. Keep everyone away from it, never leave it attended, and have a screen in front of it to prevent embers from escaping. Remove ashes from the fire and put them outside in a metal container, at least 3 feet from your home. Enjoy your fireplace safely.
Space and Kerosene Heaters
Space and kerosene heaters are an option for heading your home, but they should be the last option. One of the main reasons that they are so dangerous is because they get hot when in use. They should only be used on flat, hard surfaces (no carpet!) and need to be free of flammable materials. A space heater that automatically turns off it falls over is a great idea. Space or kerosene heaters should also be plugged in directly to the outlet, and only one in the outlet at a time.
There are other options for heating your home effectively, including making sure your furnace is maintained properly. Homes heated by gas generally have a lower utility bill than those heated solely by electricity. Make sure your house and family are safe in whatever heating technique you chose.