Fire Protection Safety Tips to Prevent Heating Fires
Second Leading Cause of Home Fires after Kitchen Fires
It's that time of the year when the temperature drops and being cozy and warm becomes a priority. However, many home and business fires start because of heating systems, and it's not just space heaters that can cause fires.
The term “heating fires” applies to fires that are caused by central heating units, fixed or portable local heating units, fireplaces, heating stoves, chimneys and water heaters.
Heating Fire Facts:
From 2013-2015, an average of 45,900 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year. These fires caused an annual average of approximately 205 deaths, 725 injuries and $506 million in property loss.
Heating was the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.
Home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m. with the highest peak between 6 and 8 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 29 percent of all home heating fires.
Home heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point from June to August.
Confined fires — fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners — accounted for 75 percent of home heating fires.
Twenty-nine percent of the non-confined home heating fires — fires that spread past the object of origin — happened because the heat source (like a space heater or fire place) was too close to things that can burn.
Precautions Everyone Should Take
With a few simple safety tips, you can prevent most heating fires from happening:
Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
Never use your oven to heat your home.
Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
Do not overload outlets.
Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
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