As temperatures drop in the months ahead, the risk of home heating fires peaks. In fact, December, January and February are the leading months for home fires, with 50% of all home heating fires occuring during this time.
In 2010, home heating equipment was involved in an estimated 57,100 reported home structure fires, 490 civilian deaths, 1,530 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage.
When heating your home this winter, remember that all heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater. And remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to sleep.
Below are NFPA’s tips for safely heating your home this winter:
• All heaters need space. 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 inspected and cleaned each year by a qualified
• 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.
• Test all smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries once a year, or when they begin to
chirp, which means the batteries are running low.