BATON ROUGE, La (BRFD) As temperatures drop in the months ahead, home heating systems will fast kick into gear. However, some of the heat sources that make us feel warm and toasty also represent a leading cause of U.S. home fires and fire fatalities.
According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association’s(NFPA) latest U.S. home fires report, heating equipment, primarily space heaters and fireplaces, caused an estimated 66,100 home structure fires resulting in 480 civilian deaths, 1,660 injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage in 2008.
The Baton Rouge Fire Department would like to offer some tips to help prevent tragedy before it strikes.
· 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.
· Test smoke alarms monthly