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    Makeshift Heating Solutions Can Be Fatal

    Posted on - Wednesday, March 2, 2016 under Safety Tips

    We all want to stay warm in the winter. But when things get really cold outside, our home heating system may not be up to the challenge of keeping us warm inside. There may be areas of the house, like a basement, that just seem to never be warm enough. So we may fall back on space heaters or other makeshift solutions to keep the chill away.

    But such solutions can be deadly, and this time of year is the deadliest. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

    • heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520 civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage in 2011 alone.
    • space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths.
    • placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for 53% of home heating fire deaths.
    • half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.

    In order to avoid the tragedy of a fire that could destroy your home and result in injury or death for your family, the NFPA suggests following these important home heating safety tips:

    • 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.

    Spring will be here soon enough. Until then, make sure that you keep warm safely.

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