As the temperature drops during winter months, most families and households in the U.S turn on their home heating equipments to keep safe and warm. Heating equipments may keep us warn, but, they also increase the risk of home heating fires.
According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost 50% of all home heating fires occur during the winter months leading to human deaths and property damage.
Most of these home fires are preventable and can be eliminated, or at least reduced, by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly.
Home Heating Safety Tips: Heating Home Safely
- Turn Off Electric Space Heater: Turn off your portable electric spaceheaters when you leave the room or when you are going to bed. Try to get a space heater with auto shut off feature. These space heaters should always be placed on a solid surface away from things that can easily catch fire.
- Fuel-Burning Space Heater: If you use a fuel-burning space heater, use the proper fuel as per instructions of the manufacturer. Don’t take the risk of using cheaper of inferior quality of fuel.
- Gas Heater: If you use a gas heater and the pilot light, allow enough time for the gas to go away before lighting. Do not allow gas to accumulate. Light the match before you turn on the gas to the pilot. This will avoid the risk of flashback.
- Wood and Pellet-Burning Stoves: Buy a wood stove that has passed all safety tests. A inferior quality wood-burning stove can be of high risk. Burn only dry, seasoned wood. If you use a pellet stove, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
Keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless loading or stoking the fire and make sure that your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.
Allow ashes to cool down completely before disposing. Keep them at a safe distance from the home.
Other Home Heating Safety
Whatever equipment you use for heating your home, just make sure that it has passed all safety measures and tests and that it has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. DIY is good but with these equipments; do not take the risk of doing it yourself unless you are a professional. Get all home heating equipments and stationary installed by a qualified professional following all safety rules and manufacturer’s instructions.
Maintain, clean and inspect all your heating equipment including chimneys by a qualified professional.
You can also install smoke detectors in all rooms of your home. These smoke detectors should be tested regularly on monthly basis to ascertain that they are actually working. Also install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Practice a Family Escape Plan with all family members so everyone is well rehearsed on what to do in case of fire or emergency.
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