Tips for Heating Your Home Safely
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January & February. Many of these fires can be prevented by following a few basic safety tips. The Wrightsville Beach Fire Department offers the following recommendations for safely heating your home this winter.
Portable space heaters are involved in 32% of heating system fires and 73% of heating system fire deaths. The most common cause of space heater fires is placing combustible material too close to the heater.
Avoid using portable space heaters! If you must use a space heater, please observe the following safety precautions.
All Space Heaters
Space heaters need space! Keep combustible materials (including curtains, bedding, furniture, books, magazines, etc.) at least three feet away from a space heater! Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater.
Turn off the space heater when you leave the room or when you go to bed.
Electric Space Heaters
Choose a heater that will turn off automatically if it tips over. Check to ensure the heater has a thermostat control mechanism.
Plug the power cord into an outlet that is properly rated for the heater. Never use as extension cord with a space heater. Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use. Do not use the heater if the power cord is frayed or damaged.
Kerosene Space Heaters
Never fuel a kerosene heater inside your home; take it outside away from combustible materials. Be careful not to overfill the heater. Use only crystal clear K-1 kerosene to fuel the heater. Never use gasoline or camp stove fuel. Never attempt to move or fuel a heater while it is lit. Use kerosene heaters in a well ventilated room.
Many heating fires involve improper use of fireplaces and woodstoves.
All fireplaces and woodstoves must be installed in strict compliance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Be sure to keep all combustibles at least three feet away from fireplaces and woodstoves. Use a heavy duty fireplace screen that covers the entire fireplace hearth to catch flying sparks. Never leave any fire unattended.
During normal use, fireplaces and woodstoves build up flammable creosote in their chimneys. Two-thirds of chimney fires are due to dirty chimneys. To prevent a chimney fire, have your fireplace or wood stove professionally cleaned and inspected before each heating season.
Check to make sure the damper is open before starting a fire. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in a fireplace. These materials are difficult to control, and they cause heavy creosote buildup. Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
Dispose of fireplace ashes properly. Hot ashes can smolder for several days, so never place ashes in cardboard, paper or plastic containers. Put ashes in a closed metal container away from your home. Soak hot ashes with water. Keep ashes away from combustible materials including decks, porches and pine straw landscape bedding.
Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and near every sleeping area and in every bedroom. A working smoke alarm doubles your chances of surviving a home fire.
All fuel-burning heating devices are potential sources of toxic carbon monoxide (CO). To protect your family from CO poisoning, install a CO detector near each sleeping area. Test smoke alarms and CO detectors monthly, and replace the batteries at least once a year.
Wrightsville Beach Fire Department
Office: (910) 256-7920