As the temperature outside drops, Fulton County families take to the indoors to keep cozy and warm. What they may not realize is, turning up the heat can increase the risk of home heating fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), nearly half of all home-heating fires occur during the winter months. On average, NFPA research shows that heating equipment is involved in roughly 70,000 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated loss of more than 600 civilian deaths, almost 1,600 civilian injuries and more than $1 billion in direct property damage.
While these numbers are frightening, nearly all of these fires are preventable. Everyone can reduce the number of home heating fires in their community by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly.
The NFPA and Fulton County Fire Departments recommend some simple, home heating safety tips, so residents can help keep our community safe and warm this winter.
* Have your chimney inspected each year and cleaned if necessary.
* Use a sturdy fireplace screen.
* Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes properly in a metal container.
* Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment.
* Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
* Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and NEVER into an extension cord.
* Inspect for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before using. Replace if necessary.
* Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
* Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
* Never use an oven to heat your home.