Mark Norford with Wyoming State Fire stops by the station to teach us about heating safety, and how to stay careful during the winter months. With winter approaching, half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.
There is something about the winter months and curling up with a good book by the fireplace. But did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? With a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening.
Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one meter) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, woodstove, or portable space heater.• Have a three-foot (one meter) “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 at least once a month.
Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide(CO) poisoning. Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.