With winter here, this week state Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis offered fire safety precautions to take when families use their space heaters, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries and December, January and February are the peak months for heating fires.
“Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes, causing nearly 500 deaths and $1 billion in direct property damage annually. As temperatures begin to drop, Floridians must be especially aware of the fire dangers associated with space heaters, as they’re the equipment most often involved in home heating fires. By following a few simple heating safety tips and precautions, you can avoid accidents and keep your family safe and warm during the winter months,” Patronis said.
The state CFO’s office offered the following Winter Heating Fire Safety Tips:
1. Keep objects away from heaters and fireplaces. Keep flammable objects 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.
2. Keep fireplaces and chimneys clean. Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
3. Never leave a fire unattended. Remember to extinguish fireplaces and turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
4. Do not use your oven to heat your home. Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to your local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Use Carbon Monoxide detectors. Since carbon monoxide can be produced by a number of fuel-burning devices, it’s important to have carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home. This will ensure every person in the home can hear and be alerted to the emergency.