Home Heating Fires

Home Heating Fires

Heating fires are the second leading cause of home fires. Fixed and portable space heaters, including wood stoves, are involved in 74 percent of fire-related deaths.

General prevention tips

  • Keep all potential sources of fuel – such as paper, clothing, bedding and rugs — at least 3 feet away from space heaters, stoves or fireplaces.
  • Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and furnaces professionally inspected and cleaned once a year.
  • Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

Space heaters

  • When buying a space heater, look for models that shut off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard, nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Portable heaters should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • Be sure everyone in the family knows that drying wet mittens or other clothing over space heaters presents a fire hazard.

Fireplaces

  • If you are purchasing a factory-built fireplace, select one listed by a testing laboratory, and have it installed according to local codes.
  • Inspect fireplaces. Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if the chimney is not properly cleaned.
  • Keep fire in your fireplace by using a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  • Remember to burn only wood — never burn paper or pine boughs, which can float out of the chimney and ignite a neighboring home.
  • Never use flammable liquids in a fireplace.
  • Fireplaces should never be left unattended. Make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving your home.

Wood-burning stoves

  • Be sure your wood or coal stove bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory and meets local fire codes.Follow manufacturers’ recommendations for proper use and maintenance. Check with your local fire department and check local codes before having your wood stove installed.
  • Chimney connections and chimney flues should be inspected at the beginning of each heating season and cleaned if necessary.
  • Burn only wood, and be sure the wood stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and hot coals.
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