Did you know that the number of residential fires increases in the winter? In fact, residential fires peak in December, January, and February. Why? Nearly half of American families use alternative heating sources such as space heaters, fireplaces, or wood/coal stoves to stay warm. And, these items lead to a greater risk of residential fires.
We know that you want to turn up the heat in your home, so here are a few tips to help you do so safely!
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater.
- Never use your oven for heating.
- Try using window film insulation on drafty windows instead of things like space heaters to keep your house warm.
- Have heating equipment and cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
- Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all the controls and open doors and windows. Call a gas service person.
And remember… smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.
These fire safety tips are brought to you by Team Firestopper! We’re working to stop fires before they start in your community! For more information or fire tips, visit www.chicagoredcross.org/tfs or www.redcross.org/homefires!
Sources: American Red Cross, U.S. Fire Administration, and the National Fire Protection Association