With all the house fires lately, we wanted to remind everyone how to prevent winter fires in your home. Home fires in the winter time occur more than any other season. As you stay cozy and warm during this unusual cold season in Texas, be fire smart! You can help prevent winter weather-related home fires in your community with these safety tips.
Simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
- Keep anything that can burn 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.
- 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 and carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month.
Winter Fire Statistics:
- 890 people die in winter home fires each year.
- $2 billion in property loss occurs each year from winter home fires.
- Winter home fires account for only 8 percent of the total number of fires in the US, but result in 30 percent of all fire deaths.
- Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.
- A heat source too close to combustibles is the leading factor contributing to the start of a winter home fire (15%).
- 5pm to 8pm is the most common time for winter home fires.
Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System 2010-2012, NFPA.org