As the weather cools down with the arrival of fall, the risk of residential fires goes up. Heating is the second leading cause of home fires, accounting for 14 percent of all residential fires across the nation. In many cases, these tragic events can be avoided by taking a few simple precautions.
The following recommendations have been made by the United States Fire Administration (USFA):
- Hire a qualified professional to clean and inspect your furnace, chimneys, and other heating equipment on an annual basis.
- Only use heating equipment that has been approved by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Maintain adequate space around all heating equipment. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heat sources.
- When using space heaters, plug them directly into electrical outlets rather than using extension cords or power strips.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms and smoke detectors in your home. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for placement of these alarms, and replace the batteries at least once per year.
- An estimated 50,100 heating fires in residential buildings occur each year in the United States.
- Heating is the second leading cause of all home fires; the leading cause of home fires is cooking.
- Fires confined to chimneys, flues, or fuel burners account for 87 percent of home fires.
- Thirty percent of nonconfined heating fires occur because the heat source is too close to combustibles.