Home Heating Safety Tips

Penn Fire wants to remind everyone that fire safety and prevention are especially important during times of cold temperatures.  According to NFPA statistics, space heaters account for about one-third of the home heating fires. The Winter Residential Building Fires report released by USFA, reports an estimated 108,400 winter residential building fires occur annually in the United States, resulting in an estimated average of 945 deaths, 3,825 injuries, and $1.7 billion in property loss.  Cooking and heating are the top causes of fires during cold weather.

Each winter season, home fires increase in part due to cooking and heating fires. Fire safety and injury prevention must not be lost in an effort to stay warm. Stay warm and do so safely.

General Heating Tips

  • Furnaces, fireplaces, and chimneys should be cleaned and checked each year by an appropriate professional prior to using them.  Clear away any clutter from these heating devices, at least 3 feet away.
  • Only use seasoned wood in fireplaces, never use ignitable liquids to start a fire, and do not overload your appliance.
  • The 3-foot rule also applies to furnaces and fireplaces.  No combustible items within 3 feet of these heating appliances.
  • Dispose of fireplace ash into a metal container and store outdoors away from structures on a concrete surface.  Fireplace ash can ignite a fire days after they have been discarded.

Electric Space Heaters

  • Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Heaters are not dryers or tables; don’t dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater.
  • Space heaters need space; keep combustibles at least three feet away from each heater.
  • Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use.
  • Turn off at night or whenever you sleep. – – Never use an extension cord with space heaters – plug directly into a wall socket.
  • Using a kerosene heater???  Never refuel indoors.  Remove the kerosene heater outdoors, turn it off and wait for it to cool down before refueling, and only use the correct type of fuel.