Winter is fast approaching and we all will be turning up the heat in our houses.
In 2005, heating equipment was the second leading cause of house fires. Heating equipment was responsible for about 62,000 house fires which resulted in roughly 700 deaths and 1,500 injuries.
Here are a few tips on ways to decrease the risk of a heating equipment fire in your home:
Keep or maintain a 3-foot space between all heating equipment such as electric space heaters, kerosene heaters and electric baseboard heaters.
Make sure curtains, furniture, pillows, blankets, clothes, and toys do not touch these heaters. Talk to your children about the importance of this.
Do not use your oven to heat your home.
Inspect and maintain heating equipment regularly for safety.
Portable space heaters should be turned off every time you leave the room and before going to bed.
Have your chimney inspected each year and cleaned if needed.
With our houses closed up and our gas furnaces turned on, carbon monoxide (CO) should also be a concern. It is important to have your gas furnace and gas appliances cleaned and maintained to prevent CO poisoning. If you have a gas furnace or gas appliances, placing a carbon monoxide detector in your home is a good idea.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include:
As the holiday season approaches, it is important not to over load your electrical outlets. Don't plug too many Christmas lights into one outlet; instead use a power strip that has a breaker. Many of us will be putting up a Christmas tree and we need to remember not to put candles on or near the tree.
I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday. Be safe.
If you have any fire safety questions or topics of interest, please contact me at the Norwalk Fire Department at (419)663-6790 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Wallace, the fire prevention officer with the Norwalk Fire Department, writes a monthly column on fire safety.