December, January and February are the leading months for home heating fires and overall the second leading cause of US home fires and fire deaths. More than 65,000 home fires are caused by heating equipment each year. Water heaters, fireplaces and space heaters are some of the biggest culprits.
Here are some tips to keep you and your family safe this winter:
- Inspect and maintain your furnace by a qualified HVAC professional at least once a month.
- Remove all flammable equipment at least 3 feet away from your heating equipment, such as a furnace and fireplace.
- Always turn off portable heaters when you’re not in the room.
- Test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they’re working in case of a house fire.
- If you smell gas in your home, avoid turning on the appliance, leave your home immediately and call your local fire department.
- Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire.
- Frozen pipes? Don't try to thaw them with any open flames. Call the water department instead for assistance and advice.