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Keeping safe and warm this winter
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As the temperature outside drops, families take to the indoors to keep safe and warm. What they may not realize is that turning up the heat can increase the risk of home heating fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home-heating fires occur during the winter months. On average, NFPA research shows that heating equipment is involved in almost 70,000 reported U.S. home structure fires per year, with associated loss of roughly 600 civilian deaths, more than 1,600 civilian injuries and almost $900 million in direct property damage.
“While these numbers are frightening, nearly all of these fires are preventable,” said Effingham Fire and Rescue Lt. Hannah Jenkins. “We can reduce the number of home heating fires in our community by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly.”
NFPA and local fire departments recommend some simple home heating safety tips, so residents can help keep our community safe and warm this winter.
• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
• Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
• Have your chimneys inspected each year and cleaned if necessary, and use a sturdy fireplace screen.
• Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container.
• Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
• Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
• Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord. Inspect for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.
• Never use an oven to heat your home.
For fuel assistance, contact the National Energy Assistance Referral Line at 866-674-6327 or visit