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How to keep your home safe from fire
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Dear Editor,

We all know that the winter cold can be dangerous. But turning up the heat to combat the chill can also be a fire risk if heating equipment is not properly used.

Heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The latest NFPA research shows that heating equipment was involved in an estimated 62,000 reported home fires in 2005. These fires resulted in roughly 700 deaths and roughly 1,500 injuries and nearly half the fires occurred during the winter months. The majority of home heating fires involve chimneys. Most home heating fire deaths involve space heaters.

Guyton Fire Department is urging all county and city residents to help reduce the number of home heating fires in our community. Here are just a few simple ways you can decrease the risk of a heating fire in your home:

• Keep or maintain a three-foot space between all heating equipment and anything that can burn.

• 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.

David Starling
Guyton Fire Chief