CVFD gives home heating safety tips

Published 7:46 pm Friday, January 4, 2019

The winter season is also fire season, and the Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department is reminding citizens to make sure they follow common safety tips to avoid suffering a house fire this season.

House fires, of course, can happen all year round, but they are more common in the winter because of holiday decorations and heating equipment gone awry. It’s always important to have working smoke detectors in the home, installed in the appropriate places, and maintain them regularly.

“Make sure there’s a working smoke detector in the kitchen, bedroom and hallway,” said Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tim Nunez.

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Heating is the second leading cause of home fires, after cooking. It accounts of about 15 percent of home fires nationwide and 19 percent of home fire deaths, according to the National Fire Protection Association. That was more than 54,000 fires with about 480 deaths, 1,470 injuries and $1.1 billion in property damage.

“I think the biggest thing would be the space heaters,” Nunez said. “A lot of people are using space heaters for warming. You’ve got to have at least three feet around those.”

Space heaters should be kept at least three feet from any combustible material, such as paper or fabrics like upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires — almost 50 percent of them, in fact. Those fires also cause a large proportion — 85 percent — of the deaths associated with home heating fires.

Portable heaters should always be turned off when everyone leaves the room or goes to bed.

People with fireplaces and chimneys should take special care to prevent this popular home feature from becoming a fire hazard, Nunez added.

“You want to have your fireplace cleaned regularly,” he said. “You want to use dry, seasoned wood. When you do that, it produces less smoke.”

The National Fire Protection Association states that a qualified professional should clean and inspect heating equipment and chimneys.

Nunez added that residents should also cover their fireplace with a screen so no embers leave the area. Children and pets should also stay at least 3 feet away from a burning fireplace, he said.

Nunez also reminded residents to have their furnace checked by a licensed professional.

The National Fire Protection Association also reminds residents not to use their oven to heat their home.