As witnessed this past week with the trailer fire that destroyed a Great Bend man’s home, stay warm inside when it is cold outside can be dangerous. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association tells us that heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February.
Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
• Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
• Test smoke alarms monthly.
None of these are difficult, yet they can prevent a tragedy. Our homes are our refuges from the cold. Let’s keep them safe.