Not sure if there are any "This Is Us" fans out there, but if so - recent episodes have really shined a light on something that you never think will happen to you - a home fire. In as little as 4 minutes, your home could go from a cozy shelter for you and your loved ones, to a pile of ash and memories.
The National Fire Protection Association recently released research from 2011-2015 on home fires, specifically those that involved heating equipment. They concluded that heating equipment was to blame for nearly 55,000 home fires that claimed 480 lives and caused $1.1 billion in property damage. This time of year especially we should all take note, as almost half (48%) of the home heating fires took place between the months of December and February.
The main determinants?
- Failure to properly clean heating equipment
- Allowing flammable items too close to heating equipment
- Stationary and Portable Space Heaters
We want to make sure that you aren't next! Follow these tips to ensure that you are taking precautions to prevent a fire at your home this winter season:
1. Develop a "Rule of Three"
Keep any and all flammable items (especially synthetic items) at least three feet away from heating equipment at all times.
2. Make a New Heating Habit
Make a point to turn off all portable heaters anytime you leave a room (even if just for a minute!). Never leave a portable heater on while you are sleeping.
3. Rely on Your Detectors
Equip your home with carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke detectors, and test both of them on a monthly basis to ensure you will be alerted to danger if it arises. Even better, connect your CO and smoke detectors to your monitored alarm system and have peace of mind knowing that you will be alerted to danger or possible destruction 24/7, even when you aren't at home.
4. A Clean Home is a Safe Home
It is imperative each year to have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional prior to use. Be sure to read and follow any guidelines provided by your heater's manufacturer before cleaning.
Interested in learning more about home heating safety? Visit the NFPA's site here.