The cold weather is on its way and everyone will soon be trying to heat their homes. Did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? MFRD wants to reduce the chances of it happening to you or your family!
Follow these simple steps to stay warm and safe during the cold seasons:
• Keep anything that is flammable or combustible at least three-feet away from heating equipment. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, and portable space heaters.
• 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 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.
• Wood burning stoves should be installed using the manufacturer’s instructions or by a professional. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
• Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call the fire department at 615-893-1311.
• Make sure your 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.
According to Assistant Fire Marshal Tracy Summar, MFRD has experienced many cases of fires that started due to improper refueling of kerosene heaters. “Kerosene heaters should be refilled outdoors and only when they have cooled completely,” Summar said.
With these safety tips and precautions, you can prevent most heating fires from happening.
MFRD also wants to make sure that your home is equipped with smoke alarms. The smoke alarms in your home should be tested monthly and batteries should be replaced at least every six months. If you aren’t sure if you have working smoke alarms in your home or enough smoke alarms, contact the Fire Administration Office at 615-893-1422 Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:30 pm to take advantage of MFRD’s free smoke alarm program, Project SAFE “Smoke Alarms for Everyone.”