This winter the American Red Cross would like to remind people to be safe and heat their homes correctly, especially when using alternative heating sources.
Now that the weather is turning cooler from coast to coast, from New York to Las Vegas, the heat is being turned up. More than half of U.S. families reportedly use supplemental heat sources to stay warm. This includes fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters.
If not used as directed, alternative heating sources can be very hazardous. Heat related fires are the second leading cause of fires in homes in the U.S. The Red Cross asks that people use caution and their best judgment and ask that they follow the following safety tips when heating their homes:
- Fireplaces and portable space heaters should never be left unattended. When leaving the house or going to sleep, be sure to turn off heaters and extinguish all fireplace embers.
- Keep flammable objects at least three feet away from any heating source. Potential flammable objects include paper, bedding, curtains, and rugs.
- When using a space heater, be sure to keep it on a level, nonflammable surface away from any bedding or carpeting. Be sure to keep children and pets away from space heaters. Look for models that turn off automatically should the heater fall over.
- Never, ever use a stove, range or oven to heat the home.
- Place a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to catch stray sparks or rolling logs.
- Have your coal or wood stove, fireplace, furnace or chimney inspected by a professional certified in heating repair at least once a year.
Home fires are the biggest disaster threat in the U.S today, weighing out natural disasters like tornadoes and floods. The Red Cross responds to over 70,000 disasters each year. The majority of these disasters are house fires.
Planning ahead of time for an emergency in case of fire is also important. Be sure to have a plan. Each member of the household should know at least two ways to escape from every room in the home. Set up a meeting place outside the home as well. Run household drills and practice escaping at least two times a year, morning and night. Show family members how to stop, drop and roll if clothing should catch fire.
Also, be sure to install smoke alarms. They can save your life.
- Install smoke alarms on each level of the home and in sleeping areas.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
- Replace batteries at least once a year.
- Every ten years, replace the smoke alarm.
If you have questions, we are here to help as much as we can. For heating maintenance, contact Air Zone Cooling & Heating.
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