Home Heating Safety Tips - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Home Heating Safety Tips

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WMDT 47 News - Chestnuts may be roasting on an open fire, but you don't want your house to start cooking too.  As the temperature drops and more people start using their fire places and heaters to warm up the house, the likelihood of homes catching on fire increases.  According to the US Fire Administration, nearly 40% of residential fires happen during the winter months.


Before heating up the logs in the fireplace, make sure to clean out your chimney.  Things like old ash from the year before, leaves, and even nesting birds can be a fire hazard.  Another thing to look out for: space heaters.


Kirby Travers of the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office says "they're okay to use if you use them the right way."  Be sure to keep the heater flat on the floor, and away from flammable materials like furniture, clothing, and holiday decorations.  And even though your favorite chair may not be near an outlet to plug up the heater, space heaters should never be used with an extension cord, it can overheat and cause a fire.

Here are more tips from the Maryland State Fire Marshal:

* Use properly sized fireplace screens or enclosures.

* Never use a flammable liquid to start a fire.

* When disposing of cooled ashes, do not use paper or plastic containers to remove them, instead use a metal container. Ashes will insulate hot embers long after the fire is considered out.

* Make sure all fuel burning stoves are installed according to local fire codes and manufacturer's instructions.

* Have your furnace inspected and serviced annually.

* Check portable electric heaters for frayed/damaged wires and ensure they are clean and placed on a flat level surface. Use only "listed" by an approved testing laboratory equipment and follow manufacturer's instructions.

* If you use kerosene fuel fired heaters, use only "K-1" kerosene fuel. Never fill the unit inside, remove it to the exterior after it has cooled before refueling.

* Open a window enough to provide proper ventilation.

* Keep combustibles (furniture, curtains, clothing, paper goods, etc.), at least three feet from all heat sources.

* Fuel burning appliances can produce the deadly, tasteless and odorless gas known as carbon monoxide. Install and maintain CO alarms inside your home to provide an early warning of dangerous carbon monoxide levels.

* Always turn off portable heating equipment when leaving the room for extended periods. Portable heaters should never be operated unattended.


Officials say the most important thing is to never leave open flames or other heating sources unattended.  That's the best way to keep your home fire free.

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