The seasons are changing. With cooler temperatures, the McKinney Fire Department reminds residents that turning up the heat can be a fire risk if heating equipment is not properly used or maintained.
Heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires in the United States, resulting in roughly 600 civilian deaths, more than 1,600 civilian injuries and almost $900 million in direct property damage. Half the fires occur during between December and February. Most home heating fire deaths, injuries and property damage involve stationary or portable space heaters, including wood stoves.
In 2010, the McKinney Fire Department responded to 25 structure fires attributed to the use of heating equipment, resulting in a dollar loss of more than $199,000. The McKinney Fire Department urges all McKinney residents to help reduce these numbers by following a few simple tips.
–Keep or maintain a three-foot space between all heating equipment and anything that can burn, including curtains, furniture, and bedding.
–Do not use your oven or cooktop to heat your home.
–Inspect and maintain heating equipment regularly. This is best performed by a professional.
–Stationary and portable space heaters should be turned off every time you leave the room and before going to bed.
–Have your chimney professionally inspected each year and cleaned if needed.
–Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. –Interconnect all smoke alarms through the home – when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month. Replace smoke alarm batteries yearly.
— Be sure your home has both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms or combination alarms that include both technologies so that slow, smoldering fires, as well as fast flaming fires, are detected.
–Make sure your home has working carbon monoxide alarms.
–Plan and practice your home fire escape drill.
The McKinney Fire Department encourages all residents to stay warm and safe by following these simple precautions. For more information on heating safety, visit www.mckinneyfire.org.