Submitted by Stacie Durham, McKinney Fire Department
As the temperature outside drops, area residents take to the indoors to keep safe and warm. Unfortunately, turning up the heat increases the risk of home heating fires.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home-heating fires occur during the winter months. Research shows that heating equipment is involved in more than 60,000 reported U.S. home structure fires per year, contributing to more than 500 civilian deaths, more than 1,500 civilian injuries and roughly $900 million in direct property damage per year.
“While these numbers are frightening, nearly all of these fires are preventable,” said Stacie Durham, Public Information Officer for the McKinney Fire Department. “We can reduce the number of home heating fires by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly.”
The McKinney Fire Department recommends some simple home heating safety tips to help keep our community safe and warm this winter.
Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month by pressing the test button. Change batteries at least once a year; or, use 10-year lithium batteries. Be sure your home has both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms or combination
ionization and photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms. With both types of alarm, you have a better chance of surviving both slow, smoldering fires and fast-flaming fires. Practice your home fire escape drill. Make sure everyone in the home knows the designated meeting place.
• Have your chimney inspected each year by a qualified professional and cleaned if
• Use a sturdy fireplace screen.
• Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container.
• Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, curtains, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
• Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
• Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension
• Inspect for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.
• Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
• Never use an oven to heat your home.
For fuel assistance, contact the National Energy Assistance Referral Line at 866-674-6327 or visit www.energynear.org.
The McKinney Fire Department is your partner for preventing fires, falls, burns and injuries. For safety tips on a variety of topics visit the Life Safety Section at www.mckinneyfire.org. For additional information or to schedule an educational program or home visit call 972-547-2850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.