2014-02-21 / Community

Heating Safety First

With the continuing cold weather, Rockaway and Broad Channel residents not only need to be extra careful getting around outside, but also need to be safety minded indoors, too.

It is a sobering statistic that heating fires are a leading cause of home fire deaths.

With actually many parts of the country experiencing an ongoing deep freeze, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has issued a renewed warning and guidelines regarding heating equipment fire dangers. “Improper use of heating equipment,” NFPA notes, “can be incredibly dangerous and their misuse is a leading cause of home fire (fatalities).”

According to an NFPA release, half of all home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. In their view altogether half of the home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that started when something that could burn was too close to the heating equipment.

NFPA offers several tips people can follow to ensure a safe and cozy winter:  Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or other space heater.

 Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
 Never use your oven to heat your home.
 Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every
year by a qualified professional.
 Test smoke alarms monthly.
 Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going
to bed.
 Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room and burn only dry, seasoned wood. Allow ashes to cool
before disposing in a metal container, which is kept a safe distance from
the home.
 Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of
carbon monoxide poisoning.
 Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid
carbon monoxide poisoning.
 Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local
codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

The National Fire Protection Association is an international non-profit organization dedicated to fire, electrical, building and life safety. Founded in 1896, NFPA provides and advocates for consensus codes and standards, research, training and education.

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