Tis the Season to Reassess Your Fire Safety Awareness

It seems that winter is springing up all over. It’s that time of the year again to give thanks, remember loved ones, celebrate the old and the new—but something as seasonally routine as just turning on the heat can quickly develop into much more.
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that half of all home heating fires are reported during the winter months of December, January and February. In fact, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire fatalities. Many people don’t realize how important it is to have a qualified professional inspect and clean chimneys and furnaces every year. A lot can happen to heating equipment over months of disuse, and most of us take for granted how well our heaters were functioning during the prior winter.

Keeping Your Family Safe AND Warm

Having a qualified professional install any stationary space, water, or central heating units is also a must—as is adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Moreover, a surprising number of people ignore manufacturers’ guidelines when it comes to the type of fuel to use in fuel-burning space heaters. Many also downplay the importance of a working smoke detector, a working carbon monoxide (CO) detector and a sturdy screen on the fireplace. The detectors should be tested monthly, and changing the batteries is encouraged when changing your clocks twice a year for daylight savings time. Proper use is essential to fire prevention. For example, flammable materials should be kept at least three feet away from any furnace, space heater, fireplace or wood stove. Children should also observe this zone around all heating equipment and stay three feet away. Ovens should not be used to heat a house, and portable space heaters should never be left unattended. If you have a fireplace, be sure ashes are cool before placing them in a metal container, and keep this container at least ten feet away from any buildings. If you or someone you know has been injured in a fire that may have been caused by a heating source, contact the Johnson Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

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