Winter Safety Tips

SpaceHeaterFrom 2010-2012, an average of 45,200 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year and resulted in an annual average of approximately 155 deaths, 625 injuries and $351 million in property loss. Heating was the second leading cause of home fires following cooking. Typically, home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m., with the highest peak between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 30 percent of all home heating fires. Confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners, accounted for 84 percent of home heating fires. Twenty-nine percent of the non-confined home heating fires occurred because the heat source was too close to things that can burn.

Safety Tips to Maintain a Fire-Safe Winter

Space Heaters

  • Keep anything that can burn, such as bedding, clothing and curtains, at least 3 feet away from the heater.
  • Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off, so if it tips over, it shuts off.
  • Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Plug portable heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Only use portable heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.

Fireplaces

  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out.
  • Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
  • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
  • Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least 3 feet from your home.

Wood Stoves

  • Make sure your wood stove is 3 feet from anything that can burn.
  • Do not burn paper in your wood stove.
  • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home.
  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a professional.

Furnaces

  • Have your furnace inspected each year.
  • Keep anything that can burn away from the furnace.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Only use kerosene heaters from a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off, so if it tips over, it shuts off.
  • Refuel your cooled heater outside.