NFPA: Heating equipment is second leading cause of house fires - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

NFPA: Heating equipment is second leading cause of house fires

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With temperatures getting colder, the National Fire Protection Association reminds residents that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of house fires. 

NFPA reports heating equipment is the second-leading cause of U.S. home fires and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths.

The association says more than half of all home heating fire deaths resulted from fires that began when heating equipment was too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.

Lorraine Carli, vice president of NFPA's Outreach and Advocacy division, says space heaters should be placed at least three feet away from anything that can burn, and must be turned off when people leave the room or go to sleep.

According to the association, December, January and February are the leading months for home heating fires. 

The association runs an annual campaign called "Put a Freeze on Winter Fires."

The campaign has put together tips and recommendations for heating homes in the winter:

  • Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Install wood burning stoves following manufacturer's instructions or have a professional do the installation. All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.

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