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This winter, keep your home warm and safe by avoiding these heating mistakes.
This winter has not been particularly severe in terms of temperature, but it has been frigid enough to cause some anxiety about the necessity of turning on the heat inside the house. The results of fires can be catastrophic, but they can be avoided by staying away from certain simple blunders.
John D’Alessandro, president of the New York State Firefighters Association, remarked, “We don’t want to have to come to your house.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is the second most common cause of house fires across the country.
It becomes cold very rapidly in Upstate New York, D’Alessandro said. Quickly and frequently, they get used by the public.
More than half (five out of ten) of all fires may be attributed to the use of space heaters.
If a portable space heater were to be pushed over, “you know, the stuff we own nowadays may easily catch fire,” D’Alessandro said. They heat up rapidly and intensely.
Recent law enacted by New York Governor Kathy Hochul mandates that all space heaters sold in the state include a thermostat, an automatic shut off, and certification in an effort to reduce the dangers posed by these appliances.
When purchasing, “make sure it’s a renowned brand,” as D’Alessandro phrased it. Check if Underwriters Laboratories or another reputable testing facility has certified it as safe to use.
In addition to space heaters, there are a few additional maintenance tasks that should be remembered all during the cold season.
Is your gas furnace operational? Would you say that your chimney is free of debris? Test the smoke and CO detectors to make sure they have good batteries.
One on every floor, D’Alessandro claimed. Put as many as you can afford in the basement and any other areas with potential fire hazards.
All sound advice, but as the experts point out, nothing beats taking on responsibility for one’s own actions.
When it comes to fire safety, “if anything doesn’t seem right, don’t do it,” D’Alessandro added.
Fire Safety During the Heating Months
During the heating months, it is important to practice fire safety in order to prevent fires in your home. Some tips for fire safety during the heating months include:
- Keeping flammable materials, such as curtains and furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating sources
- Regularly cleaning and inspecting your heating sources, such as your furnace or fireplace
- Installing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and testing them monthly
- Having a fire escape plan in place and practicing it with your family
- Never leaving burning candles or cigarettes unattended
- Keep heating sources free of debris, dust, and lint.
- Keep the chimney clean and inspected.
- Don’t use ovens or stovetops to heat your home.
- Have an emergency plan in place in case of fire.
By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your home is safe during the heating months.
Teach Your Kids How to Handle a Fire
It is important to teach children how to handle a fire in order to ensure their safety in case of an emergency. Here are some tips for teaching your kids about fire safety:
Explain the dangers of fire: Teach your children about the dangers of fire and why it is important to be aware of potential fire hazards.
Teach them how to identify a fire: Show your children what a fire looks like, how it sounds, and the different types of fires (e.g. kitchen fire, candle fire).
Show them how to use a fire extinguisher: Explain how to use a fire extinguisher and give them a chance to practice using one.
Create a fire escape plan: Draw a map of your home and show your children all the exits. Practice the fire escape plan together and make sure your children know what to do in case of a fire.
Teach them how to call 911: Show your children how to call 911 and explain the importance of staying calm and providing accurate information to the operator.
Keep matches and lighters out of reach: Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children and teach them that they should never play with fire.
Regularly practice fire drills: Practice fire drills regularly so that your children know what to do in case of a real fire.
By teaching your children about fire safety, you can help to ensure that they are prepared and know how to react in case of a fire.