Most of us have probably broken down and turned the heat on by now, but it’s important to remember several fire safety tips.
Jacksonville Fire Chief Rick Kluge says it’s a good idea to get the furnace checked to make sure everything’s running smoothly. With furnace fires, something as simple as a ball of lint trapped in the heating ducts can start a blaze. Kluge says faulty furnace systems could also leak carbon monoxide into a home. He says now is a good time to make sure CO and smoke detectors are working properly.
“Have those installed and maintain them with batteries,” says Kluge. “Have those at least within 15 feet of your sleeping area of your home, so if you have a hallway outside your bedroom make sure there’s a CO detector in that area.”
Kluge adds those with fireplaces need to take precautions before getting cozy next to a roaring fire.
“Have someone check the chimney to make sure there’s not a buildup of Creosote and stuff like that in there,” says Kluge. “Make sure you burn the proper items in there. Don’t burn anything that shouldn’t be in your fireplace. [Only burn] just regular wood. I know some people like to burn other items, or paper and stuff like that, but that can build up inside the chimneys and start a chimney fire. Always make sure you have a screen on the front of the fireplace, too.”
And as for space heaters, Kluge says to be especially careful.
“A lot of people use those around offices or homes,” says Kluge. “Where ever they feel a little cold and you need to make sure you keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from space heaters. Not even just space heaters, but furnaces and fireplaces.”
As a reminder, a space heater should always be turned off when you’re not in the same room is it, and at night while you sleep.
According to FEMA, heating is second only to cooking as the leading culprit behind residential fires in the fall and winter months.