Don't be a heating fire statistic

January 10, 2014 08:25 AM
The frigid temperatures that have gripped much of the nation have led many of us to crank up the heat. As we try to stay warm in what are brutal conditions for many of us, let’s stay safe as well. According to NFPA, December, January and February are the leading months for home fires as reflected in their most recent report.   In 2011, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 home fires in the U.S., causing 400 deaths and more than 1,500 injuries.

Galesburg Fire Captain Derek Perry states, "The extremely low temperatures have caused many to use space heaters in their home for additional warmth and cost savings. Although acceptable, they are a major contributing factor in residential fires throughout the U.S.  Many of these fires can be prevented."  GFD urges residents to be safe and follow these important safety tips provided by the US Fire Administration when trying to stay warm in these cold temperatures.


Generator Safety

Follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines when using generators.

Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.

Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.

Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or "backfeed" can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.


Heating Safety

Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything that can catch fire at least three feet away.

Make sure your alternative heaters have "tip switches" that are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.

Kerosene heaters may not be legal in your area and should only be used where approved by authorities.

Only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer and follow suggested guidelines.

Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot. Refuel heaters only outdoors.

Make sure wood stoves are properly installed and at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.

Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets, furniture, or other items that can catch fire.

Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.


and Remember...

Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.

Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home's electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.

If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow, ice, and debris for easy access by the fire department.


Access additional Holiday fire safety tips from the United States Fire Administration at:


For additional information contact the Galesburg Fire Department at 309/345-3757.



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