Help Prevent Home Heating Fires

The cold is upon us and the Galesburg Fire Department wants to remind its citizens to be safe when trying to stay warm. Consider the following statistics:
Facts about home heating fires
From 2008-2010, an average of 50,100 heating fires in residential buildings occurred in the United States each year and resulted in an annual average of approximately 150 deaths, 575 injuries and $326 million in property loss.
Heating was the second leading cause of all residential building fires following cooking.
Residential building heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m. with the highest peak between 6 and 8 p.m. This 4-hour period accounted for 30 percent of all residential building heating fires.
Residential building heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point during the summer months from June to August.
Confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners, accounted for 87 percent of residential building heating fires.
Thirty percent of the non-confined residential building heating fires occurred because the heat source was too close to things that can burn.
According to Captain Derek Perry, Galesburg’s statistics follow the national trend. "We had 14 reported fires from Jan. to Apr. last year. The numbers are definitely higher during the winter months each year. We are hoping that bringing awareness to the problem, like this press release, can help reduce those numbers."
Follow these heating tips to help prevent winter fires and to stay safe this winter season:
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from all heat sources including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, space heaters or candles.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.
  • Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Within Galesburg City limits, the Municipal Code 150.133 says "There shall be no unvented space heaters."  This includes kerosene heaters or any unvented heater supplied by gas used inside.


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