Staying Warm The Safe Way

Staying warm, especially during the winter season, is something many of us take for granted. We walk into our home, turn on our preferred heating method and simply forget the numerous dangers that could await as we get rid of the chill that set into our bones during the day. Did you know that heating equipment is the second most common cause of residential fire fatalities in the United States?

Loose and frayed wires and other hazards don't have to put a damper on your winter comfort though; there are several simple steps you can take to easily set your mind at ease.

Flammable Materials & Heat Sources Don't Mix

The majority of heating fires that spread past where they started are caused by objects or materials that were placed too closely to the source of heat. This can include papers, chemical solutions, and even clothing and other materials like curtains left in the vicinity of a fireplace, space heater or even an opening heating register. Before turning on heat sources or retiring for the night double check to ensure that any flammable materials are cleared away and store chemicals in an area out of the line of heat.

Preventative Maintenance Is A Safety Measure

Many residential heating fires can be attributed to improper maintenance of heating sources. Those with fireplaces should make sure that chimneys are cleaned regularly and checked for obstructions and debris that may easily ignite, and that screens cover the entirety of the fireplace's opening. Wood stoves should be regularly inspected for cracks and other defects that may allow ignited materials to escape and cause a fire. Home heating units should be checked and maintained according to the manufacturer's directions, with any problems being investigated promptly by an HVAC technician.

Give Your Space Heater Space

Space heaters account for most fire-related deaths. If you must use a space heater, opt for one with emergency shut off in case it's knocked over, especially if it will be placed on top of a flammable surface. Don't place it near flammable materials and regularly check for cracks, cord damage, and malfunctions.

We know that your safety and the safety of your family is one of your top priorities, and we're here to help. Contact the Los Angeles County Fire Department Foundation for more information on all of your fire and life safety questions.