Extremely cold temperatures across most of the country means plenty of space heaters are working overtime. Please pay close attention to your space heater’s surroundings. Check out these few tips below for more info.
Facts about home heating fires
- From 2013-2015, an average of 45,900 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year. These fires caused an annual average of approximately 205 deaths, 725 injuries and $506 million in property loss.
- Heating was the second leading cause of home fires after cooking.
- Home 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 four-hour period accounted for 29 percent of all home heating fires.
- Home heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point from June to August.
- Confined fires — fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners — accounted for 75 percent of home heating fires.
- Twenty-nine percent of the nonconfined home heating fires — fires that spread past the object of origin — happened because the heat source (like a space heater or fire place) was too close to things that can burn
For most, the kitchen is the heart of the home, especially during the holidays. From testing family recipes to decorating cakes and cookies, everyone enjoys being part of the preparations.
So keeping fire safety top of mind in the kitchen during this joyous but hectic time is important, especially when there’s a lot of activity and people at home. As you start preparing your holiday schedule and organizing that large family feast, remember, by following a few simple safety tips you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep yourself and your family safer from fire.
Thanksgiving by the numbers
- Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by the day before Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. and Christmas Eve.
- In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,760 home cooking fires on Thanksgiving, the peak day for such fires.
- Unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths.
- Cooking equipment was involved in almost half of all reported home fires and home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.
Lieutenant Gabriel Balsamo
You and your family are fast asleep when the smoke alarm sounds: Do you know what to do?
October 9, 2017 — Consider this scenario: It’s 2 o’clock in the morning. You and your family are fast asleep when you awaken to the smoke alarm sounding and the smell of smoke. What do you do? If you and your family don’t have a plan in place, it could jeopardize your safety, or even prove deadly.
In a typical home fire, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. That’s why home escape planning is so critical in a fire situation. It ensures that everyone in the household knows how to use that small window of time wisely.
“Developing and practicing a home escape plan is like building muscle memory,” said David Cone, Chief of the North Madison Fire Company. “That pre-planning is what everyone will draw upon to snap into action and escape as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.”
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!” works to better educate the public about the critical importance of developing a home escape plan and practicing it. The North Madison Fire Company is working in coordination with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the official sponsor of the Fire Prevention Week for more than 90 years, to reinforce those potentially life-saving messages. Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14, 2017. We will be ending the week with our annual open house on Sunday, October 15 from 11-2pm!
“Home escape planning is one of the most basic but fundamental elements of home fire safety, and can truly make the difference between life and death in a fire situation,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
In support of Fire Prevention Week, Lt. Balsamo encourages all Madison households to develop a plan together and practice it. A home escape plan includes working smoke alarms on every level of the home, in every bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. It also includes two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window, with a clear path to an outside meeting place (like a tree, light pole, or mailbox) that’s a safe distance from the home.
NFPA and the North Madison Fire Company offer these additional tips and recommendations for developing and practicing a home escape plan:
- Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
- Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
- Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
- Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
- Close doors behind you as you leave — this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
- Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
For more information about Fire Prevention Week or to learn more about this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out” and home escape planning, visit firepreventionweek.org.
More fires happen in the winter months than any other time of the year. During the cold months, we spend more time indoors and use different methods to heat our homes.
It is important to keep fire safety in mind when you are heating your home.
If you are using a portable heater:
- Make sure the heater has an automatic shut-off so if it tips over, it shuts off.
- Keep anything that can burn such bedding, clothing and curtains at least 3 feet from the heater.
- Plug portable heaters directly into wall outlets. Never use an extension cord or power strip.
- Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
If you are using a fireplace:
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out and starting a fire.
- Do not burn paper in your fireplace.
- Before you go to sleep or leave your home put the fire out completely.
- Put ashes in a metal container with a lid. Store the container outside at least 3 feet from your home.
If you are using a wood stove:
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned each year by a professional.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from the stove.
- Do not burn paper in your wood stove.
- Before you go to sleep or leave your home, put the fire out completely.
When heating your home, you need to be aware of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the “invisible killer” because it’s a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the U.S. die each year due to accidental CO poisoning from generators or fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fire places. Breathing CO at high levels can kill you.
Put CO alarms inside your home to provide an early warning of increasing CO levels. These alarms should be placed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
As always, make sure you have a smoke alarm on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test your alarms every month. Have a home fire escape plan and practice your plan at least twice a year. Make sure everyone knows how to escape your home if there is a fire.Read more
It is fun to decorate for the winter holidays, but holiday decorations can increase your risk of a home fire. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart.
When you’re decorating with live trees, make sure you keep the tree watered. If a dry tree comes in contact with a flame, it can catch on fire in fewer than 10 seconds and spread quickly throughout your home. Take a minute to watch this video which shows the difference between a dry and watered tree, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZk4vIXCnc8
Here are a few tips to keep your holiday decorations bright and safe:
- Choose the freshest tree you can find. Check to see if the needles stay when you gently pull on a branch.
- After making a fresh cut on the trunk and placing the tree in a stand, fill the stand’s water basin. Make sure you water your tree every day. Keep electrical cords and lights away from the water.
- Choose holiday decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
- Choose holiday lights with a label from an approved testing laboratory, such as UL, and throw away any frayed or damaged light strands.
- Place your tree at least three feet from heat registers, space heaters, and fireplaces.
- If you decorate with candles, make sure they are at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
- Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
Learn more at USFA website.Read more
As you plan your Thanksgiving menu don’t forget about fire safety.
Did you know Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires? The number of home fires double on Thanksgiving. So, let’s add a pinch of fire safety to the menu.
Keep these safety tips in mind as you prepare your meal.
If you are roasting your turkey, make sure you set a timer. This way, you won’t forget about the bird as you watch the parade or football.
If you are frying your turkey,
- Use a fryer with thermostat controls. This will ensure the oil does not become over heated.
- Thaw your turkey completely. Ice on the bird will cause the oil to splatter.
- Don’t overfill the pot with oil. If you do, the oil will overflow when you add the turkey causing a fire hazard.
- Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the fryer.
- Also, always use the fryer outdoors.
Stuffing and Potatoes:
Stand by your stove when you are boiling your potatoes or frying onions for stuffing. It is best to stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling or broiling. If you are in the kitchen, it is easier to catch spills or hazardous conditions before they become a fire.
- Keep the area around the stove clear of packaging, paper towels, and dish cloths; anything that can burn.
- Be sure to clean up any spills as they happen.
- Be prepared. Keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case you need to smother a pan fire.
- Turn pot handles towards the back of the stove so you don’t bump them.
By following these safety tips, you will have a delicious and fire safe Thanksgiving. Let the firefighters have dinner with their families, not yours.Read more