posted on: 11/13/2017

With colder weather on the way, Dover Fire and Rescue urges residents to think about safety when keeping warm.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes, including one- and two-family homes and apartments.

Heating equipment fires accounted for 16 percent of all reported home fires in 2009-2013, which is second only behind cooking, and 19 percent of home fire deaths, second only behind smoking materials.

"When colder weather arrives, we turn to home heating to take the chill out of the air," said Fire Chief Eric Hagman. "But before you do, remember that home heating equipment can be dangerous, and even fatal, if not used and cleaned properly." 

Think safety before warming up your home

posted on: 11/13/2017

With colder weather on the way, Dover Fire and Rescue urges residents to think about safety when keeping warm.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes, including one- and two-family homes and apartments.

Heating equipment fires accounted for 16 percent of all reported home fires in 2009-2013, which is second only behind cooking, and 19 percent of home fire deaths, second only behind smoking materials.

"When colder weather arrives, we turn to home heating to take the chill out of the air," said Fire Chief Eric Hagman. "But before you do, remember that home heating equipment can be dangerous, and even fatal, if not used and cleaned properly."

Space heaters are most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 84 percent of associated deaths, 75 percent of injuries, and 52 percent of direct property damage.

The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths -- 56 percent -- was heating equipment too close to items easily burned, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.

The leading factor contributing to home heating fires -- 30 percent -- is failure to clean heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

"Many of the fires caused by heating equipment are directly related to the change in seasons," Hagman said. "Half of these fires occur in December, January and February."

Hagman added it is not too early to think about home heating safety. Despite the recent warmer weather, colder fall weather will arrive soon.

Here are some home heating safety tips from Dover Fire and Rescue:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

For more information, contact Dover Fire and Rescue at 516-6150.