Safety tips for using heating equipment this Winter
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - As temperatures begin to drop, many turn on their heat to keep their homes cozy. Fire officials across say hundreds of fires are traced to heating devices and generators every year.
The National Fire Association said heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in American Homes. The City of Lufkin responded to four fires due to space heaters last year. Lufkin fire chief Jesse Moody said space heaters are meant to only be a short term solution, and should not be plugged in for extended periods of time.
“People leave them going, they’re not supposed to be left going at night. And so when the fire occurs at night people are asleep so that relies on a functioning smoke detector to wake the residents. If they don’t wake up, there’s a high probability of a fatality occurring,” Moody said.
81 percent of home heating fire deaths involved stationary or portable space heaters according to The National Fire Protection Association. Moody said a lot of the time, the fires are preventable.
“Sometimes it’s equipment failure that no one can prevent, but generally it’s from misuse of the equipment. A space heater is supposed to be plugged into the wall no farther than three feet from the space heater. It’s supposed to be turned off when you’re not at home or not monitoring it and not left running at night,” Moody said.
Moody said for propane heaters make sure all objects surrounding the heater are at least 3 feet away.
“We only have a few minutes to get to a structure fire before everything is lost. Under five minutes is ideal. And when the fire occurs at night it causes a delay when we’re notified. So often the fire is actually burning more than five minutes before we’re even notified,” Moody said.
Moody said to only use approved heaters and to follow the directions and warnings issued by the device manufacturer.
“If you rely on a portable generator, make sure that it is well away from your home so that the carbon monoxide of the generator does not come into your home. Every year we have people get carbon monoxide poisoning from the generators,” Moody said.
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