How To Stay Safe While Staying Warm This Winter
According to The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), heating equipment is the cause of one in every seven reported home fires and one in every five home fire deaths, which makes winter fire safety a very relevant and vital topic.
Heating sources like space heaters, fireplaces, and standard in-home heaters can pose significant fire hazards when in use. In 2016 alone, The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reported that house fires killed 2,735 people and injured an additional 10,750.
Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season; according to the American Red Cross, roughly 47,000 fires take place during winter holidays, resulting in 554 million dollars in property damage.
Winter Fire Safety Tips
To keep your loved ones safe this winter it is important to take necessary precautions. Follow these simple suggestions to help prevent any accidents.
Space heaters need space; no one should sit closer than three feet. Space heaters should also be kept away from curtains, tablecloths, or any other fabric. It is both convenient and safe to get a space heater that has an automatic shut off before reaching a dangerous temperature. Also, they should be refueled outdoors, far away from your home.
Cover the fireplace with a glass or metal screen to help protect sparks from leaving the fireplace. Just like with space heaters, make sure children and pets sit at least three feet away when you light a fire in the fireplace. Double check the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
If you are experiencing a power outage, a portable generator is useful, however many homeowners are unaware that the improper use can be quite risky. Many portable generators run on gasoline, therefore they should not be used near windows or in a garage. Generators can also create dangerous carbon monoxide fumes.
According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of all generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools.
The US Fire Administration confirms that having a working smoke detector in our home can more than double your chance of surviving a house fire.
Test batteries monthly and replace the entire smoke alarm unit every eight to ten years unless otherwise specified by manufacturer’s instructions. Some smoke alarms come equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. If yours doesn’t, reliable carbon monoxide detectors are sold for about twenty dollars.
Candles play a big role in winter fire safety. Between 2011 and 2015 U.S. fire departments responded to about 8,700 home structure fires per year that were caused by candles according to the NFPA.
More than one-third of home candle fires began in the bedroom
Three of every five candle fires started when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations, was too close to the candle.
Be sure to always keep a burning candle in your sight. Keep candles out of the reach of children and pets as well as away from combustible items. Do not move a candle when it is burning.
Plan Your Fire Escape Route
Gather your family and practice a fire escape route to succeed in fire safety. During a fire, temperatures at eye level reach 600F degrees where temperatures on the ground only reach around 100F degrees. Teach your loved ones to crawl to the nearest exit. It is a good idea to practice crawling around and out of the house with your eyes closed. Find two ways to get out of each room just in case one of the exits is blocked by fire or smoke. On average, families have less than three minutes to escape a fire.
How The Carlson Law Firm can help
We care about your safety here at The Carlson Law Firm. If you or someone you love has been injured in a house fire, don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation. Our firm has been protecting the rights of injured victims for over 40 years.
A Carlson team member is available to speak with you 24/7. We care, we can help.
- Written by Jill Fowler