Remember fire safety tips this winter

Published 11:36 am Thursday, January 7, 2016

Thankfully, no one was injured in a house fire in Brookhaven Tuesday night.

But it’s a good opportunity to be reminded of fire safety, especially now that temperatures have dropped and folks are using heaters.

Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal Mike Chaney says using heating equipment as it is intended greatly cuts the risk of a fire in your home.

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“Too many fires and fire deaths are caused by faulty heating equipment or people using ill-advised methods to stay warm,” Chaney said.

A National Fire Protection Association report shows the leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses or bedding.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office recommends the following heating fire safety tips:

• All heating equipment should be UL approved and cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional prior to being used each year.

• Remember to keep clothes, drapes and anything else combustible at least three feet away from all heating equipment, especially space heaters.

• Inspect the space heater’s power cord for damage, fraying or heat. If the cord inspection reveals any of these issues, the heater should be replaced.

• Never use space heaters while you sleep or in areas where children may be without adult supervision.

•  Do not leave space heaters on when you are away from home.

• Always unplug space heaters when they are not in use. The heater should also be equipped with a tip over shut-off switch.

•  Never use a stove or oven to heat living spaces. Kerosene is a poor choice for heating as it will give off poisonous fumes.

• Have chimney flues cleaned and inspected by qualified personnel.

• Have a spark screen that is age appropriate for all individuals using any area to be heated by a fireplace.

• Burn only approved materials in a fireplace or wood burning stove; never burn paper or trash in a fireplace or wood burning stove.