In the aftermath of a number of deadly holiday fires, the National Fire Protection Association, or NFPA, urges the public to take simple steps to protect their family and property from fire. According to NFPA, December, January and February are the top months for home fire deaths.
“Recent fire deaths during this holiday season are tragic reminders that we are at the time of year when home fires peak,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for NFPA. “Taking simple steps to prevent fires and making sure you have working smoke alarms can save lives.”
NFPA suggested ten things you can do this winter to stay safe from fire:
• All heaters need space. 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 with a lid. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
• Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.
• Develop and practice a home escape plan that includes two ways out of each room and an outside meeting place.