Despite record-high temperatures this summer, home heating issues have remained a hazard throughout the United States. In June 2012, a handful of heater-sparked fires resulted in devastating damages for families in Georgia, North Carolina and New York. Safety and health organizations are stressing extra heating safety for this unusually dry season. Scott Conner, Senior Vice President for Preparedness and Health Safety at the Red Cross said that homeowners can take steps to minimize the risk of fire resulting from home heating devices.
Alternative Heaters – How to Put Safety First
When using an alternative heating source, make sure to emphasize safety even more.
- Never use a stove or oven as a heat source.
- Be alert. Do not leave alternative heaters unattended. Space heaters provide adequate heat and reduce heating costs. Make sure to keep these alternatives away from children, animals and loose items that can easily catch fire.
- Keep fuel sources away from any source of heat to prevent ignition.
Being prepared for accidents of any kind is essential. Install smoke alarms on each floor of your home. Check the batteries each month and replace when needed. Modern smoke alarms often include carbon monoxide detectors. If your home is older, install these detectors that will help identify unwanted gas in the home. Once your home is secured, make sure to prepare an escape plan and practice it with your family. Preparing for unlikely fires will help keep your family safe in case of emergency. Remember: even if you are prepared, make sure you are still taking the needed precautions to prevent fires in the home.
- Lower the heating temperature and wear warmer clothing.
- Close off rooms that aren’t in use for the cold season.
- Purchase curtains, blinds or insulation plastic to keep heat in and keep cold out. This step will save you money as well as help prevent over-heating your home.
- If your home has a wood-burning fireplace, you can use this as a heat source. Make sure to never leave it on unattended.
- Set ceiling fans to blow air down. This will keep heat from escaping.
- Cover hot water heaters with insulation.
- Open cabinet doors to prevent frozen pipes in bathrooms and kitchens.
Preparing your home for cold weather will keep your family warm without putting anyone in danger. Heaters become dangerous only when homeowners and renters neglect safety. Keep space heaters out of reach of children, insulate your home and make sure your smoke detectors are ready for action. Regularly checking your home safety measures can prevent devastating losses. Don’t stop at heat safety. Make a safety checklist for your home and check it off regularly to not only keep your children safe but to teach them about home safety essentials!