Heater Safety Tips Infographic

As one of our own employees recently learned first-hand, the importance of fire safety and preparedness in the home should never be underestimated. After being told twice to put his book down and go to sleep, our employee’s young son covered the bedside lamp with a t-shirt so that he could continue reading undetected. Luckily the boy was still awake when the shirt started to catch fire, and his father was alerted by the smell of smoke. And, just in case of an absolute worst case scenario, the house is sprinklered. But what if the young boy had already fallen asleep? What if the family didn’t live in a home with a modern fire protection system? What can families do, besides invest in headlamps for their bookworm children, to maintain fire safety in the home?

According to Firerecruiter.com, a resource for firefighters and anyone interested in fire safety, placing a piece of cloth or paper over a lampshade is one of the five most common causes of electrical fires. The list advises against several other common household mistakes:

  • Using appliances with frayed cords;
  • Using a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the appliance ;
  • Using appliances with outdated wiring; and
  • Placing space heaters too close (within three feet of) curtains, clothing, rugs, furniture, and other combustible surfaces

Speaking of space heaters, let’s talk about keeping your home warm and comfortable during the winter months without putting yourself and your family at risk. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the United States Fire Administration (USFA) have teamed up to “put a freeze on winter fires.” Winter time is the leading time of year for fires in the home, according to the NFPA, due to an increase in indoor cooking, holiday decorations, candles, and different heating elements. As part of its campaign, the NFPA posted a checklist of ways to “get ahead of the winter freeze” on its website. These tips include:

  • Have furnaces, chimneys, and vents inspected, serviced, and cleaned. (This is not the time for a do-it-yourself attitude; have a professional take care of it.)
  • Make sure your fireplace screen is in good condition and secure so that it can properly and safely catch sparks.
  • Use dry, seasoned wood for fireplaces and wood stoves.
  • Dispose of ashes in a covered metal container.
  • Use space heaters that have automatic shut-offs (even if you don’t think you’ll forget to turn it off). You can find more space heater safety tips here.
  • Remind children to stay at least three feet away from fireplaces, stoves, and other heating elements.
  • Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on a regular basis.

It’s also important to make sure everyone in the home knows what to do in case of a fire. Teach your kids basic fire safety tips, like staying as low to the ground as possible, touching a door to see if it’s hot before grabbing the doorknob, and knowing at least two ways out of every room in case of an emergency.

We are interested in hearing from you! If you’ve experienced a fire in your home – please share your story with us in the comments section below.