As the temperature drops outside, homeowners turn up the heat inside. And sometimes that means using devices such as space heaters that increase the risk of fire danger.
That risk is already high. The National Fire Protection Association reports that in 2014, one home structure fire was reported every 86 seconds in the United States. Structure fires caused nearly 3,000 deaths, more than 13,000 injuries and $9.8 billion in property damage that year.
To safeguard yourself, Pillar to Post offers the following safety tips:
- Check all electrical devices — including lamps, appliances and electronics — for frayed cords, loose or broken plugs and exposed wiring.
- Never place electrical wires under carpet or rugs.
- Hire a professional chimney sweep every year to clean the chimney. This prevents the buildup of creosote, which can cause flash fires inside the chimney.
- Keep space heaters away from anything that might catch fire, including beds, curtains, and any papers, and never leave space heaters unattended, particularly where a child or pet could knock them over.
- Place candles in stable holders and far away from curtains and other flammable items, as well as drafts, pets and children. Never leave candles unattended, even briefly.
- Be sure batteries are working in smoke detectors, and that smoke detectors are installed in every level of the house and near every sleeping area. According to Pillar to Post, nearly 60% of home fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
- Have an escape plan in case of fire and discuss this plan with all family members.