According to the National Fire Protection Association, over half of all house fires occur in December, January, and February. As you might presume, many of the risks are related to heating equipment and its operation. Today, I’m giving away tips to help you reduce the risk of a house fire. Knock on wood, because there are no guarantees to avoiding house fires.
- Mind the space heater. Space heaters can be great to fill the heat void in a room or under a desk, but please mind the risks. Space heaters account for approximately 33% of home heating fires and four out of every five home heating deaths. Remember, don’t leave space heaters unattended (even while sleeping), don’t place them near combustibles, and please clean them regularly. Space heaters should really only be used as a temporary solution.
- Change your air filter regularly. It might not be the most obvious fire hazard, but a clogged furnace filter can cause your entire HVAC system to overheat, increasing your risk of a home heating fire. Eliminate this worry by purchasing a subscription from a company like FilterSnap, which will deliver air filters directly to your door at preordained intervals. You’ll be keeping you, your home, and your family safer by doing so.
- Check that chimney. At least once every year, you should have your chimney cleaned and inspected. A lot can happen between spring and fall when the chimney is not in use. Any sort of obstruction that finds its way into the chimney can be a fire hazard. 87% of heating-related residential fires are due to problems with chimneys, flues, or fuel burners.
- Check your smoke detector. Easy to say, but you should do this once per year anyway. What better time than the beginning of the year when your risk of a house fire is greater? Make sure the batteries are charged and the equipment is working properly. The death rate per 100 reported fires is more than twice as high in homes with no or no working smoke alarms.
House fires are not common, but they are devastating. Investing in the right habits and behavior can help mitigate your risk, but nothing can eliminate it entirely. Be smart, especially at this time of year when home heating fires are at their peak.
Stay warm, and if you have any other suggestions to reduce the risks of house fires, send them my way: firstname.lastname@example.org.