7 tips for heating your home safely this winter

7 tips for heating your home safely this winter

With temperatures dropping and heating bills rising, experts want you to stay informed on how to keep safe when heating your home this winter.

The U.S. Fire Administration reports that nearly 2,500 people die each year from house fires, with more than 12,500 injured.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) almost half of all home fires are during the months of December, January and February. They offer the following seven tips to keep your home and loved ones safe:

  • Ensure that no flammable objects are near your heating equipment, including the furnace, stoves, portable space heaters and fireplaces. Keep items at a distance of three feet.
  • Make a rule that children should stay at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Do not use your oven as a way to heat your home.
  • Defer to skilled professionals to install permanent heating equipment, water heaters and central heating units to ensure code and manufacturer’s instructions are properly followed. Also, ensure heating equipment and chimneys are checked and cleaned each year by a trained professional.
  • Test your smoke alarms each month.
  • Turn off portable heaters when not in the room and when sleeping.
  • To prevent sparks from catching fire in your home, use a durable screen in front of the fireplace. Dispose ashes in a metal container to cool, storing at a safe distance outside of your home.

Not only does the NFPA advise on proper safety of heating equipment, but they also advise to take caution in the kitchen. They report that cooking is the leading cause of fires in the home during the holiday season and all year long.

The NFPA provides the following tips to be safe while cooking:

  • Cook when alert; avoid being sleepy and under the influence of alcohol when cooking on a stove or stovetop.
  • Do not leave the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food.
  • Check your food often when baking, roasting, boiling or simmering and never leave the home. Use a timer as a reminder.
  • Keep all items that may be flammable away from the stovetop, including oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels and curtains.

“Every year, tragically, people are burned, start fires, get an electric shock and even die from carbon monoxide poisoning because they weren’t taking proper precautions,” said Dr. Alex Rosenau, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, in a news release.

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About the Author

Sarah Scroggins
Sarah Scroggins

Sarah Scroggins, health enews contributor, is the director of social media at Advocate Aurora Health. She has a BA and MA in Communications. When not on social media, she loves reading a good book (or audiobook), watching the latest Netflix series and teaching a college night class.