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6 More Weeks of Winter? Be Warm, Be Safe as Fire Danger in the Home Increases

What time of year should you be most aware of fire threats in your home?

The groundhog is forecasting 6 more weeks of winter. That means six more weeks of fireplaces and wood stoves, space heaters, overworked furnaces and, according to the National Fire Prevention Association, increased fire danger.

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I’ve never been certain that as of groundhog day there aren’t in fact, six more weeks of winter anyway. The whole groundhog thing just baffles. What is crystal clear to me is that the possibility of a fire in your home intensifies during heating season.

I know that here in Arizona we’re all looking forward with pleasure to a few more weeks of winter. In most of the rest of the country however, Spring can’t come fast enough. Though you might love to hurry along into warmer weather, it’s what keeps you warm right now that poses a risk to your health and safety. Slow down and take a moment to double-check the integrity of your home heating sources.

Something you can do right now to promote protection of your home and family, test all of your smoke detectors.

Staying Warm and Safe as Heating System Fires Are on the Rise.

By John Voket

Electric Heater on wood floorWith the heat turned on and fireplaces roaring to ward off the winter chill, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) reminds us that heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths.
In fact, half of home heating equipment fires are reported between December and February. But, with proper precautions, they can be prevented.

Here are some simple steps from the NFPA that can prevent most heating-related fires from happening:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment, according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect heating equipment and chimneys every year.
  • Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
  • Check with the local fire marshal’s office before putting a fuel-fed space heater in an enclosed space. Most unvented space heaters are prohibited by local and state fire codes and ordinances. As portable ethanol burning fireplaces have grown in popularity, the NFPA is taking specific steps to reinforce safety practices related to these appliances.
  • Be sure to store ethanol fuel in a closed container, away from the fireplace and out of the reach of children. Since it may not be easy to see an ethanol fuel flame, always close the lid or use a snuffer to be sure the flame is extinguished before refueling into a cooled fireplace.
  • Make sure to only use fuel made specifically for the fireplace.

Get more fire safety tips at

Check with your homeowner’s insurance company in advance of a disaster, to determine what damage is covered and under what circumstances you may be held liable.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2018. All rights reserved.

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Bill Salvatore / Arizona Elite Properties
Residential Sales, Marketing, and Property Management

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