Fire Officials Urge Safe Use of Heating Equipment Amid Cold Temperatures

HYANNIS – With heavy snow battering the region last weekend and signs of more cold temperatures on the way, fire prevention officials are urging residents to use home heating equipment responsibly this season. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, home heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and the third-leading cause of home fire deaths and direct property damage. 

They also said an average of 45,800 home heating fires occurred between 2015 and 2019, reading to an estimated 480 civilian deaths, 1,350 injuries and $1 billion in property damage.

“During the coldest months of the year, home heating equipment kicks into high gear,” said Lorraine Carli, Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. 

“Understanding when and where home heating fires happen is critical, so that people can take the steps to minimize associated risks and safely heat their homes.” 

The association said that space heaters are often responsible for fires, accounting for more than two in five fires and about 80 percent of all deaths and injuries. 

“Space heaters can be effective tools for heating smaller areas, but they need to be used with caution and care,” said Carli. 

She highlighted the fire that occurred recently in Bronx, N.Y., which reportedly began with a malfunctioning space heater and resulted in 17 fatalities.

The association urges residents to keep flammable objects away from sources of heat, a tip that cuts down on fire risk substantially. 

They also said that residents should have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year, use the right kind of fuel in heat sources, and keep children at least three feet away from heat sources.

Those with fireplaces are asked to keep a sturdy screen in front of them to stop sparks from igniting objects in the room. 

The association also highlighted the importance of properly working smoke and CO2 alarms.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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