It’s that time of year when the heat is turned on and many people resort to space heaters and other sources to keep their homes warm. Home heating is the second leading cause of fires in this country, and the American Red Cross has steps people should follow to avoid a fire in their home.
To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends these 5 steps (More home fire safety information available here):
1. All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
2. If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets – never into an extension cord.
3. Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace.
4. Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
5. Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF, LOVED ONES AND YOUR HOME
There are two things everyone can do to increase their chances of surviving a fire and protecting their home.
Create and practice a fire escape plan. Include two ways out of every room. Pick a spot to meet outside. Practice the plan at least twice a year with everyone in your household.
Install and maintain smoke alarms. Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms. Test smoke alarms once a month. Change the batteries at least once a year – if your model requires it.
RED CROSS APPS People can learn how to help prevent a home fire and what to do if one occurs by downloading the Red Cross Emergency App. They can use the app’s Family Safe feature to help stay in touch with loved ones. The First Aid App provides expert advice including what to do for burns, broken bones, and breathing and cardiac emergencies. The apps can be downloaded for free in app stores or at redcross.org/apps.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.