The following is a press release from the Wilton Fire Marshal, Rocco Grosso.
As the temperature outside drops, Wilton residents take to the indoors to keep safe and warm. What they may not realize is that turning up the heat can increase the risk of home heating fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to an estimated average of 48,530 fires and 500 civilian deaths involving heating equipment each year.
“While these numbers are frightening, nearly all of these fires are preventable,” said Wilton Fire Chief James P. Blanchfield. “We can prevent home heating fires in Wilton by taking some simple precautions and using heating equipment properly.”
The Wilton Fire Department recommends some simple home heating safety tips, to help keep the community safe and warm this winter.
- Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding, or furniture, at least three feet away from heating equipment. Make sure that the heater is placed on a flat level floor and not on a rug or carpet.
- Turn portable heaters off before going to bed or leaving the room.
- Only plug power cords into outlets with sufficient capacity, never into an extension cord.
- Inspect for cracked, frayed or broken plugs or loose connections.
- Have chimneys inspected each year and cleaned if necessary.
- Use a sturdy fireplace screen.
- Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and leave it open until the ashes have cooled. This will prevent the buildup of poisonous gasses in the home.
- Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes outdoors in a metal container with a lid. Hot embers can remain long after a fire is out.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home — when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.
- Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
- Never use an oven to heat your home.
Stay warm and stay safe this winter and, as always, please feel free to call the Wilton Fire Department with any questions at 203.834.6247.