The weather is certainly starting to cool off and though it’s a little early right now, it will soon be time to break out those space heaters! Let’s talk about keeping your home warm and comfortable during the fall and winter months without putting yourself and your family at risk. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths. We saw that this year here in Georgia when in February, a 55-year old man was killed in a fire that started after he unknowingly placed his space heater too close to the recliner he fell asleep on. So, what can you do to keep your family safe and warm? Here are a few tips:

  • Have furnaces, chimneys, and vents inspected, serviced, and cleaned. This is not the time for a do-it-yourself attitude; have a professional take care of it.
  • Make sure your fireplace screen is in good condition and secure so that it can properly and safely catch sparks.
  • Use dry, seasoned wood for fireplaces and wood stoves.
  • Dispose of ashes in a covered metal container.
  • Use space heaters that have automatic shut-offs (even if you don’t think you’ll forget to turn it off).
  • Remind children to stay at least three feet away from fireplaces, stoves, and other heating elements.
  • Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on a regular basis.

It’s also important to make sure everyone in the home knows what to do in case of a fire. Teach your kids basic fire safety tips, like staying as low to the ground as possible, touching a door to see if it’s hot before grabbing the doorknob, and knowing at least two ways out of every room in case of an emergency.