12 tips to heat your home safely this winter

Heating is one of the leading causes of fires in the United States.
According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.
Below are some tips to help protect you from home fires:

1. KEEP AWAY

Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.

2. KID AND PET FREE ZONE

Have a three-foot kid- and pet-free zone around open fires and space heaters.

3. UNATTENDED

Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.

4. SPACE HEATERS

If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Avoid using extension cords with a space heater.

5. OVENS

Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.

6. STOP SPARKS

Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy glass or metal 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.

7. PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION

Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

8. INSPECT EQUIPMENT

Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

9. RIGHT FUEL

Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

10. SMOKE ALARMS

It is critical that households have working smoke alarms. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

11. CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 20,000 people are taken to an emergency room, and over 400 people die every year from accidental carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CLICK HERE for tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

12. Check your extension cords.

Extension cords should not be overloaded or run where they can become a tripping hazard. Never run extension cords under carpets or rugs. Avoid using extension cords with a space heater.