Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John King asks all Georgians to exercise caution while using home heating equipment this winter. If used carelessly, heating equipment such as space heaters and fireplaces can become fire hazards.
Heating equipment is a leading cause of residential fires in the United States. Data from the National Fire Prevention Association shows that local fire departments responded to an annual average of 48,530 fires resulting from negligent heater use between 2014 and 2018. These fires resulted in 500 deaths, 1,350 injuries, and $1.1 billion in property damage.
In recognition of the risk of heating equipment, Commissioner King asks Georgians to follow the below tips for keeping yourself and your home safe this winter.
- Have your fireplace or wood stove chimney and chimney connectors inspected and cleaned at the start of the heating season.
- Do not plug heating equipment into extension cords. This can lead to overheating of the cord, damage to the appliance, and increased risk of fire or electric shock.
- Move anything that can burn (i.e., furniture, bedding, clothing) at least three feet from your heater, fireplace, or wood stove. 54% of home heating fire deaths were caused by having heating equipment too close to things that can burn.
- Keep your children and pets safely away from your portable or space heater.
- Turn off your portable or space heater before leaving the room.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.