HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Cold temperatures are rolling in which means that space heaters are rolling out of stores and out of storage. If not used with care, these heating devices can have fatal repercussions. The use of space heaters, wood-burning stoves, kerosene, propane heaters, along with fireplaces are a major concern as the weather turns colder.
According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths across the country. Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, account for one-third (33%) of home heating fire deaths. The leading factors contributing to ignition in home heating equipment fires was the failure to clean the device, use and maintenance, and having combustibles too close to the source of the heating equipment.
Carbon monoxide incidents are associated with the increase use of heating devices more frequent in colder months. Gas-fueled heaters are the primary cause for non-fire carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is odorless, invisible and potentially deadly.
Here are a few tips for heater safety:
All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn, at least three feet away from the source of the heat.
Make sure you use only equipment that displays a label indicating it has undergone independent testing by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
Have a qualified professional install and maintain the heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.
Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, be sure to remove fallen leaves and debris from around the outside vent to ensure the proper venting of the exhaust.
Have your heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected before use.