Mike O’Connell, Communications Director – Missouri Department of Public Safety
Cooler temperatures are on the way this month – eventually – and that means it’s time for Missourians to think about heating their homes safely this fall and winter.
Heating equipment is involved in one in every five home-fire deaths in the U.S. Each year, space heaters cause about one-third of home-heating fires and 80 percent of home-heating fire deaths.
“If we could all learn to heat our homes safely and not misuse space heaters, the reduction in fire injuries and deaths would be amazing,” State Fire Marshal Tim Bean said. “Each year, common mistakes contribute to the majority of heating fires, and they put families and responding firefighters in extreme danger. We urge Missourians to take simple steps to protect their families.”
Marshal Bean offered these heating safety tips:
· Keep at least a three-foot safety zone around heating equipment. This means nothing flammable (including drapes, furniture and electronics), and no children within that three-foot zone.
· Never leave space heaters on when people leave a room or go to bed.
· Always use only the type of fuel specified by the manufacturer for fuel-burning space heaters.
· Never use ovens or other devices not intended to heat homes to try to warm your house.
October 7-13 is Fire Prevention Week in the U.S. Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association, this year’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.”
The campaign encourages people to take three steps to quickly and safely escape a fire:
Look for places a fire could start and eliminate the hazards during the week. Keep anything that can catch fire away for the stovetop, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.
Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm. Make sure you have working smoke alarms; everyone knows what they sound like and what to do when they hear them.
Learn two ways out of every room (everyone in the family). Make sure doors and windows are not blocked. Establish a meeting place outside. Practice your family escape plan regularly.
The end of Daylight Saving Time, 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, when clocks are adjusted to “fall back” an hour, can serve as an easy reminder to change smoke and CO alarm batteries once a year. Remember, when your change the time, change the batteries.
Fire Prevention Week is recognized annually by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and fire departments and safety agencies across the country. On average, seven people die per day in U.S. home fires. Cooking is the leading cause of home fires. Smoking remains the leading cause of home-fire deaths.
For more than 90 years, fire departments have observed Fire Prevention Week, making it the longest running public health and safety observance on record.