With the arrival of the coldest weather in years, many residents especially those without central heat and air will be struggling to keep
their homes warm.
The Chattanooga Fire Department offers some
pertinent safety tips related to the cold weather and keeping your home warm,
as safely as possible:
When it comes to heaters, remember the three foot rule. Keep
anything that can catch fire at least three feet away.
Make sure your alternative heaters have "tip switches." These
devices are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip
Never refill a kerosene heater while it is operating or still
hot. Refuel those heaters only outdoors.
Only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer and
follow the suggested guidelines.
Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, and at least three
feet away from anything that can catch fire.
Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to
prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets, furniture or other items that can
If you have wall and/or floor heaters, make sure that anything
that can burn is at least three feet away from them. If you have moved
furniture around over the summer, or just moved into a house or apartment that
has these types of heaters, make sure nothing that can burn is within three
feet of them. Many of these heaters don't have "on" and "off" switches, but
rather a control knob for a thermostat that ranges from "low" to "high." When
the temperature in the house drops low enough, these heaters will turn on,
whether or not you have furniture in front of it. (This very thing happened
on November 23, 2005 at a house on Lee Highway and it claimed the lives of a
mother and her two daughters.)
Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition
to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the
electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and are often the cause of home
fires in extreme cold weather.
Portable electric generators must be used outside only, never
indoors, in a garage or in any confined area that can allow carbon monoxide to
collect. Follow usage directions closely.
Make sure you have working smoke alarms on all levels of your
home, and outside your sleeping areas, and at least one carbon monoxide
detector on every level of your home.
Have a fire escape plan for your home. If fire does break out in
your home, everyone in your home should know two ways out, and have a meeting
place where everyone can be accounted for.
Candles present a serious fire hazard. If your power goes out,
use flashlights for emergency lighting. Keep extra batteries in your home to
power those flashlights.
Run water at a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing and
Facts about home
2011, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S.
home structure fires, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520
civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage. These fires
accounted for 14% of all reported home fires..
heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (33%) of
home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths.
leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to
clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily
things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating
equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered
furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor
contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for
more than half (53%) of home heating fire deaths.
(50%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and