According to FEMA, home fires occur more in winter than in any other season. In fact, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, deaths and injuries in the United States each year. Winter home fires account for hundreds of deaths, and over 2 billion dollars in damage every year.
Here are some tips to prevent winter fires
Be careful with your space heaters
2 out of every 5 winter fires are caused by space heaters.
Make sure the ones you use in your home have automatic shut-offs if they tip over
Always place your space heaters away from everything else. Typically a 3 foot space is recommended around any space heater.
Keep an eye on your candles and other decorations
keep candles at least 12 inches from anything flammable
and three feet from your live Christmas tree
and don't leave candles unattended if there are pets or small children in your home. The flickering flame is very attractive to them!
Keep an eye out for overloading electrical circuits
particularly around Christmas, there is a tendency to plug too many light strings into one socket
don't connect more than three strands of lights together
Don't leave your holiday lights running all day or all night unattended
Practice fireplace and wood stove safety
if you own a fireplace, use a screen, and keep the door closed at all times on your wood stove. The only time these should be open, is when you are adding wood, or stoking the fire
have your chimney inspected regularly. A buildup of creosote can quickly lead to a deadly fire.
Don't become a statistic. Too many house fires happen in West Michigan because one of these simple practices is not followed. Be safe this winter!