LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Cold weather in WAVE Country has many searching for alternative heat sources, and an uptick in home fires caused the Indiana State Fire Marshal to issue some cold weather safety tips.
"Home fires occur more often in winter than any other season, and alternative heating sources are one of the leading causes of home fires and fire-related deaths each year," said Fire Marshal Greeson. "Fires caused by alternative heating equipment account for 19 percent of home fire deaths in the United States."
The following tips from the Indiana Fire Marshal are recommended to keep you safe, and warm:
- Keep at least a three-foot perimeter around space heaters at all times.
- Space heaters should be kept away from loose or flammable objects such as clothing, curtains, bedding and furniture.
- Only one space heater should be plugged into each electrical outlet. Never overload electrical outlets.
- Do not leave space heaters on in unoccupied rooms.
- If it is necessary to purchase a space heater, consider purchasing one with a built-in tilt sensor that automatically shuts off if tipped over.
- Refuel kerosene space heaters outside the home in a well-ventilated area. Be sure to let them cool down first if they were recently used.
- Appliances such as ovens should never be used for heating. Doing so can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Fireplaces should be regularly cleaned and inspected by a certified professional. Gas fireplaces should have proper ventilation, with a working carbon monoxide detector nearby.
- Use only dry, seasoned firewood to prevent build-up of creosote, which can prevent the chimney from venting properly.
- Do not close the damper too early with hot ashes in the fireplace. Doing so can force dangerous levels of carbon monoxide into the home.
- Avoid using flammable liquid to start fires in fireplaces or wood stoves. Always have a fire extinguisher on hand in the event the fire gets out of control.
- Stay in the kitchen while cooking food. If there is a need to leave the kitchen even for a short time, turn off the stove.
- Regularly check food that is cooking and use a timer to avoid forgetting items.
- Keep any flammable objects such as oven mitts, utensils, food packages and towels away from the stovetop.
- Use the stove’s back burners whenever possible. Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the stove.
- Clean food and grease from burners and stovetops, and be sure that the oven is clean and free from residue.
Below are tips for addressing kitchen fires.
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire.
- Keep a lid nearby when cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- In the event of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
- If the fire is too large to address safely, evacuate the home and call 911.
According to Greeson, cooking and cooking equipment are begin 150,000 home fires per year in the U.S.