Paducah Fire Department Provides Information about Heating Your Home Safely

Date of release:  January 11, 2022

home heating graphicThe Paducah Fire Department wants to share the following information about heating your home safely especially following the tragic apartment building fire Sunday in New York that killed 17 people.  New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the fire was caused by a malfunctioning electric space heater in a bedroom.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is the leading cause of fire deaths with portable space heaters accounting for 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths.

Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention Greg Cherry said, “Taking appropriate precautions can prevent most heating fires.  Be aware of the surroundings by establishing a three-foot zone around fireplaces, space heaters, wood stoves, candles, and radiators and keeping anything that can burn out of that zone.  Avoid placing objects, especially flammable objects such as bedding, newspapers, magazines, clothing, and curtains, too close to the heating source.  Also, establish a three-foot child and pet-free zone around the heater, and never put a space heater in a child's room.”

Cherry added, “All houses, apartments, and apartment buildings are required to have a permanent heat source as required by code. Portable or space heaters can be used as a supplemental heat source but not as the main source of heat.”

The Paducah Fire Department also encourages everyone to have a fire escape plan and to have working smoke alarms in their home.  If the home is heated by gas, a carbon monoxide (CO) detector should be installed.  For those who live in an apartment building, know where the exits are located.  Also, be aware of items that may be needed in case of an emergency.  Keep a telephone, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and aids such as walkers, canes, or wheelchairs, nearby.

To keep your family safe this winter season, the Paducah Fire Department is providing additional heating reminders:

  • Plug only one heat-producing appliance, such as a space heater, into an electrical outlet at a time.  Also, never use an extension cord or power strip with heat-producing appliances.
  • Turn off space heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Make sure the heating appliance (space heater and/or kerosene heater) has an automatic shut-off so that that if it tips over, it shuts off.
  • Never use an oven or stovetop to heat your home.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected each year by a professional.
  • If using a fireplace, keep a glass or metal screen in front of it to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, put the fire out before going to bed or leaving the home, and properly store the ashes in a metal container with a lid at least three feet from the home.
  • If you use natural gas or propane, install carbon monoxide alarms and test them monthly.

Additional fire safety information can be found at National Fire Protection Association and U.S. Fire Administration.

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