Heating safety tips

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

--Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

--Have a three-foot "kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters.

--Never use your oven to heat your home.

--Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer's instructions.

--Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

--Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

--Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

--Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

--Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

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