It's Cold Outside: Heat your home safely
By Mr. William Beck, 28th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire & Emergency Services
/ Published February 02, 2017
ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
Brrr! Your home’s heating system is working double time to keep you warm this winter.
Since heating is the second leading cause of home fires, the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron Fire & Emergency Services advises safety to be your top priority. Follow these suggestions to keep your home warm and safe.
“The biggest mistake is putting something too close to a heating source,” said Staff Sgt Levi Hickey, fire inspector assigned to the 28th CES Fire and Emergency Services. “Keep anything that can burn three feet away from space heaters, fireplaces, wood stoves, and radiators.”
Hickey added to remember that skin burns too and therefore, make sure that people and pets stay three feet away.
Use only portable heaters that have been listed by a testing laboratory (look for the laboratory’s label). These heaters should have an automatic shut-off switch so that if they are tipped over, they will turn off on their own. Plug portable electric heaters directly into the wall outlet and do not use an extension cord or power strip. Better yet, throw on a sweater or use extra blankets instead of portable heaters.
“Evenings (5-8 p.m.) are the peak time for home heating fires,” Hickey said. “Turn space heaters off when you leave the room or fall asleep.”
Plan for emergencies. Children tend to be heavy sleepers, and sometimes don’t wake up to the smoke alarm. Make a home fire escape plan around their abilities, and decide who will help them get out in an emergency.
“Children are at particularly vulnerable to home fires,” Hickey said. “If there are children in your home, plan for this increased risk. Check space heaters throughout the season. Make sure that bedding, throws and clothing are kept at least three feet away. Verify that fixed heating equipment is inspected every season and professionally cleaned when necessary. Talk with children to make sure that they understand their risk of burns and fire.”
For additional fire safety information, contact the Ellsworth AFB Fire Prevention Office at (605) 385-7307.