Public Service Information
Use caution when using supplemental heating sources
If you plan to use a portable or fixed space heater this winter – use extreme caution. Two of every three home heating fires in the United States in 1998, and three of every four related deaths, were attributed to supplemental heating equipment, according to a report released by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association).
There were an estimated 49,200 fires caused by supplemental heating sources, resulting in 388 deaths, 1,445 injuries and $515 million in property damage in 1998. Supplemental heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February. The types of space heaters involved in these fires include all the major types: portable electric heaters, room gas heaters, portable kerosene heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces with or without inserts.
Leading reasons for fires starting with space heaters are: lack of regular cleaning, leading to creosote build-up in wood-burning devices and associated chimneys and connectors; failing to give space heaters space by installing or placing them too close to combustibles; basic flaws in the construction or design of wood-burning heating equipments; and fueling errors involving liquid- or gas-fueled heating equipment.
The following safety tips are offered when considering supplemental heating sources this winter:
- Space heaters need a three-foot clearance from anything that can burn. Portable space heaters should always be turned off when leaving the room or going to sleep.
- When buying a new unit, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing lab. Be sure that a qualified technician installs the unit or checks that the unit has been installed properly.
- Wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys, chimney connectors, and all other solid-fueled heating equipment need to be inspected annually by a professional and cleaned as often as the inspections indicate. Also, a sturdy screen will keep sparks from flying into the room.
- Portable kerosene heaters must be fueled only in a well-ventilated area, away from flames and other heat sources, and only when the device has cooled completely. Use only the type of kerosene specified by the manufacturer for that device, and never use gasoline instead of kerosene.
- When turning a heating device on or off, be careful to follow the manufacturer's instructions. When buying heaters, look for devices with automatic shutoff features.
- Be sure any gas-fueled heating device is installed with proper attention to ventilation, and if unvented gas space heaters are used in bedrooms or bathrooms, they must be small and wall-mounted. Also, LP (liquefied petroleum) gas heaters with self-contained fuel supplies are prohibited for home use by NFPA codes.
Smoke Detectors Save Lives
Properly installed and working smoke detectors save lives by alerting the occupant when a fire related emergency exists. Is your family/home protected? Have you changed your batteries? For information on selection and proper placement of smoke detectors or other fire prevention education information, contact Chief Gary Sparks @ 256-831-3208.
CPR Saves Lives (Cardio/Pulmonary Resuscitation)
The American Heart Association says:
“Cardiovascular disease is the single greatest cause of death in the United States. Every year more than 480,000 adult Americans die of a heart attack or related complications. About half of these deaths (some 225,000) result from sudden cardiac arrest. Sudden cardiac arrest can complicate a heart attack. If it does, it is most likely to occur during the first hour after the onset of symptoms of a heart attack, typically before the victim arrives at the hospital. Sudden cardiac arrest will result in death unless emergency treatment is provided immediately.”
Starting the Chain of Survival (CPR) is important in order to save lives. To learn CPR, contact the Oxford EMS @ 256-831-7250