Written By: Prince William County
As the weather becomes colder, homeowners are seeking alternative and economical methods of keeping warm. Prince William County Fire and Rescue System Chief Tim Keen urges residents’ vigilance when using alternative heating methods—the second leading cause of residential fires and fire-related deaths.
FIREPLACES, WOOD STOVES AND OTHER FUEL-FIRED APPLIANCES
- Follow manufacturer’s installation instructions, or have items professionally installed.
- Clean, annually, by a certified chimney specialist.
- Keep areas around fireplaces and woodstoves clean and free of debris.
- ALWAYS use metal or heat-tempered glass screens with fireplaces.
- Keep air inlets open to prevent creosote buildup.
- NEVER use flammable liquids to start a fire.
- Use only seasoned wood.
- NEVER dispose of embers and ashes in paper bags or other combustible containers.
- ALWAYS dispose of embers and ashes in a metal container with a lid.
- Store at least 10 feet away from the home, nearby buildings or combustible materials.
PORTABLE or SPACE HEATERS
- Buy only Underwriter’s Laboratory/UL-approved heaters.
- Use only fuels appropriate for the appliance.
- AVOID using in small, enclosed areas to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Annually, clean heaters and replace wicks.
Electric Space Heaters
- Account for two of every five (43%) home heating fires and five out of six (86%) home heating fire deaths.
- Buy only Underwriter’s Laboratory/UL-approved heaters with:
- thermostat control
- automatic shut-off
- ALWAYS unplug when leaving the room or going to bed.
- AVOID using extension cords.