As more people look for ways to warm up at home during the cold months, it’s a good time for a reminder of how to prevent fires at home. Every year, more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the US, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Direct property loss due to house fires adds up to an estimated $7.3 billion annually.
With lives and such high costs at stake, it’s important to take steps to protect your home and your family. Keep in mind:
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re functioning correctly. Replace batteries yearly.
- Get your gas furnace, fireplace and/or wood-burning stove inspected and cleaned at least once per year.
- Keep flammable materials away from the open flame area of your fireplace. Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or other items that could contain potentially poisonous chemicals.
- Never use your stove as a heating source.
- When using electric space heaters, keep a safe perimeter around them and keep them away from water or potentially flammable materials.