INDIANAPOLIS (WANE) – Fatal house fires popped up across the state over the holidays. Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson urges Hoosiers to keep safety in mind while using alternative heating sources or cooking.
“Home fires occur more often in winter than any other season, and alternative heating sources are one of the leading causes of home fires and fire-related deaths each year,” Greeson said. “Fires caused by alternative heating equipment account for 19 percent of home fire deaths in the United States.”
Greeson said to avoid using space heaters and other alternative heating if possible. However, if that’s not possible there are several safety precautions you can take to make sure you’re being as safe as you can.
With space heaters, keep a three foot perimeter clear around the device. Make sure loose or flammable objects are out of the heater’s way including curtains, clothing, bedding and furniture. Only plug one space heater in per electrical outlet. Do not leave space heaters unoccupied and turn them off when you go to bed. Consider purchasing a space heater that has a sensor so it automatically turns off when it falls over.
Like space heaters, fires in fireplaces should be extinguished before going to bed or leaving the home. Fireplaces should be regularly cleaned and inspected by a certified professional. Gas fireplaces should have a working ventilator with a working carbon monoxide detector nearby. Use only dry, seasoned firewood to prevent build up of creosote. Do not use flammable liquid to start fires, and always have a working fire extinguisher nearby.
Cooking and cooking equipment are another major cause of home fires. It is estimated that U.S. fire departments respond to more than 150,000 home fires caused by cooking equipment each year. Remember to never leave your stove unattended and keep kids and pets away from the stove.
As for ovens, Greeson said to never use your oven to heat your home. It could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. .