The recent cold, rainy and snowy weather has made more people feel inclined to spend more time indoors and crank up the heat. However, unless some simple safety practices are used, trying to heat up your home can end in tragedy.
According to the Fire Marshal, home heating elements and appliances are significant starters of house fires in Maryland. The Fire Marshal's Office says chimneys, space heaters and furnaces should be cleaned annually (chimneys should be cleaned more often if fireplaces are used as the primary heat source). The Fire Marshal says combustibles should be kept at least three feet away from heat sources that are being used, and flammable liquids should never be used to start a fire in a fireplace or wood stove. Fuel burning stoves and heaters should be installed according to the manufacturer's instructions and local fire codes. A window should be opened to provide proper ventilation and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Fire Marshal's Office also recommends testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to make sure they work properly. Portable heaters should be turned off when leaving a room for an extended period of time. Portable heaters shouldn't be left running unattended.
Return to: WGMD Local News Blog