State Fire Marshal Urges Safety as Frigid Temperatures in the Forecast

Each year space heaters account for about one-third of home heating fires and eighty percent of heating fire deaths. Space heaters are the leading cause of home fires in the months of December, January, and February according to the National Fire Protections Association.

With the weather forecast calling for temperatures to plummet this week Missouri State Fire Marshal Tim Bean is urging everyone to take extra caution. Bean stresses two key factors leading to heating fires: not using space heaters and other heating sources as they are designed to be used, and not having smoke alarms in homes.

Space heaters are designed to be used to supplement primary heating sources.

Bean says to make sure portable heaters are turned off when leaving the room or going to bed; keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, this includes furniture, drapes, Christmas trees and electronics. Have a three foot kid-free zone around fires and space heaters; don’t overload extension cords or outlets; never use an oven to heat your home; never use an outdoor propane heater indoors and make sure your home has working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms by testing them monthly.

Christmas and Christmas Eve follow closely behind Thanksgiving as the busiest days of the year for cooking fires. Never leave a lighted Christmas tree unattended; don’t keep the tree up too long, allowing it to dry out; never burn Christmas tree branches, treated wood or wrapping paper in a home fireplace; avoid using real candles; never leave children alone in a room with a lit candle and every home should be equipped with a fire extinguisher.

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