The American Red Cross addresses home heating safety

October 19, 2023

With the onset of colder temperatures in various parts of the country, the American Red Cross emphasizes the importance of heating homes safely. As winter approaches, here’s what you need to know.

For residents in regions experiencing a drop in temperature, turning up the heat becomes a necessity.

The American Red Cross, however, advises families to exercise caution: “Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires in this country.”

For details on the matter, you can find more at this link.

Staggering statistics on home heating fires

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides alarming statistics on the issue: “fire departments respond to more than 44,200 home heating fires each year which cause hundreds of deaths and more than 1,300 injuries.”

Moreover, the NFPA’s findings indicate that space heaters are often the culprits.

The Red Cross highlights that “more than half of us have used one” and stresses the importance of maintaining at least three feet of space around all heating equipment. It’s imperative to remember: “never leave space heaters unattended.”

Tips for home heating safety

If choosing to use a space heater, the American Red Cross advises to:

  • Place it on a “level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.”
  • Ensure it’s away from “rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes.”
  • Be cautious around children and pets.
  • “Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never an extension cord.”
  • Consistently “turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.”
  • Refrain from using “a cooking range or oven to heat your home.”
  • If using a fireplace, “never leave a fire burning” and always “use a glass or metal fire screen.”
  • And lastly, engage a professional for an annual inspection of “furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves.”

The importance of smoke alarms

To further protect families, the Red Cross encourages monthly smoke alarm tests and practicing a home fire escape plan.

The goal? Ensure everyone can escape in less than two minutes.

For those in need, the Red Cross offers assistance.

Whether it’s a financial constraint or a physical limitation preventing smoke alarm installation, “contact your local Red Cross for help.”

Additional resources from the American Red Cross

The Red Cross provides comprehensive information on fire safety.

Their website, redcross.org/fire, includes an escape plan to rehearse with family members.

Furthermore, they offer various apps, available in both English and Spanish, to assist in emergencies.

Home Fire Campaign’s impact

Initiated in October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign has made a substantial difference.

In collaboration with community allies, they’ve successfully “saved at least 1,928 lives” through fire safety education, escape plan development, and free smoke alarm installations.

To participate or learn more, head to redcross.org/homefires.

FSJA Comment

We recognize the vital significance of heating homes safely, especially in colder seasons.

The statistics presented by the NFPA are a sobering reminder of the risks involved.

With a significant number of home fires attributed to heating equipment, it’s crucial that homeowners heed the advice provided by the American Red Cross.

Their guidelines, along with their commitment to community education and safety through initiatives like the Home Fire Campaign, underscore the necessity of staying informed and proactive in ensuring our homes remain warm and, more importantly, safe.

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