Cold Weather Is Upon Us - Safety Tips For Heating Your Home
By Firefighter Mark Robertson Sr.
November 6, 2019

The cold weather has arrived so it's time to fire up our home heating equipment. Before you do so, we have included some facts and figures, along with heating equipment safety from the National Fire Protection Association. Please make your home heating equipment safe for this upcoming cold weather season.

Heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Local fire departments responded to an estimated average of 52,050 fires involving heating equipment each year in 2012-2016. These fires resulted in annual losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,400 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage.

The homes include one- and two-family homes (including manufactured homes) and apartments (including townhouses and other multi-family dwellings). Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 86% of associated civilian deaths, 78% of civilian injuries, and 54% of direct property damage.

•Heating equipment fires accounted for 15% of all reported home fires in 2012-2016 (second behind cooking) and 19% of home fire deaths.

•The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (27%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

•The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (54%) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.

•Most home heating fire deaths (86%) involved stationary or portable space heaters.

•Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.