According to the National Fire Protection Association, space heaters cause 43% of home heating fires and 85% of related deaths. So, how can we get better at heating our homes and offices and stay safe during winter this winter?
#1. Heater safety during winter
Temperatures drop and fires increases. Stay safe during winter, as residents use fireplaces and space heaters to supplement home heating systems.
- Ensure that your heater is in good working condition and that cords and other components are not damaged.
- If you use a gas heater, inspect it to ensure there are no leaks. If valves, pipes, or other components of the heater are damaged, either replace the parts that can be replaced or buy a new heater.
Home heating systems are the second leading cause of home fires, and fireplaces are a part of that statistic. The threat of house fires in South Africa was recently best highlighted by Patrick Kulati, Chief Executive Officer, Household Energy Safety Association of South Africa (HESASA).“Burns are among the most devastating of all injuries, with outcomes spanning the spectrum from physical impairments and disfigurement, to emotional and mental consequences.
- Leaking gas is extremely dangerous and may result in an explosion. If you suspect a leak or if you are unsure, rather seek the assistance of a professional. Gas cylinders must be filled or exchanged at a reputable dealer.
Preventing a home fire that originates with your fireplace or wood stove is not complicated, but taking the needed actions toward fire prevention is essential. A small flame can get completely out of control in as little as 30 seconds. If a fireplace had been lit, it is important to extinguish the flames before going to sleep, if not the fire will spread from the fireplace to the wall surrounding it, and the blaze will then spread to the attic.
#2. Plugs and electric blankets
- Ensure plugs are not overloaded or damaged.
- Before using an electrical blanket, ensure that it is not torn and that there is no mold, visible damage to cables, or burn marks on the blanket. If any of these are present, replace the blanket.
#3. Fireplace Stay safe during winter
- If you have a fireplace, ensure you maintain it. Have the chimney inspected and cleaned, preferably by a professional.
- Ensure that you make the fire small enough to be able to control. This will also reduce the chances of flames spreading out of the fireplace.
- Ensure that there is proper ventilation in the room.
- Keep flammable items away from your fireplace. Ensure you extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving home.
- Keep a small household fire extinguisher near the fireplace. Make sure that everyone in the family knows how to use it.
#4. General fire
- How to stay safe during winter, keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
- Candles are a common cause of residential fires. Candles are often used instead of a flashlight when there is a power outage or even in instances where people do not have electricity. Often, the candle is placed in a plastic makeshift holder or simply stuck down on a table without a holder. Lit candles should be put in a proper non-flammable holder that cannot easily be bumped or blown over by the wind. It should also not be placed near curtains or anything flammable. Do not leave a candle burning if you go to bed or leave the property. Also, never leave children unattended near a lit candle or any fire for that matter.
- Never start a fire or use a heater while intoxicated.
- Never sleep with a lit cigarette in your hand. Also, never discard lit cigarettes in areas that could easily be set alight (such as a veld or dustbin).
Prana FM is reminding everyone that home fires are more prevalent in cold weather than at any other time of the year, because of the increase in cooking and heating fires. Winter storms can interrupt electrical services, and cause people to turn to alternative heating sources, which also contribute to the increased risk of fire in winter.
Fire safety and prevention are especially important during times of cold temperatures. Contact us for a fire audit (Contact Details)