OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As the temperature dips, the risk of a home fire goes way up. It’s that time of year when we crank up the furnace for the first time. It seems so routine, but every year we see dozens of fires related to home-heating.
The National Fire Protection Association reports heating is the second leading cause of home fires and home injuries. We’ve just entered the three-month window when nearly half of all home-heating fires occur. Nearly half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.
With the cold front coming in, Oklahoma Fire Department’s want to make sure you’re safe this winter season as many residents are now starting up their heating systems.
“Run the heater during the daytime while everybody’s awake. Make sure everything is running fine before the evening,” said Marty Harrison, captain at Del City Fire Department.
Captain Marty Harrison with the Del City Fire Department said checking your heater is the first thing every Oklahoma family should do. It is also important for families to inspect the fireplace.
If you have a real fireplace, make sure you open your flue first. You may need to have your chimney cleaned before you start that,” said Harrison.
If you buy a generator this winter, educate yourself on using it.
“So, make sure you run those outside,” said Harrison.
Captain Harrison also cautions using space heaters. Even newer space heaters can pose risks. While they can help warm up a room, they can also be dangerous, especially if plugged into an extension cord.
“This big yellow tag that adds on here, line number one, it says warning to reduce risk of fire. Always plug heaters directly into a wall outlet receptacle,” said Harrison.
Crews at Drabek & Hill Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. agree your best defense is through a safety check and making sure that your smoke and CO-2 detectors work. They’ve been busy doing furnace checks right now.
“Just making sure that that furnace is checked, that the gas pressures are good, that flue vent has a the correct clearance around the roof line, that there’s just no gas escaping that unit. So you know, it’s always just a good thing to have any kind of gas appliance checked out,” said Aaron McReynolds, comfort advisor, Drabek & Hill Air Conditioning & Heating Inc.
It’s easier than you think for drafts to bring carbon monoxide into your home. Signs of a carbon monoxide leak include soot stains on your furnace and a yellow burner flame. The pilot light should be blue. Carbon monoxide can take as little as five minutes to make you sick, or worse.
Every year, hundreds of people in the U.S. die from accidental C-OH poisoning. That’s why every family should have at least one working C-OH detector.
“So that way, if you do have the carbon monoxide into the home, it is going to alert you because you know, it is the silent killer for a reason,” said McReynolds.
If you cannot afford a smoke detector, check your local fire station because they often have some to give out.