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NFPA: Space heaters responsible for 79 percent of home fire deaths

February 18, 2010

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Although space heaters are the cause of only 32 percent of home heating fires, they are responsible for 79 percent of home heating fire deaths, according to a report issued this week from the National Fire Protection Association.

In 2007, 66,400 home fires were caused by heating equipment, resulting in 580 deaths, 1,850 injuries and $608 million in property damage.

To prevent home heating fires, Quincy, MA-based NFPA recommends:

  • Do not allow children or flammable items such as paper, bedding or furniture within 3 feet of open fires or space heaters.
  • Never use your oven for heating.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Turn heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.
  • Be sure heaters are placed on a level surface.
  • Plug power cords directly into the outlet, not an extension cord. Check cords for damage before use.
  • When using a liquid fuel heater, be sure to use fuel recommended by the manufacturer and refuel outdoors after the appliance has cooled.
  • Only start a fire with newspaper or kindling. Never use liquid lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline.


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