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

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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