USFA releases report on heating fires

Emmitsburg, MD – Approximately 50,100 residential building heating fires occurred each year from 2008 to 2010, resulting in 150 deaths and 575 injuries annually, according to a report (.pdf file) from the U.S. Fire Administration.

The report stated that heating was second only to cooking as the cause of all residential fires. The peak time for heating fires was between 5 and 9 p.m., with 30 percent of the fires occurring during that period.

The majority of heating fires – 87 percent – were confined to a chimney or fuel burner, but among those that were not, 30 percent stemmed from a heating source being too close to a combustible object, according to the report.

To reduce fire risk, USFA recommends the following:

  • Have chimneys and heating equipment professionally cleaned and inspected every year.
  • Use heating equipment with a label from a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.
  • Plug space heaters directly into outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home.

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