From the Chief
As I sit here and watch the fall colors with the leaves starting to pile up, it reminds me that the winter heating season is close.
As we transition seasons, it time to have your home heating devices checked and or serviced. Also, check smoke detectors monthly to make sure they are working and replace the batteries.
We recommend you check the smoke detectors monthly, have a home escape plan that is known and practiced by all who live in your home, replace the batteries twice a year when the time changes and consider replacing older detectors with the newer ten-year battery units.
We have a smoke detector program that is funded through donations. You make take advantage of this service by stopping in at a station or calling us at 530-432-2630 and schedule your service.
In 2011, home heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520 civilian injuries and $893 million in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 14 percent of all reported home fires.
We recommend you have your heaters/furnaces serviced annually by a trained service person. We recommend you have your fireplaces, chimneys, wood stoves, etc. cleaned and inspected annually.
Lastly, be sure to have a properly functioning carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home to alert you to the buildup of dangerous colorless and odorless gases in your home that can be deadly.
Here are some winter home heating statistics from NFPA, based on 2007–2011 annual averages for home heating fires:
• Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third of home heating fires and four out of five of home heating fire deaths.
• The leading factor contributing to home heating fires was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys and wood stove flues. Be sure to place hot ashes in a metal container and wet them down. Never place them on wood decks, as ashes can retain heat for several days.
• Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half of home heating fire deaths.
• Half of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
• During the four-year period 2007–2011, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 10,630 home structure fires started by candles per year. These fires caused an annual average of 115 civilian deaths, 903 civilian fire injuries and $418 million in direct property damage. Candles caused 3 percent of the reported home fires, 4 percent of home fire deaths, 7 percent of home fire injuries and 6 percent of direct property damage during this period. On average, 29 home candle fires were reported per day. If you use candles be sure to never leave them unattended, place them on fire proof bases and never around things that easily ignite, such as draperies, papers, poster etc.
Thank you for taking a few moments to read this article, as it might just save your life or that of a family member. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has this, as well as many other useful tips on home safety, at http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information.
If you have any questions you may contact us at 530-432–2630, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Thank you and please be fire safe this season.
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