When the air gets crisper, everyone knows that winter is drawing near. Now that we’re into the New Year, those heaters are working in earnest, which is an ideal time to go over some safety tips.
Winter is a beautiful time of year, especially in Rocky Mountain country – however, this season can also be a dangerous time for you and your family if your home’s heater isn’t in proper working order. Failure to perform routine maintenance could spark a house fire.
House Fire Facts
In 2013, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) published a record of house fires in the U.S. from 2007-2011. Here’s what they found:
- There were 370,000 total house fires in 2011. These fires resulted in 13,910 injuries, 2,520 deaths and $6.9 billion in damage.
- Roughly, seven people a day died in house fires between 2007 and 2011.
- Cooking accidents and faulty heating equipment were the leading causes of house fires. Roughly 2 out of every 5 house fires begin in the kitchen and 34% are the result of unattended food cooking.
In order to make it through this winter, chances are you’ll rely on your home’s heater to provide most of the warmth. However, heating equipment requires routine maintenance to ensure that it’s in perfect working order, which many homeowners forget to do.
Many cases of heating equipment failure are due to homeowners not cleaning creosote from heating systems that are fueled by solid material. This is especially true of fireplaces. One-third of all heating-related house fires, though, are caused by space heaters (both portable and fixed), and they contribute to about 81% of home heating deaths.
How to Keep Your Family Safe
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), along with the NFPA, encourages families to take certain preventative measures to guard against house fires. These steps include:
- Scheduling yearly fireplace and chimney inspections and cleanings
- Turning off space heaters when sleeping
- Not putting space heaters on uneven surfaces
- Never heating your home with stoves
- Testing your smoke detectors regularly to ensure they are in good working order
In addition to these steps, homeowners are encouraged to ensure their family’s safety by installing smoke alarms and coming up with an escape plan.
If you don’t have them already, installing smoke alarms in your home can greatly raise your chances of surviving a house fire. In fact, the NFPA study found that 60 percent of fire deaths were due to homeowners not having working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm can cut your chance of death in a fire by half.
Smoke alarms are only effective if you and your family are able to get out of your burning home safely. To do so, you should develop an escape plan and practice it to ensure that all family members are familiar with the route(s).
Keeping your family safe is always a priority. By taking these simple precautions, you can make sure your family stays safe and warm this winter.
If you or a loved one is unfortunate enough to be involved in a house fire and believe that it was beyond your control, please contact Babcock Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation. We can help build your case and make the process easier for you. More wrongful death claim information can be found in our Blog and Knowledge Center.