October 01, 2008
Home Heating Safety Tips
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
FIRE OFFICIALS CONCERNED ABOUT INCREASED WINTER FIRE RISK AS PEOPLE SEEK ALTERNATIVE HEATING MEASURES
Due to the expected spike in winter heating costs, fire officials are concerned about the potential for an increase in fires and injuries this year. There is a very real fear that people will seek alternative and often-unsafe methods of heating their homes.
Chief Gerald Reardon along with State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan offer the following tips to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning this winter:
Homeowners should have furnaces cleaned and checked annually to ensure they are working well. Have chimneys cleaned annually to remove creosote. Creosote is a black, tar-like substance that will build up over time and increase the chances of chimney fires.
If a homeowner is inclined to purchase a wood or coal stove they must obtain a building permit prior to installing the unit. The unit must be installed in a code compliant manner. If using a space heater, use it as safely as possible. Make sure the unit is labeled by a recognized testing laboratory such as UL (Underwriters Laboratories). Heating units should be kept clear from draperies and other combustibles by at least 3 feet. Kerosene fired unvented space heaters are illegal in Massachusetts.
As always, homeowners should have working smoke alarms as well as Carbon Monoxide detectors in place. All residents should practice an evacuation plan with a designated outdoor meeting place.
For additional information contact: Deputy Chief Gerry Mahoney at 617-349-4944