As temperatures dip back down to the 30’s and 40’s over the next several days, Mayor Michael Pantelides and Annapolis Fire Chief David Stokes urge residents to be aware of some home heating safety information that could save your life.
Did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths? Also, you should know that more than 50% of all fires involving home heating equipment occur in the months of December, January and February.
Here are a few tips from the Annapolis Fire Department that could help make your home a safe place during the cold days ahead:
- Individuals should keep a three foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters in the home
- Never use your oven to heat your home
- Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the manufacturer’s instructions and City of Annapolis Code
- Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional
- All fuel burning equipment should be vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
- Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room and make sure ashes are cool before putting them in a metal container to dispose
Also, it is critical to test your smoke alarms monthly. The Annapolis Fire Department also recommends installing and maintaining carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide alarms inside your home provide an early warning of the presence of deadly carbon monoxide gas. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), CO alarms should be installed and maintained in a central location outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one alarm sounds, they all sound.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that several thousand people are seen in the emergency rooms every year seeking treatment for CO poisoning. “Often called the invisible killer, CO is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely,” says Chief Stokes.
The Annapolis Fire Department reminds residents that CO alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms, and vice versa. Know the difference.
Annapolis residents with questions or concerns regarding space heaters or CO alarm installation may contact the Annapolis Fire Department, Office of the Fire Marshal at 410-260-2202 or email [email protected]. The Annapolis Fire Department has developed a program to help citizens in need of assistance with smoke or carbon monoxide alarms. Call the number above if you would like more information on the program.