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ECFR Urges Cold Weather Safety During MLK Weekend

Published Jan 14, 2022
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With Escambia County expecting colder weather in the forecast during the holiday weekend, Escambia County Fire Rescue urges extra precautions to citizens while keeping your home warm. 

Home fires occur more in the winter months than any other time of year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths and space heaters account for 4 out of 5 home heating fire deaths

Follow these tips to stay safe while heating your home:

  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.
  • Portable space heaters should be turned OFF every time you leave the room and before going to bed.
  • Never plug a space heater in a power strip.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Never use an oven to heat your home.

For portable electric heaters:

  • Place them on a solid, flat surface, away from high traffic areas and doorways.
  • Use and purchase heaters with an automatic shut off so if they are tipped over they will shut off.
  • Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
  • Inspect for cracked or damaged, broken plugs or loose connections; replace before using.

For Fireplaces and Wood Stoves:

  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace to prevent embers or sparks jumping out.
  • Do not burn paper in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • Put the fire out before you go to sleep or leave your home. 
  • Put ashes in a metal container with a lid, outside, at least three feet from your home.
  • Make sure your wood stove is three feet from anything that can burn.

Source: FEMA- U.S. Fire Administration

Heating Fire Facts:

  • Most home heating fire deaths (86%) involved stationary or portable space heaters.
  • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (27%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
  • The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (54%) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.
  • Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
Practicing these home heating safety tips will help keep our community safe and warm during the winter months. Knowing what to do now is key to having a safe home. For more heating safety tips and fire safety information, visit NFPA.

Escambia County Public Safety is responsible for keeping citizens safe from emergencies and both man-made and natural disasters. Its divisions include Emergency CommunicationsEmergency ManagementEmergency Medical ServicesFire Rescue and Pensacola Beach Lifeguards. For the latest information on emergency management services in Escambia County, residents are encouraged to sign up for emergency alerts on myescambia.com.

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