From 2010-2012, an average of 45,200 home heating fires occurred in the United States each year and resulted in an annual average of approximately 155 deaths, 625 injuries and $351 million in property loss.
Heating was the second leading cause of home fires following cooking.
Home heating fires peaked in the early evening hours between 5 and 9 p.m. with the highest peak between 6 and 8 p.m. This four-hour period accounted for 30 percent of all home heating fires.
Home heating fires peaked in January (21 percent) and declined to the lowest point during the summer months from June to August.
Confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners, accounted for 84 percent of home heating fires.
Twenty-nine percent of the nonconfined home heating fires occurred because the heat source was too close to things that can burn.
Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.
Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
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 local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
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. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.