Home Heating & Fire Safety

Home Heating & Fire Safety

Home heating has caused 6,692 fires in the last five years and is the number two cause of household fires in Massachusetts. Use your home heating system and space heating appliances in a wise and responsible manner.

Use These Tips To Keep Everyone Warm And Safe During The Heating Season.

Basics of Home Fire Safety

• Make sure there are working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms at all levels, including one outside the bedrooms.
• Test the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms monthly and change the batteries twice a year when you change the clock.
• Hold home fire drills to practice your home escape plan.
• Practice fire safety at home and set a good example to children.

Be extremely cautious when using a fireplace and a solid fuel stove

• Be careful before, during and after using these types of fuel when you heat your residence with solid fuels (coal, wood, pellets).
• Have your chimney cleaned by a professional every year.
• Ensure that a national testing agency like the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) laboratory approves has approved the stove.
• Get a building permit before you install a stove.
• Keep flammable objects three feet from a stove or fireplace .
• Dispose ashes in a lidded, metal container, away from the house, garage and porch.

Give Your Heater Space

Fires caused by space heaters are rare, but often fatal. When you’re using a space heater, do so safely.
• Do not use space heaters as your # 1 source of heat.
• Keep flammable items three feet away from the source of heat.
• Only use heavy-duty extension cords.
• Always turn off your heater when you go to bed or when you leave home.
• The use of portable kerosene heaters is prohibited in Massachusetts for home use.

Maintenance of natural gas equipment

Natural gas is a safe and efficient way to cook, heat our homes and warm water.
• Have your furnace and hot water heaters checked professionally every year.
• Do not use or store gasoline or paint supplies inside, where they can be lit by pilot light.

Gas leakage can be dangerous – if you smell something like rotten eggs, or if you think there may be a leak
• Move the outside.
• Do not smoke or turn on or off electrical switches – the spark may cause an explosion.
• Dial 911 at immediately.

Maintenance of oil heating equipment

Home heating with fuel oil is safe and efficient, as well.
• Have your furnace cleaned and checked professionally each year.
• Never let the tank become completely empty.
• If the oil burner releases smoke or soot in the house, call for service.

Carbon monoxide: the unseen threat

Heating equipment is the primary source of carbon monoxide ( CO) at home.
• Install carbon monoxide detectors at all levels of your home.
• Never use a gas stove or oven to heat.
• Have furnaces and chimneys checked every year by a professional.
• Keep the vents and exhaust pipes clear from drifting snow and bushes.

Keep Warm, Keep Safe

If you have any questions about home heating, contact your local fire department or visit the web site, www.mass.gov/keepwarmkeepsafe . By working together we can keep warm and keep safe.