Yuma, Arizona - This time of year, Yuma’s weather is almost always much better than that being experienced in other parts of the country. That does not mean that temperatures can’t dip down low enough to make things uncomfortably cool. When that happens, sometimes alternative heating sources are used. Improper use of heating equipment can have serious results. Space heaters accounted for two out of every five home heating fires.

Every year, tens of thousands of heating related fires occur, causing hundreds of deaths. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2009 to 2013 there was an average of 56,000 home heating fires per year. and an average of 470 people who lost their lives in those fires. Better designs and more attention to safety have been reducing the number of heating fires. Prior to 1990, heating related fires were the leading cause of home fires. Since then it has been cooking related fires. Here are some tips:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment (furnace, wood stove, portable heater, fireplace, etc.).
  • Only use heating equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory. And follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure your space heater is a modern variety that will automatically shut off if it tips over!
  • Never use your oven for heating.
  • Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Make sure all fuel burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly.

For more information, or to set up a safety or injury prevention class, call Mike Erfert at 928-373-4850.