Yuma, Arizona - When we experience a “cold” (well Yuma cold) snap like we have this week, people often turn to alternative heating sources. Every year, tens of thousands of heating related fires occur, causing hundreds of deaths. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2012 to 2016 there was an average of more than 52,000 home heating fires per year (15% of all reported home fires), and an average of 490 people 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 (5 feet or more from open flames) 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 properly vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Test smoke alarms at least monthly.

For more information about fire and injury prevention classes we offer, contact the Yuma Fire Department Public Information Office at 928-373-4855,