It’s time to be winter safe!

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From the Pinal Rural Fire Rescue

Sadly, many do not take the time to prepare before using their heating sources in winter and lose everything they own in a fire. In 2011, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,600 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 400 civilian deaths, 1,520 civilian injuries, and $893 million in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 14% of all reported home fires.

Facts & figures

Based on 2007-2011 annual averages:

Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths.

The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (53%) of home heating fire deaths.

Half (50%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.

Everyone should check this list to make sure you’re prepared!

• Have your furnace inspected and serviced

• Ensure your chimney and vents are clean

• Use only dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace or woodstove

• Be sure to use a fireplace screen to stop embers from flying out

• Have a covered metal container for ashes

• Children should stay 3 feet away from fire

• NEVER plug portable space heaters into extension cords – use only wall plugs

• Install or test smoke detectors

• Install or test your carbon monoxide detectors

Pinal Rural Fire & Rescue wants to wish everyone to have a warm and enjoyable winter. Anyone in the PRF&R 911 service area can contact us for a free home safety inspection. Call 520-465-5300.

(Source – National Fire Protection Association)

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