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Winter Heating Dangers

Steve Wagner

Your house is a bit chilly in this suddenly changing weather, but you aren’t quite ready to switch over your central heat unit. You plug in your trusty space heater…but did you know that the use of that heater, if not properly monitored, could easily be the most dangerous thing you do this winter?

Space Heaters: Never Leave Unattended
We know that may sound extreme, but the most recent statistics show that space heater fires account for an average of 14% of all home fires every year. Did you know that heating equipment, like space heaters, were the cause for an estimated 53,600 home structural fire in the United States in 2011. Along with these fires, 400 civilians lost their lives, 1,520 more suffered from injuries, and these fires caused over $893 million in property damage.

When it comes to safety with your home heating systems, the most important things to remember are:

  • Don’t leave space heaters running when they are unattended, or when you leave your home.
  • Don’t place heaters close to any loose fabrics or materials, such as curtains, furniture, etc.
  • Don’t neglect the cleaning and maintenance of heating systems. Clogged duct work, stopped up chimneys, and dirty equipment can lead to fire hazards faster than most other causes.
  • Don’t let children or minors operate heating equipment without supervision.

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent and Deadly Killer
Just as significant a killer as home heating fires, Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the silent killer and is responsible for an average of 430 deaths per year in the United States. The NFPA and the CPSC have worked together to created a new training program for nationwide fire workers to utilize in training for citizens to be aware of the dangers of CO, and how to best avoid injury or death because of it.

The winter months hold the highest risk for CO injuries, because the gas is formed as a result of fuel that does not completely burn. With the increased use of hot water heaters, and other home heating systems in the winter months, these fuels are burned more regularly. The Carbon Monoxide gas that is released is not only invisible, but it is also completely odorless, making the need for a detector a necessity.

The online toolkit from the National Fire Protection Association is available to the public with a host of resources for education and information about CO and the dangers associated with it. Learn the risks, and also learn the signs of CO poisoning so you can recognize it before it is too late.

Have you or a loved one been injured in a home heating fire? Perhaps you had a scare with Carbon Monoxide gas due to a defective product or problem with your rental. The personal injury and product liability attorneys at Wagner Reese can assist you with your recovery, and help you receive the compensation you deserve as a result of your injuries. Call us today at (888) 204-8440 to schedule your free consultation.


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