ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As winter approaches and temperatures start to drop, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) wants to make sure residents are heating their homes safely. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association, half of all home heating fires happen in December, January, and February.
According to FASNY Secretary John D’Alessandro, if you have an oil or gas furnace heating your home, you should have it inspected and cleaned as soon as possible. Homeowners should also have their chimneys cleaned and inspected each year.
When it comes to electric-powered heaters, such as space heaters, D’Alessandro said to keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. Always remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
When it comes to fuel-powered heaters, such as propane or kerosene, D’Alessandro said you need to be extra careful. Not only should you keep children, pets, and things that can burn away from it, you need proper ventilation in your home.
These types of heaters give off carbon monoxide, said D’Alessandro, which is the “silent killer.” Everyone should have working carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in their homes, but especially if using a fuel-powered heater, said D’Alessandro.
“You’re better off using electric,” said D’Alessandro.
If your power goes out during a winter storm, under no circumstances should you use a generator inside your home or another enclosed space, such as a garage, said D’Alessandro. Generators should be placed outside a reasonable distance from the house and other structures.
As with fuel-powered heaters, generators produce carbon monoxide. Depending on the size of the generator, it can quickly fill up a room with the colorless, odorless gas, said D’Alessandro.
You should not plug all your appliances into one extension cord and you should never plug an electric heater into an extension cord. “It’s extremely easy for extension cords to catch on fire,” said D’Alessandro.
Make sure you have at least one working smoke and carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, all year round, said D’Alessandro. You should test your smoke alarms at least once a month.
“Use common sense,” said D’Alessandro.