The Indiana State Fire Marshal’s Office, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority encourage Hoosiers to pursue safe ways to stay warm this season.
Heating equipment was the second leading cause of home fires in the United States in 2008. More than 66,000 reported fires caused 480 civilian deaths, 1,660 civilian injuries and more than $1 billion in property damage.
The leading factor contributing to home heating fires was failure to properly clean creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire, from solid-fueled heating equipment such as chimneys. Regular cleaning and annual inspections by a professional chimney sweep will help keep a fireplace free from obstructions and creosote.
Among fatal home heating fires, the leading factor contributing to the ignition of the fires was heating equipment placed too close to flammable materials. Keep all flammable materials, such as draperies, blankets, bedding and upholstered furniture at least three feet away from heating equipment. The National Fire Protection Association recommends buying a space heater that carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory and is legal for use in your community. They also recommend that space heaters be turned off when you leave the room.