Prone to use alternate heat source to warm home during winter months? State fire officials issue warning

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A young boy with a stove burning.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) –Winter weather is here and so are the dangers of using alternative heat to warm your home.

More than half of all home heating fires occur in winter months according to the State Fire Marshal’s office, so officials are urging Ohioans to stay safe with these reminders:

  • Alternative heat sources need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.
  • Make sure your alternative heat sources have ‘tip switches’ These are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
  • Do not use your kitchen’s oven or range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot.
  • Refuel heaters outdoors.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, and at least three feet away from anything that could burn. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.
  • Be careful when using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children.
  • Make certain that your home’s smoke alarms are in proper working order.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • All smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries replaced at least twice a year.
  • Have a fire escape plan that includes two ways out and a designated meeting place for family members once they are outside the home.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow, ice and debris for easy access by the fire department.

It’s also a good idea to check regularly on elderly or disabled neighbors offering to test their smoke alarms and inspect their homes for fire hazards.

“It may be tempting to use alternative heating right now, but it is also important to do so safely,” said State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon. “The use of alternative heating sources can greatly increase the chance of a fire occurring. By following some basic safety tips, you can keep yourself and your family safe during this winter weather.”

Additional safety tips are available from the State Fire Marshal’s Office here.

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