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Smoke Alarm & Heating Safety Tips for National Fire Prevention Week

by Daniel Estevao on October 13, 2016

national fire prevention week 2016 - check your smoke alarmsThe theme for this year’s National Fire Prevention Week is smoke alarms, specifically “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.

Smoke alarms have been the theme for three years in a row:

  • 2014 – “Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month”
  • 2015 – “Hear The Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!”
  • 2016 –  “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”

The reason why there is such a clear emphasis on smoke alarms and their life-saving value is because the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) continues to find data showing “that the public has many misconceptions about smoke alarms.”

Smoke Alarm Statistics

Here are some surprising NFPA statistics about smoke alarms:

  • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2009-2013 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.

“Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires” report. (PDF, 434 KB)

Watch Sparky the Fire Dog® demonstrate how to find the age of your smoke alarms:

Fire Prevention Week 2016 - Don't Wait Check the Date

Smoke alarms safety tip sheets

Smoke alarm tips for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (PDF, 670 KB)

Heating (Furnace, Fireplace & Space Heater) Statistics

To help you avoid a home fire in the first place, it’s important to consider that heating equipment is the leading cause of reported home fires.

So while you snuggle up for the winter, keep in mind the following statistics from the NFPA report, “”Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment”:

  • Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 84% of associated civilian deaths, 75% of civilian injuries, and 52% of direct property damage.
  • The leading factor contributing to ignition for home heating fire deaths (56%) was heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding.
  • The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (30%) was failure to clean, principally from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.

“Home Fires Involving Heating Equipment” report (PDF)

Heating (Furnace, Fireplace & Space Heater) Safety Tips

Winter is the most common time of year for home fires. This is because we are using heating equipment to keep the inside of our homes warm. Unfortunately, home heating has can create dangerous conditions like CO poisoning and home fires.

Implement these NFPA home heating tips to prevent most heating-related fires from happening in the first place:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

national fire prevention week - heating safety tips

Images: reproduced from NFPA’s website, www.nfpa.org/publiceducation. ©2016 NFPA.

In addition to heating safety, we also have lots of tips and advice for winterizing your home for extra savings this winter.

Learn how to winterize your home for the coming cold:


Call Pacific Air Systems Heating & Cooling at 253.292.3995 for 24/7 service!

We’ve been proudly serving our communities in Federal Way, Graham, Spanaway, University Place, Steilacoom, Sumner, Lakewood, Puyallup, Tacoma and Gig Harbor since 1984.

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