Heat your home safely this winter

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Turning on the heat or using a fireplace is a fall and winter tradition as common as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Whether your heat is electric, gas-powered or from a wood stove or fireplace, it's important to heat your home safely. Heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires and half of those fires occur in December, January and February.

James Jarvis with the Red Cross was on WECT's First at Four on Thursday to discuss safe home heating and keeping those fires from starting.

A few of Jarvis' tips were:

  • 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 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.

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