Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Regional Executive Corner with Joel R. Sullivan - February 2016

February is one of the coldest months of the year, and with a decrease in temperatures, comes an increased risk of home fires. Heating sources are the second leading cause of home fire deaths, and fatal home fires increase during the winter months. Since November, the Red Cross in Tennessee has served over 400 families affected by devastating home fires.

While the numbers are staggering, the good news is that there are steps you can take when using heating equipment to reduce your risk of a home fire. We are urging everyone to use caution when using space heaters and other heating sources, and to make a plan in case of a home fire.

To reduce the risk of heating related fires, the Red Cross recommends the following tips:
  • · All heaters need space. Keep children, pets and things that can burn (paper, matches, bedding, furniture, clothing, carpets, and rugs) at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • · Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended, and use a glass or metal fire screen to keep fire and embers in the fireplace. 
  • · Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
  • · Turn off portable space heaters every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • · Have wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected annually by a professional, and cleaned if necessary.
  • · If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs, or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Plug power cords directly into outlets and never into an extension cord.
You can visit redcross.org/homefires to find out more about how to protect yourself and your loved ones homes from fire.

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