State fire marshal warns the public to beware of fire danger from
alternative heat sources
leading cause of fatal home heating fires in U.S.
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[January 18, 2014]
SPRINGFIELD — The Office of the
Illinois State Fire Marshal is raising awareness about winter fire
risks, especially with the use of space heaters and fireplaces as
alternative sources to heat homes. Nearly half of all home
heating-related fires occur from December to February, according to
the National Fire Safety Association.
"This is (a) very dangerous time for fires and carbon monoxide
poisoning. During this rough winter, it is imperative to remind the
public of the proper use of space heaters and other ways to stay
warm," said State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. "Although space
heaters provide heating, they could also bring major safety concerns
if adequate safety precautions are not followed."
In Illinois in 2012, 67 home fires were caused by alternative
heaters and 67 other fires were linked to chimneys and fireplaces.
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal recommends giving
heating equipment 3 feet of space between the device and anything
that can burn, including people. It is also important to make sure
there is adequate overhead clearance for space heaters.
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal also reminds
residents about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by many
furnaces, fireplaces and kerosene space heaters. It is important to
keep all systems and fireplaces well-maintained and clean. If a
kerosene space heater is used, make sure it is vented to prevent
carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Illinois Carbon Monoxide Detector Act (430 IL CS135) requires
that every dwelling unit and every structure that contains more than
one dwelling must be equipped with at least one approved carbon
monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every
room used for sleeping purposes. Working smoke alarms must be placed
at a maximum of 15 feet from sleeping quarters and at least one on
each level, including basements.
Remember the following safety practices when using space heaters
All heaters need
space. Keep anything that can burn — such as furniture, bedding,
paper or other flammable items — at least 3 feet away from
Have a 3-foot
"kid-free zone" around open fires and space heaters. Pets should
also be kept away from fireplaces and heaters.
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Always use the
right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for
fuel-burning space heaters.
electric space heaters, make sure they are UL-rated.
Plug space heaters
directly into the wall outlet, not to extension cords.
If kerosene space
heaters are used, look for UL-rated labels. Make sure the heater
is vented to avoid carbon monoxide problems.
Turn off space
heaters when you leave a room or go to bed.
fireplaces should only be used by adults.
should always be kept clean to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning
or smoke inhalation.
Use a utility
lighter or long match to light a fireplace.
These are reminders. Be smart and fire-safe. For more information
on fire safety, visit the OSFM website
Office of the State Fire
received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]