Florida is getting some cold weather. Believe it!
Heating Safety Tips
As we’ve mentioned before, Floridians do use heating equipment to keep warm. But misusing heaters is a dangerous act that could create preventable fire hazards. Florida rarely ever gets freezing temperatures, true. But it does happen and it gets chilly enough here to make us want to fire up the heater or use other methods to stay warm. And it’s not just heating equipment that can cause fires. The holidays in particular are not the most wonderful time of the year when it comes to fire hazards. Holiday lighting and increased use of electrical devices can spark home fires as well.
So with that in mind, let’s look at some Florida heating safety tips as we prepare ourselves to stay warm:
Articles like this one exist for a reason: because home fire deaths keep happening! So before you start using any heating equipment, it’s important to inspect and clean them before use. Space heaters are especially dangerous for Florida homeowners, and are a leading cause of preventable home fire deaths. Keep all space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable or combustible items like drapes, linens and clothing. Only use space heaters as a supplementary source to heat a particular space (hence the term space heater). These devices are not a substitute for a home or office’s heating system.
Never use extension cords with space heaters either, as people can trip over them and not only injure themselves, but potentially knock over the heater and cause a fire! And be sure to inspect the space heater’s cord for damage. When using a space heater, place it on a flat, level surface. Obviously this means never placing it on carpet or on any piece of furniture where it can be knocked over or set something ablaze.
Also keep an eye out for the UL symbol on your electric heater, which indicates it has been inspected for safety.
It’s hard to believe, but many Florida homes actually have fireplaces! Although they probably don’t get much use in the Sunshine State, wood-burning fireplaces can pose fire hazards for homeowners. So before you light that fireplace up, make sure the chimney flue is open to vent out any gas. Also make sure you have a spark guard to prevent embers from flying around and burning stuff like your carpet or drapes. Don’t forget to extinguish the fire and dispose of any ashes before going to bed or leaving the house. And of course, don’t burn any paper in your fireplace or leave it unattended.
Fire Pit Safety
Using a fire pit in Florida is a rare treat! It’s a fantastic way to have a social gathering on a chilly Florida evening, but open flames can pose a threat to your home or neighboring homes. Flying embers can latch onto trees, grass, wood and other flammable surfaces, so make sure you clear enough space before setting up a fire pit. No matter what kind of fire pit you’re gathered around, make sure it has proper clearance and its surroundings are protected. Keep children and pets away from fire pits too. Click here for some excellent tips on fire pit safety from our friends at Super Heat and Air!
Christmas Tree Safety
We know you’re excited to be “rockin’ around the Christmas tree!” and having a happy holiday! But your holiday won’t be so happy if that tree starts a fire! Christmas tree fires might not seem like a common occurrence outside of the movies, but they do happen and can spread fast. Keep at least 3 feet of distance from your X-mas tree and heat sources like candles, space heaters and fireplaces. Also make sure to nourish your tree with plenty of water, as dry trees are more likely to catch fire. As for Christmas light safety, make sure they have the UL label that indicates they’ve been tested for safety to avoid electrical fires. Lastly, be sure to unplug the lights before you leave the house or go to bed.
Here are some additional heating safety tips while you try to keep warm:
- Keep any and all flammable items away from any heating equipment including furnaces, fireplaces and portable space heaters.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- Make sure your home’s heating system has been inspected and serviced and is working properly. Call an HVAC professional to have your home’s cooling and heating system maintained twice a year.
- Ensure you have working smoke detectors in every area of your home and test your smoke alarms monthly by pressing their test button.