It’s time to turn the heat back on in cooler parts of the country and the American Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region urges families to safely heat their home to avoid home fires.
Heating equipment is the second leading causes of home fires, which typically rise during the colder months. The Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with community partners has saved at least 1,414 lives by educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing free smoke alarms in high-risk areas across the country. Across the Texas Gulf Coast Region, Red Cross volunteers and partners have installed 762 alarms and helped make 254 households safer during 2022 fiscal year.
“Colder temperatures often bring the increased risk of home heating fires, and we want everyone to stay safe by properly warming their home,” said Vanessa Valdez, Regional Communications Manager, Texas Gulf Coast Region, American Red Cross.
HOW TO HEAT YOUR HOME SAFELY
A 2020 Red Cross survey showed that more than half of us have used a space heater — which is involved in most fatal home heating fires. Provide at least three feet of space around all heating equipment, and never leave space heaters unattended. Follow these additional tips:
- If you must use a space heater, place it on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor. Don’t place it on rugs and carpets, or near bedding and drapes; keep away children and pets.
- Plug space heater power cords directly into outlets — never an extension cord. Turn it off every time you leave the room or go to sleep.
- Never use a cooking range or oven to heat your home.
- Never leave a fire burning in the fireplace unattended. Make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home. Use a glass or metal fire screen to keep embers in the fireplace.
- Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected annually by a professional and cleaned if necessary.
TAKE TWO STEPS TO PREVENT FIRE TRAGEDIES
To help protect your family year-round, test your smoke alarms monthly and practice your home fire escape plan until everyone can escape in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to get out of a burning home before it’s too late.
Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in app stores.