NEWBURY – As the temperature begins to drop this fall, Chief Douglas Janvrin and the Newbury Fire Department wish to share home heating safety tips with residents.
According to the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (DFS), home heating caused 7,053 fires over the past five years and is the second leading cause of home fires in Massachusetts.
“One if the most important things to do before using heating appliances in your house is to make sure they have been serviced by a professional and are working properly,” Chief Janvrin said. “Heating appliances such as fireplaces and pellet stoves that aren’t regularly cleaned and serviced pose a greater fire risk.”
The Newbury Fire Department wishes to share the following winter home heating safety tips from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:
- Install and regularly test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home.
- Never use a stove, oven or grill for heat.
- On an annual basis, furnaces, boilers and chimneys should checked and serviced by a professional.
- Be sure to keep appliance vents and exhaust pipes clear of drifting snow and bushes.
- Practice home fire drills and establish an escape plan with everyone in your household.
- Practice fire safety and teach children to do the same.
- If using a fireplace or a solid fuel stove:
- Have the chimney professionally cleaned on an annual basis.
- Check that your stove is approved by a national testing agency.
- Obtain a building permit prior to installing a stove.
- Make sure anything that can burn is three feet away from the stove or fireplace.
- Put any ashes in a metal container to dispose of them, and store them away from the house.
- If using a space heater:
- Space heaters should not be used as a primary heating system.
- Make sure anything that can burn is kept at least three feet away from the space heater.
- Never leave a space heater on before falling asleep or leaving the house.
- It is illegal to use portable kerosene heaters in Massachusetts for the home.
- When using natural gas to cook and/or heat a home, be sure to properly maintain that system:
- Have the furnace and hot water heater professionally checked on an annual basis.
- Never use or store gasoline or painting equipment indoors where they could be ignited by the pilot light.
- If you smell something similar to rotten eggs or believe there may be a gas leak, evacuate, do not smoke or turn off electrical switches and call 911.
- In order to maintain oil heating systems:
- Have your boiler professionally cleaned and checked on an annual basis.
- Do not allow the tank to become completely empty.
- If the oil burner releases smoke or soot indoors, call for service.
For more fire safety tips and recommendations, visit www.mass.gov/keepwarmkeepsafe.