By: Dan Messineo
The American Red Cross calls home fires "America's biggest disaster threat." The Red Cross said there are few easy steps you can follow to help prevent home fires like the one that destroyed a Lincoln home Monday night. Fire investigators said that fire was caused by fireplace ashes stored in the garage. The ashes re ignited and the fire quickly spread.
The Red Cross reports that heating equipment fires are the second leading cause of home fires. The National Fire Protection Association said that half of all home heating equipment fires happen during December, January and February.
The Red Cross recommends a few sensible tips to keep homes safe while using heating equipment or a fire place.
- All heaters need space. Keep all 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.
- 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.