We are in peak season for home heating fires. Half of all home heating fires occur in the months of December, January, and February. Space heaters are the type of heating equipment most often involved in home heating fires, figuring in two of every five of these fires and accounting for 84 percent of associated civilian deaths, 75 percent of civilian injuries, and 52 percent of direct property damage.
Recent incidents illustrate how damaging fires involving space heaters can be. According to WCSC-TV, a South Carolina family was displaced on December 30th when a fire started from a space heater that had been left running and spread to a nearby sofa. “They were lucky they came home when they did,” said Colleton County Fire Chief Barry McRoy. “We were able to save the residence and most of their belongings.”
The news station also reports that on New Year’s Day, South Carolina resident Kelli Parker said her dogs alerted her to a fire at her home. “Our house is destroyed,” Parker was quoted as saying. “All of our clothes are burned. We’ve lost everything.” The fire chief points to space heaters as the source.
NFPA’s Dan Doofus video, “Home Heating Safety,” which can be accessed on the Put a Freeze on Winter Fires campaign page, is an engaging, entertaining, and effective tool for educating the public about heating safety. The page also includes infographics, statistics, and links to reports related to winter fire safety.