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Columbia Fire Department (South Carolina)
Monday December 7th, 2009 :: 02:55 p.m. EST


Columbia Fire Department


December 7, 2009

Michael Thomas, Public Fire Education Officer, 545-3701

Heating Safety

As a result of colder temperatures and smaller budgets, many residents are looking for less expensive ways of staying warm. The winter months are the deadliest time of the year for the fire service. The Columbia Fire Department is urging area residents to use the following safety precautions when heating their homes.

Portable heaters

• The Columbia Fire Department strongly discourages the use of portable heaters.
• Always read and follow manufacturer’s instructions.
• Before purchasing a space heater make sure that it is approved by UL or another independent testing laboratory.
• Purchase heaters with automatic shutoff features.
• Keep anything that can burn 3ft away from heating appliances.
• Unplug the unit when not in use, when leaving the room, and before going to bed.
• Plug heater directly into an outlet. Do not use extension cords.

Kerosene heaters

• Read and follow manufacturer instructions.
• Provide three feet of clearance from items that can burn.
• Never use gasoline.
• Refuel only after the unit has cooled completely.
• Use and refuel in areas that are ventilated.

Fire place and wood stoves

• Have chimney and connectors inspected annually by a professional.
• Clean as often as needed.
• Be sure to open the flue.
• Provide a screen for fireplaces.
Gas or electric furnaces

Gas and electric furnaces should be inspected and maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

Carbon monoxide detectors

If you have any fuel burning appliances in your home you need a carbon monoxide detector. Fuel burning appliances include: gas stove, gas or wood fire place, gas hot water heater, gas dyer or any other appliance that is not powered by battery or electricity.

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms are the most important piece of life safety equipment a family can have in their home. A working smoke alarm increases your chance of surviving a fire by 50 percent. Smoke alarms should be placed on the ceiling or on the wall 6 to 8 inches from the ceiling. For the minimum protection provide at least one smoke alarm on each level outside of sleeping area. For maximum protection install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside of all sleeping areas and at least one on each level of the home. Test smoke alarms monthly. Replace batteries annually. Replace the smoke alarm every ten years or sooner if it stops working.

Columbia Fire Department (South Carolina)
1800 Laurel St
Columbia, SC 29201

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 803-545-3700

Michael Thomas
Fire Prevention

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