As summer winds down and we prepare to turn on the heat, it’s time to think about fire safety. Winter fires are not necessarily common, but the causes for them are pretty predictable. You can easily prevent cold weather fires with just a little bit of maintenance and by employing some common-sense safety procedures.
Major Causes of Cold Weather Fires
The two most common causes of cold weather fires are heating equipment and holiday decorations.
- Cold weather fires involving heating equipment. On average, heating equipment causes close to 500 deaths a year, 1,500 injuries, and more than $1 billion in property damage. Space heaters are responsible for 44% of fires caused by home heating equipment but as much as 86% of deaths. Most of the time, these fires resulted from the heating source being too close to combustible materials.
Another frequent cause of home heating fires is the fireplace. Embers from the fireplace may drift onto combustible materials and ignite fires, or the fires may result from creosote building up in the chimney or flue.
Since 2016, both of these types of fires have diminished. Space heaters frequently have automatic cutoff devices that go into effect when they are tipped over, and manufacturers have placed more guarding around the heating coils of electric heaters and the burners of kerosene heaters. As to the decline in chimney fires, experts surmise that more homeowners are gravitating to gas fireplaces.
- Cold weather fires caused by home decorations. Most cold weather fires during the holidays are caused by candles. Other causes are frayed or otherwise improperly operating electric lights, a Christmas tree that’s too close to a heat source, or a kitchen fire during the cooking of holiday meals.
Fire experts advise never using lit candles on a Christmas tree; indeed, it’s better to forgo lit candles altogether. Set trees or any other holiday decorations a good distance from heat sources such as space heaters or fireplaces. When preparing holiday meals, keep an eye on multiple dishes cooking in and on the stove.
For more on cold weather fires, contact Aggressive Mechanical Contractors of Neptune City.