Get ahead of the winter freeze and prevent home heating fires this winter

Get ahead of the winter freeze and prevent home heating fires this winter

TRI-CITIES, Wash. – As we head into the winter months, we'll start cranking up our heaters, getting the fire place going or bringing out space heaters to keep warm. However, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires deaths.

It’s not too early to begin preparing for the heating season. Here's some tips to get ahead of the winter freeze.

"Fire can and will happen to you at some point in your life," said Ben Shearer, risk prevention specialist for Pasco Fire.

Shearer said you should be prepared and think about fire prevention ahead of time.

"Everyone says, ‘Oh it won’t happen to me, and when it does it's a major devastation," Shearer said.

With temperatures dropping outside and thermostats cranking up, Shearer said you should have all heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional.

"That fire can get up into the attic and into your living space," he said. "The best thing is to avoid it all together, make sure those systems are maintained make sure they're cleaned out.”

He also warns people who have baseboard heaters to check to make sure nothing has fallen into them or furniture bumped up next to it.

Space heaters are cozy, but keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. Shearer's infrared camera showed how a small space heater can quickly get over 200 degrees.

"So if you had a blanket or piles of paper that got pushed up against this heater and you didn't keep that three foot clearance in front of it, you could easily have a fire," he explained.

Candles are a leading cause of fires during the holidays, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. A candle burnt down a Kennewick home this week.

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"For us it's sad because we know it was preventable," Shearer said.

Shearer suggests there are safer options to decorate this winter.

"LED candles are not that expensive and they feel like real candles, they look like real candles, they smell like real candles and they won't cause a fire in your home," he said.

Many fires they respond to, Shearer said could have been prevented with a little fore thought.

Now that the cold weather is here, experts said it’s time to think about heating safety to make sure your family is protected for the whole winter.

Firefighters are also encouraging residents in Benton and Franklin County to sign up for CodeRED to receive any emergency alerts from fires to evacuation notices.

CodeRED is free and you can sign up online or download the app.

Follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Benton County, visit OR Franklin County, visit
  2. Click on the CodeRED icon
  3. Complete the instructions

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