Don’t plug More than One Heating Source into an Outlet  

As cooler temperatures arrive in Northeast Georgia, residents are encouraged to use caution when heating their homes.  Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as furniture, clothing, or bedding, was the leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for 56% of home heating fire deaths nationally. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is also a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes. Between 2009-2013, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 56,000 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 470 civilian deaths, 1,490 civilian injuries, and $1 billion in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 16% of all reported home fires. Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for 40% of home heating fires and 84% of home heating fire deaths.  Rabun County Assistant Fire Chief Justin Upchurch offers this safety advice when heating your home. “Well, any time we have cold temperatures you are going to see people that are going to start to use their fireplaces more and they are going to use space heaters. Just a couple of safety tips for that. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from any kind of fireplaces, wood stoves, or space heaters. One very important thing is, only plug one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at a time and never use a power strip for any type of heater.”  In addition, make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, which can cause illness and even death. Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to provide early warning of carbon monoxide. Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional. Turn space heaters off when you leave a room or go to sleep.