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As temperatures fall, risk for home heating fires rises

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - With the cold temperatures moving into Hampton Roads, firefighters are reminding folks to stay safe while staying warm.

The Virginia Beach Fire Department says folks needs to take precautions when using a variety of auxiliary heating sources, including space heaters, kerosene heater, electric blankets and fireplaces.

Early Monday, a house fire in the Great Neck area is being attributed to improperly discarded fireplace ashes.

You can read more about fire prevention from the Virginia Beach Fire Department here.

Heating Equipment Safety Tips (from the National Fire Protection Association)

Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening.

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.

  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

  • Never use your oven to heat your home.

  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.

  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.

  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.

  • Test smoke alarms monthly