According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all home heating fires nationwide occur in December, January and February. Additionally, one in every seven home fires and one in every five home fire deaths involve heating equipment, according to the NFPA.
The Iowa City Fire Department and NFPA recommend that any flammable items be kept at least three feet away from any heat source, such as fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators or space heaters. There should be only one heat-producing appliance plugged into an electrical outlet at a time.
The fire department also recommends keeping portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away from the residence as possible. Carbon monoxide detectors should be tested monthly and a qualified professional should clean and inspect your chimney each year.
The holiday season also brings a heightened risk of home fires. According to the NFPA, half of all home decoration fires in December are started by candles and Christmas Day is the peak day for candle fires nation wide. Candles should be kept at least 12 inches away from anything that burns.
The fire department also advises that a dry Christmas tree can burn very hot and very fast. More than one in every five Christmas tree fires were caused by the tree being too close to a heat source, according to the NFPA. If you have a tree, make sure it is at least three feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents and that it does not block any exits.