Heating Safety tips from the Columbia Fire Department

Heating Safety

With an expected colder winter and heating costs on the rise the Columbia Fire Department is urging area residents to use the following safety precautions when heating their homes.

Safety Tips:

  • Always read and follow manufacturer’s instructions.

Space Heaters

  • The Columbia Fire Department strongly discourages the use of portable heaters.
  • Before purchasing a space heater make sure that it has the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Also choose heaters with automatic shut-off features.
  • Provide 3ft of clearance around and above the heater.
  • Unplug the unit when not in use, when leaving the room, or before going to bed.
  • Plug heater directly into an outlet. Do not plug space heaters into extension cords.
  • Do not use heaters to dry clothing.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Read and follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Clean the unit as often and as recommend by the manufacturer.
  • Use only approved type of kerosene.
  • Never use Gasoline.
  • Refuel only after the unit has cooled completely.
  • Use and refuel in areas that are ventilated.
  • Provide three feet of clearance.
  • Fire Place and wood stoves.
  • Have chimney and connectors inspected annually by a professional.
  • Clean as often as needed.
  • Be sure to open the flue.
  • Provide a screen for fire places

Gas or Electric Furnaces

  • Gas and electric furnaces that have not been used for several months will most likely have dust on the heating elements. This can cause a burning smell or even a light white haze of smoke when first operated for the season. This is normal and should go away after the first usage.
  • Gas and electric furnaces should be inspected and maintained in accordance of manufacturer’s recommendations.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • If you have any fuel burning appliances, in your home you need a carbon monoxide detector. Fuel burning appliances include: Gas stove, gas or wood fire place, gas hot water heaters, gas dyers or any other appliance that is not powered by battery or electricity.

Smoke Detectors

  • Smoke detectors are the most important piece of life safety equipment a family can have in their home. A working smoke detect decreases you chance of dying in a fire by 50 percent. Smoke detectors should be placed on the ceiling or on the wall 6 to 8 inches from the ceiling. For the minimum protection provide at least one smoke detector on each level out side of sleeping area. For maximum protection provide one in each room. Smoke detectors should be tested every month and shall be replaced as need or every ten years.

Remember to change your batteries!