Survey finds concerns about economy may increase house fires

Posted by Trina Kinstler - email

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The American Red Cross and the National Fire Protection Association has released results of a survey showing the majority of Americans (79 percent) are concerned about the rising cost of heating their homes, and may use an alternative heating source to reduce their bills this winter.

The survey identified behaviors related to appliance maintenance and cooking that could also present home fire hazards this winter.

"As we head into, what by all accounts is likely to be a very costly heating season, these survey results and Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 5 - 11) provide a critical opportunity for us to remind people about the things they can do to prevent home fires and keep their families safe and warm this winter," said NFPA President James M. Shannon. "If people use alternative heat sources to reduce energy costs, it is critical they use devices that are new or in good working order, and they turn off units when they go to bed or leave the room."

According to NFPA reports, cooking and heating are the leading causes of home fires. The survey revealed that 48 percent of households will us an alternative heating source to reduce their bills this winter, such as portable space heaters, stoves, ovens and fireplaces. Thirty-six percent of people with fireplaces reported they have never cleaned or inspected their chimneys.

NFPA and the American Red Cross offer these safety tips:

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you must leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • Give space heaters space by keeping them at least three feet from anything that can burn. Turn off heaters when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas.