As temperatures drop, many Mid-Missourians turn to thermostats

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COLUMBIA, Missouri (KMIZ)

As temperatures continue to drop in Show Me State, many are looking for the thermostat and a national association is reminding homeowners of the dangers of heating equipment.

Heating equipment causes 14% of household fires each year and is responsible for 19% of civilian deaths, according to research by the National Fire Protection Association.

Research indicates that $ 1.1 billion in property damage is caused each year by heating equipment.

The association says there is a clear seasonal pattern of heating equipment fires, most occurring during the colder winter months.

Space heaters were the most common cause of heating equipment fires, accounting for the vast majority of fatalities and injuries.

The NFPA has published as part of its research a number of home safety practices for those who turn on heaters for the first time this season.

Safety practices include:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heaters.
• Maintain a three-foot child-free zone around fireplaces and heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, and central heating equipment in accordance with local codes and the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Have heaters and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually by a professional.
• Remember to turn off portable heaters when you leave a room or go to bed.
• Always use the correct type of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer, for fuel heaters.
• Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent embers from flying into the room. Make sure the ashes are cool before placing them in a bin for removal.

The NFPA says that one of the main causes of these heating equipment fires is not cleaning the equipment, which accounts for a quarter of all heating equipment fires.

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