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COUNTY OF PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY OF PRINCE WILLIAM DEPARTMENT OF 1 County Complex Court

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									                 COUNTY OF PRINCE WILLIAM                                                DEPARTMENT OF
                 1 County Complex Court (MC470), Prince William, Virginia 22192-9201
                 (703) 792-6800 Metro 631-1703, Ext. 6800, FAX 792-7691                   FIRE & RESCUE



Kevin J. McGee
     Chief

                                              PRESS RELEASE

      For Immediate Release                                           Contact: Kim Y. Hylander
      January 8, 2010                                                 Public Information Specialist
                                                                      Office: (703) 792-6162
                                                                      E-mail: khylander@pwcgov.org


           Use of Alternative Heating Sources Major Contributor in Residential Fires
      According to the National Fire Protection Association, during 2003 – 2006, the leading
      contributor to home heating fires and deaths was heating equipment in which
      combustible items such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress and bedding, were
      too close to the heating unit. An additional contributor to home heating fires was
      improper maintenance, primarily, failure to clean the equipment. This accounted for
      more than one-quarter (25%) of all residential heating fires. Reports indicate that during
      2006, heating equipment was involved in approximately 64,100 home structure fires,
      540 deaths, 1,400 injuries, and $943 million in direct property damage.
      “Home heating fires are preventable,” states the U.S. Fire Administration and advises
      the public to adhere to the following safety tips to avoid a potential hazard when using
      alternative heat sources:
      Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces
        • Should be of good quality, design and sturdy construction
        • Approved by a recognized testing laboratory as Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
        • Chimneys, annually, should be professionally inspected and cleaned
        • Use a sturdy metal or glass fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying into the
          room and igniting carpet and furniture
        • When using synthetic logs, follow package instructions
        • Never use flammable liquids to ignite or accelerate a fire
        • Never burn charcoal indoors
           o Charcoal emits lethal amounts of carbon monoxide
        • Make sure fire is out before going to bed
        • Never close the damper with hot ashes in the fireplace
           o A fire can rekindle releasing toxic carbon monoxide into the home
           o Allow ashes to cool prior to placing in a metal container for disposal
           o Place metal container outside of the home; a good distance away from the
             home and other combustible items


                                                       -more-
Use of Alternative Heating Sources Major Contributor in Residential Fires
January 8, 2010
Page 2

Kerosene Heaters
   •   Thoroughly read and follow the unit’s instruction manual
   •   Always use water clear K-1 grade kerosene
   •   Never use gasoline or other volatile/explosive fuels
   •   Never refuel the unit when it is indoors, hot, or in use
   •   Always provide the unit with adequate ventilation
        o Burning kerosene produces carbon monoxide and other dangerous gases
Electric Heaters
   • Newly purchased electric heaters should:
       o Have a thermostat control instrument
       o Automatically turn off when tipped over
       o Display the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label or a similar recognized testing
         laboratory label
   • Never use extension cords
   • Never place items on top of the heater or inside the front grill
   • Maintain, at minimum, 3 feet clearance surrounding the heater
   • Never leave children or pets unattended when heater is in use
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Symptoms of CO poisoning are often mistaken for the flu, i.e. headaches, dizziness,
disorientation, nausea, and fatigue
   • Install CO alarms outside individual bedrooms and near sleeping areas
   • Annually, have a qualified technician service your heating system, water heater,
      gas, oil or coal burning appliances
   • Never heat your home or garage using a range, oven, charcoal grill or hibachi
   • Never keep your car idling/running in a garage with the garage door open or
      closed
Additional safety measures
   • Install working smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, on
     every level of the home including the basement
   • If possible, interconnect all smoke alarms, so when one alarms, they all will alarm
   • Perform monthly test to ensure the alarm is working
       o If battery operated, change batteries in the spring and fall when you change
         your clocks
*Combination smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarms are available at retail
stores. Check with your local retailer.
*Information regarding smoke alarms for the deaf and hearing impaired is available by
visiting the National Fire Protection Association at www.nfpa.org.

Sprinklers save lives!
The combination of working smoke alarms and residential sprinklers reduces home fire
deaths by 82%. For more information, visit Prince William County Department of Fire
and Rescue at www.pwcgov.org/SmokeAlarms and www.pwcgov.org/Sprinklers.
                                           -end-

								
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