Fire Safety: Warming Up to Cooler Temperatures

In addition to colorful leaves and beaming pumpkins, October also brings the first chilly winds of autumn.  Before you know it, you’ll be greeted by frost on your windshield in the morning and spending the better part of windy afternoons raking leaves.  Bittersweet as these transitioning days may be, you are ready for the cooler temperatures.  You’ve got your wool sweaters, hot cider, and, of course, the best remedy for cold days: a fireplace

Even though you may be ready for the chilly days ahead, your heating system may not.  October is National Fire Safety month, and according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency “heating fires account for 36% of residential house fires in rural areas every year.” So, before you haul in the firewood and dig out your matches, consider the following tips from the National Fire Protection Association about how to keep your home and family safe this season:

  • “Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.”  As aesthetically pleasing as those drapes and throw rug may be, make sure they’re a safe distance away from your fireplace. Even the smallest spark is capable of igniting your favorite tapestry.
  • “Have a three-foot ‘kid-free zone’ around open fires and space heaters.”  Many of us have happy, childhood memories of gathering around a fireplace or wood stove after a day of  fun in the cold outdoors. As you carry on the tradition, make sure children and pets remain at least 36 inches away from heat sources.

  • “Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.”  Before the cold days arrive in full force, have a professional thoroughly inspect your heating equipment. If you have a fireplace, a Chimney Sweep can clean your chimney, check for damage, and install a cap that keeps small animals and debris out.

  • “Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.”  Portable heaters are often overlooked as potential fire hazards because of their small appliance-like usage.  However, due to the extreme temperatures they can reach and how easily they can be knocked over, they remain one of the main causes of residential fires.

  • “Test smoke alarms monthly.”  Don’t trust the packaging about how long those batteries last; check your smoke alarms at least once a month to ensure they are working properly.

  • “Install and maintain CO alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.”  As a colorless, odorless gas, carbon monoxide would be impossible to detect if it were leaking into your home from your fuel-burning equipment. Make and uphold the investment to keep your home and family safe by installing a detector.

With the summer days behind us, it’s finally time to warm-up to the cooler temperatures. Make this autumn season a safe one: go to for more tips on how to prevent residential fires, and ask your Preferred Mutual agent about renters’ or homeowners’ insurance to protect your home and valuables in the event of a fire.  Contact our office at (845) 246-7134 for more information. 

***  This information has been prepared and is intended for educational purposes only and is not legal advice and/or an authoritative guide. The information and content provided here is not intended to be relied upon for making personal, safety, insurance, medical, legal or other decisions.