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Authorities Issue Warnings For Supplementary Heating

January 26, 2016
by Dan Voigt , Emmetsburg News

After a tragic house fire claimed the life of a mother and three children in Boone County last week, Emmetsburg Fire Chief Frank Kliegl is joining with the Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office in cautioning area residents about the use of supplemental heating during the winter months. A preliminary report on the multiple-fatality house fire in Boone County pointed at a space heater as the probably cause of that tragic blaze.

According to the State Fire Marshal's Office, nearly half of all home fires that occur in the months of December, January and February involve some type of home heating equipment, whether an electric space heater, wood burning stove or other type of heater. A few basic safety tips will go a long way to help keep your home safe during cold weather.

The most important safety tip is to keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as an existing furnace, wood stove or portable heater.

It is also important to only use heating equipment that has been approved by a recognized testing laboratory.

Always turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or retiring for the night.

Make sure that fireplaces have sturdy screens to prevent sparks from flying out of the fireplace into the room. Along with that, it is also important to burn only dry, seasoned wood in a fireplace. Always allow ashes to cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container, which is then kept a safe distance from the home.

"The most important thing I can emphasize is for everyone to make sure that their homes have working smoke alarms," Kliegl noted. "A working smoke alarm can provide you with an early warning if there is a fire. You should test your smoke alarms monthly. And, make a fire escape plan and practice it with your family."

The Iowa State Fire Marshal's Office along with the Emmetsburg Fire Department are urging everyone to "Put a Freeze on Winter Fires."



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