Metro Fire Departments Step Up Efforts to Educate on Home Heating Dangers

ANKENY, Iowa  --  This week many of you probably fired up your furnace or fireplace for the first time this season.  Firefighters know what that means: home heating fire season has begun.

“People are starting to use that supplemental heating. There are space heaters, turning the furnace on, getting the fireplace going,” said Brian O’Keefer, Des Moines Fire Department.

The National Fire Prevention Association says home heating equipment is the leading cause of house fires in the U.S.  The Des Moines Fire Department says there are three things to keep in mind to keep you and your family safe.

  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable objects
  • Schedule a furnace check up before you run it
  • If you’re going to use your fireplace, be sure to clean it first

Karen Peters with the Ankeny Fire Department says there are more concerns outside of the house.  She says a growing number of people are forgetting about other heat sources like  fire pit coals or cigarette butts.

“Those fires are extra dangerous.  About a month ago, three in one weekend were all triggered by the same thing,” said Peters.  Peters says dead leaves pile up against the house and under porches and become kindling for a fire.   

Peters and O’Keefe both understand that most people know house fires are preventable but even the most experience of us can forget.  “It’s common sense but people are human. They just momentarily forgot or just have a momentary lapse in attention. It’s cooking or forgetting to turn off the space heater before they leave. Those things can lead to house fires,” said Peters.

Many firehouse across the metro are open as it’s fire prevention week.