Beware of Fire Hazards Posed by Space Heaters and Wood Stoves

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Space heaters cause nearly one-third of all home fires and more than 80-percent of home heating fire deaths. Amica Insurance reminds everyone to use space heaters properly and safely and offers these tips.

Many people use space heaters and wood stoves to help save money on heating costs this time of year. But portable heaters cause one-third of all home fires and are a leading cause of fire-related deaths, so Amica Insurance ( reminds everyone to use them properly and safely.

“As the temperatures drop, the amount of home fires rise,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of communications for the National Fire Protection Association. “It’s important to take simple steps to ensure you are keeping your family safe while you are keeping them warm.“

Amica offers these reminders:

  •     Make sure you have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, which are especially important during winter months when heaters are being used.
  •     Make sure your chimney and wood stove are clean and in good working order. Have them inspected each year.
  •     Only burn dry, well-seasoned wood.
  •     When using a fuel-burning space heater, open a window to ensure proper ventilation.
  •     Keep combustible materials including clothing, mattresses, bedding and upholstered furniture at least three feet away from space heaters and wood stoves.
  •     Turn space heaters off and make sure fires in fireplaces are out when you leave the room or go to bed.
  •     Do not allow children near space heaters or wood stoves.
  •     Never use your oven for heating your living space.

Also, look for space heaters that have safety features, such as automatic shut-offs, so they turn off automatically if they tip over or something falls on top of them, such as bedding, Carli said. In addition, remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never plug them into extension cords, which can overload and catch fire.

It’s also especially important to make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working properly, and to make sure every family has a fire safety plan,” said Sean Welch, a senior assistant vice president with Amica.

“We see too many fires every year that are preventable,” Welch said. “Spending just a few minutes to take the necessary precautions can save lives and heartache.”
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About Amica Mutual Insurance
Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the nation’s oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, is a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,200 people in 40 offices across the country.

CONTACT: Vince Burks, Corporate Communications, 50 Amica Way,
Lincoln, RI 02865-1155, 1-800-652-6422, ext. 24563.

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Vince Burks