West Virginia Residents Urged to Check Their Smoke Detectors
Fall is in the air. The sky is clear, the air is crisp and the nights are getting progressively colder. We are likely only weeks away from our first morning frost and snow flurry.
Many people rely upon portable ceramic or electric space heaters to provide additional warmth in the cold Fall and Winter months. If you use a space heater to help supplement the heat in your home, you need to remember to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 57,100 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 490 civilian deaths, 1,540 civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 16% of all reported home fires.
The first rule is to make sure your smoke detectors are functional and positioned properly. Make sure that your smoke detectors have fresh batteries and that you have smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, making sure that there is a detector outside every separate sleeping area. Ceiling mounted smoke detectors should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted smoke detectors should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
If you opt to use a space heater, make sure that it is positioned on a hard flat surface (NO CARPET) and that nothing flammable is within 36 inches. Additionally, do not use a space heater unless there is a "tip over" internal safety. These "tip over" internal safety switches turn the space heater off in the event of that the space heater tips over. This helps avoid fires.
In the event that you or someone you love has fallen victim to a space heater has malfunction / fire in your home, please call Mani Ellis & Layne, PLLC. We can help investigate the cause of the fire. In many instances, home fires are caused by faulty or malfunctioning space heaters or smoke detectors.