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As temperatures dip, many Mid-Missourians reach for the thermostats

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

As temperatures continue to drop across the Show Me State, many are reaching for the thermostat and one national association is reminding homeowners of the dangers of heating equipment.

According to research done by The National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment causes 14% of home fires each year and accounts for 19% of civilian deaths.

The research says $1.1 billion dollars worth of property damage is caused each year by heating equipment.

The association says there is a clear, seasonal pattern of heating equipment fires with most coming in the colder winter months.

Space heaters, were the most common cause of heating equipment fires, accounting for the vast majority of deaths and injuries.

The NFPA released within its research, a number of home safety practices for those turning on heaters for the first time this season.

Safety Practices include:

• Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.
• Maintain a three-foot kid-free zone around home fireplaces and space heaters.
• Never use your oven to heat your home.
• Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, and central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
• Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected and cleaned every year by a professional.
• Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving a room or heading to bed.
• Always use the appropriate type of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning space heaters.
• Ensure that the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop embers from flying into the room. Make sure that ashes are cool before placing them in a bin for removal.

The NFPA says a leading cause to these heating equipment fires comes from failing to clean equipment, accounting for a quarter of all heating equipment fires.

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Ben Fein

Ben Fein is a multimedia journalist for ABC 17 News. You can usually see his reports on weekend mornings or weekdays at 5, 6 and 6:30 p.m. on KMIZ.

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