Beware Of Winter Fire Risks: Tips From National Protection Specialists

Here are a few storm safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration:

Pedestrians walk behind the snowbanks on Main Street in Beacon.
Pedestrians walk behind the snowbanks on Main Street in Beacon. Photo Credit: File
Some tips about portable generators.
Some tips about portable generators. Photo Credit: Provided
More details on fire safety tips.
More details on fire safety tips. Photo Credit: Provided

Heating, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles all contribute to an increased risk of fire during the winter months.


Heating is the second leading cause of U.S. home fires, deaths and injuries.  Space heaters are the type of equipment most often involved in home heating equipment fires, figuring in two of every five fires (40 percent). 

Carbon Monoxide

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential properties. 

Winter storms

Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.


Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. 

Some tips include using them outdoors, never fueling the generator when it is running. use heavy duty extension cords and do not operate them in wet areas or on wet surfaces to avoid shocks.


Be careful using any open flames to light or heat the home during power outages.


Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters. 

More statistics:

-- 890 people die in winter home fires each year.

-- $2 billion in property loss occurs each year from winter home fires.

-- Winter home fires account for only 8 percent of the total number of fires in the U.S., but result in 30 percent of all fire deaths.

-- Cooking is the leading cause of all winter home fires.

-- A heat source too close to combustibles is the leading factor contributing to the start of a winter home fire (15 percent).

-- 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. is the most common time for winter home fires.

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