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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office


Des Moines, IOWA --- Tragically, the life of a young Iowan was snuffed out this week when his home was set ablaze by the wood burning stove, used for heat in the cold of winter.  In 2008, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 66,100 home fires in the United States.  Four hundred and eighty people died and another 1,660 were injured in those fires. 

Help Iowa put a freeze on home heating fires—and remain warm and toasty---by following these simple safety tips:

  • All heaters need space!  Keep things that can burn – like paper, bedding, furniture – at least three feet away from heating equipment.
  • Turn portable heaters off when you leave a room.
  • Never use the oven to heat your home.
  • Only use heating equipment that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary heating equipment, water heaters and central heating equipment according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Make sure fuel burning equipment (like a propane space heater) is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide buildup.  Make sure the vent is kept clear and unobstructed of debris or snow.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms inside your home.
  • Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

Keep in mind that half of all home heating fires occur in December, January, and February.  You should also remember that the majority of home heating fire deaths occur between 2:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m.  Use this information to guide how you operate and maintain your heating equipment.  Heating equipment should never be left unattended, especially when you’re asleep.


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