Guelph Fire asks residents to take care with fireplaces and space heaters

Halogen or electric heater on wooden floor

Guelph, Ont., January 3, 2018 – The Guelph Fire Department is asking residents to take extra care this winter when using fireplaces or space heaters to heat their home.

As the number of residents using extra sources to supplement their heating increases so does the risk of a fire.

“Half of all home heating fires are reported during just three months out of the year: December, January and February,” says Matt Valeriote, assistant chief fire prevention officer with the Guelph Fire Department.

You can do your part in reducing the number of heating-related fires by following these tips for safe home heating:

Fireplaces (gas and wood burning)

  • Install wood burning and gas fireplaces following the manufacturer’s instructions or have a professional do the installation
  • Make sure any fuel-burning fireplace vents outside to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
  • Keep a three foot (one metre) distance between fireplaces and flammable materials as well as creating a kid-free zone of the same distance
  • Make sure wood burning fireplaces have a sturdy screen that stops sparks from entering a room
  • Let ashes cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep this metal container a safe distance away from your home
  • Have chimneys inspected yearly by a qualified professional

Space heaters (stationary and portable)

  • Keep a three foot (one metre) distance between space heaters and flammable materials as well as creating a kid-free zone of the same distance
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary heaters according to local codes and manufacturer’s instructions
  • Avoid using extension cords with portable heaters
  • Turn portable heaters off before leaving the room or going to bed
  • If you’re using a fuel-burning space heater, always use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer
  • Inspect your equipment regularly for anything that might be unsafe

Guelph Fire also recommends testing smoke and CO alarms monthly to make sure that they are in working order.

For more information

Matt Valeriote, Assistant Chief Fire Prevention Officer
Emergency Services, Guelph Fire Department
City of Guelph
519-763-8111 extension 2136