Middleburg fire expert offers home heating safety tips

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio - Your home is the best place you can be during this cold spell that's gripping northeast Ohio.  But it can also be a dangerous place if you're not heating your home properly.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, more than 900 Americans die in winter home fires every year.  Alternate heat sources, like space heaters, are the second leading cause.

"You always want three feet of distance between the (heater) and a combustible source," said John Desmarteau, assistant fire chief in Middleburg Heights.

He also recommends that ashes from the fireplace be put in a metal can with a lid on top.

"People think because they haven't burned in two, three, four days that the ashes are all cool but unfortunately when they're all together in one big pile, they can retain that heat for an extended period of time," he said.

Other tips:

-Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers from jumping out

-Never use kerosene heaters or outdoor grills indoors

-Do not use stove burners to heat the home

-Keep a working carbon monoxide detector and replace it every five to seven years

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