INDIANAPOLIS- This weekend’s deadly house fire on the city’s southside serves as a tragic reminder to practice home heating safety each day. Improper use of portable or stationary space heaters, wood-burning stoves and fireplaces can be dangerous and sometimes deadly.
“We understand the financial strain that impacts some of our customers,” said Jeffrey Harrison, President and CEO of Citizens Energy Group. “We never want a customer to be in a situation where, in order to heat their home, they are putting themselves and their family at risk. In 2016, Citizens provided more than $450,000 in energy efficiency support to low-income families. We encourage customers in need to contact us, United Way or “211” Connect2Help for support.”
Practicing the following tips can also help customers heat their homes safely and efficiently:
- Smoke Detectors: Have a working smoke detector on every floor of the home, ideally near bedrooms.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors: If you have fuel burning appliances in your home make sure you have a working CO detector. Follow manufacture instructions on best location and how to install.
- Space Heaters: Keep space heaters three feet from flammable items like furniture or blankets. Turn space heaters off when leaving a room or going to bed—never leave a space heater unattended. Only purchase space heaters with an automatic shut off and a guard around the heating source.
- Furnace: Have a licensed contractor inspect your furnace annually and replace air filters every 30 days. Keep areas around furnace clear of any combustible materials such as brooms, mops, fuel, etc.
- Oven and Stove: Do not use an oven or stove as an alternative heating source. Turning on burners and/or opening the oven door in order to heat a home can be dangerous and sometimes deadly. When operating a stove, turn pot and pan handles inward so children cannot reach them. Never leave food cooking unattended.
- Fireplace: Clean fireplace annually in order to avoid creosote buildup. When operating a fireplace, make sure it has a screen in order to contain stray embers. Keep all combustibles three feet from the fireplace.
“The sadness of this weekend’s tragedy impacts all of us as citizens and neighbors,” said IFD Chief Ernest Malone. “Our thoughts are certainly with the family of those who died. These incidents also have a profound effect on the men and women of IFD who respond, without fail, to every call, every time.”
IFD urges residents to use caution and care with colder temperatures still in the forecast. Residents are urged to check on neighbors and family making sure they have appropriate methods to stay warm, safe and hydrated.
"Your family's safety is our primary concern. Proactive steps taken together as a community will help to ensure a safe winter for everyone," said Malone.
IFD urges all homeowners to make sure their smoke alarms are in working order, with at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home. IFD also encourages homeowners to discuss an evacuation plan with family and visitors who may be staying in your home. Agree on a meeting place should an emergency occur and evacuation become necessary. Anyone needing a smoke detector is urged to call (317)-327-6093 and IFD Fire and Life Safety Division will assist you.