NJFSAB Warns New Jersey Residents of Increased Risk of Fire During Winter Months

The New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB), a corporative partnership advocating the installation and proper care of fire sprinkler systems as a highly effective means of helping save lives and property, asks New Jersey families to be especially vigilant against the dangers of residential fires during the coldest time of the year. According to the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety, there were 15,291 structure fires in 2011 that resulted in 57 civilian fire related deaths.

The National Fire Protection Agency reports that 50% of all home heating fires occurred between December and February. Heating fires are the second leading cause for residential structure fires behind only cooking fires.

“People trying to keep their homes warm during the winter months will often use fireplaces and space heaters to reduce their heating bills,” said David Kurasz, executive director of the New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board. “These are often effective means of warming a house but they also pose safety risks. Space heaters can easily cause a fire if misused and fireplaces need to be cleaned regularly to reduce the buildup of creosote. Along with these added risks, candles and cooking fires tend to increase every year during the winter months. It is important to practice fire safety all year long especially during the winter months when the risk is increased.”

With temperatures continuing to dip well below freezing, the NJFSAB provides the following fire safety tips to keep families and loved ones safe all season long:

  • Watch Your Space Heaters- Limit your use of space heaters and never leave them unattended. Space heaters are very dangerous if not used properly, and need to be at least three feet away from anything that is combustible.
  • Clean your chimney flue- If you have a chimney      and plan to use it to cut down on the cost of heating your home throughout      the winter, be sure to have it cleaned before you begin burning.
  • Check Your Smoke Detectors– To ensure they are working properly and have full battery power. It’s recommended that you change the batteries in your smoke alarms when it’s time to turn the clocks forward or backward.
  • Have an Escape Plan- Develop an escape plan with your family from multiple rooms within your home, both upstairs and      downstairs. Take time to review the escape plan with your family, including a practice fire drill.
  • Consider  Installing Residential Fire Sprinklers- Fire sprinklers are the only proactive form of fire protection, providing firefighters the time they need to do their jobs as safely and effectively as possible, while helping to avoid potential injuries and devastating tragedies protecting your family and property.

For more information on how to protect yourself and loved ones this winter from the dangers of fire and to learn more about the life saving benefits of residential fire sprinklers visit www.njfsab.org.

About NJFSAB: The New Jersey Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board (NJFSAB) is a cooperative partnership advocating installation and proper care of fire sprinkler systems as a highly effective means of helping save lives and property. Headquartered in North Brunswick, N.J., the Board is comprised of local leaders, contractors, businesses and unionized personnel representing fire sprinkler construction, production, distribution and installation. Visit www.njfsab.org.