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Amica Insurance offers tips for home heating safety

01/17/2012

LINCOLN, RI – Many people turn to space heaters, pellet and wood stoves and other alternative heating sources to heat their homes during the winter. But they can increase the risk of fire and health problems, so Amica Insurance reminds everyone to use them safely.

“Home heating equipment is a leading cause of house fires,” said Michael Gillerlane an assistant vice president with Amica Insurance. “That’s why it’s important to make sure any heating source is properly installed and safely used to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.”

If using any of these alternative heating sources, make sure they are at least three feet away from any materials that could catch fire – including drapes, bed coverings and clothing, Gillerlane said. And never put wet clothes on a heating source to dry them.

Also, remember to make sure all heating systems are properly ventilated, Gillerlane said. And don’t forget to turn off portable heaters if you leave the room.

Here are some other tips and reminders from Amica and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety:

  • Never use a gas oven as a heating source or use a kerosene heater indoors.
  • When buying a space heater, look for a model with an automatic shut-off feature and one that meets all safety standards.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing or using any type of heating system.
  • Make sure a carbon monoxide alarm and a fire alarm are near your heating system. Test these alarms monthly.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area near your heating system.
  • Don’t leave fires or portable heaters unattended.

If you’re using a woodstove or fireplace to heat your home, make sure your chimney has been cleaned and inspected for cracks and creosote buildup, Gillerlane said. Never use lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline to ignite the fire, as these could cause dangerous flare ups.

Also remember to keep children and pets away from any fire, and make sure the fire is out before you leave the room or go to bed, Gillerlane said.

“Hopefully, these tips will help you keep your family warm and safe this winter,” Gillerlane said.

About Amica

Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the nation's oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, is a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,100 people in 40 offices across the country.

CONTACT:Vince Burks, Corporate Communications, 50 Amica Way,

Lincoln, RI 02865-1155, 800-652-6422, ext. 24563

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