The Corvallis Fire Department says it responds to fires every winter because of heating problems.
Fire crews say anyone who leaves home should turn heating systems down to low, but not off. That way pipes won’t crack or burst. Firefighters say they have seen many fires caused from objects being too close to baseboard or wall heaters – anything from bean bags to other pieces of furniture to other combustible items.
“One of the most common causes is folks leaving things next to baseboard heaters,” said Fire Prevention Officer Jim Patton with the Corvallis Fire Department. “And then turning their systems to low, thinking that they are actually off. And then they go away, and the heating systems kick on and ignite that combustible material.”
Patton also recommends that before leaving for vacation, to unplug anything that doesn’t need to be plugged in, such as hair dryers, portable heaters, or battery chargers.
“Most appliances are very, very safe,” Patton said. “But as long as they’re plugged in, they still have power. So if for whatever reason that appliance should experience some kind of a failure while you’re away for a few days, now you’ve got the potential for a fire to occur.”
Patton also says during the winter, people might use more candles. He stresses the importance of never leave a burning candle unattended, even for a minute. Patton also recommends placing candles on flat, non-combustible surfaces such as a plate, and to never burn a candle near items that could catch fire, such as curtains.