State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan
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State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan Department of Fire Services. Our Goal. Protect lives and property by raising public awareness of the hazards associated with the improper use of alternative heating sources. Our Objectives. Identify the Problem Provide Fire & Life Safety Information

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State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan Department of Fire Services

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State fire marshal stephen d coan department of fire services

State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan

Department of Fire Services

Our goal

Our Goal

Protect lives and property by raising public awareness of the hazards associated with the improper use of alternative heating sources

Our objectives

Our Objectives

  • Identify the Problem

  • Provide Fire & Life Safety Information

  • Provide Resources

The problem

The Problem

  • Heating is the second leading cause of fires in the home

  • In Franklin and Hampshire counties, heating is the #1 cause of home fires

Heating equipment fires all structures fuel types

Heating Equipment Fires(All Structures & Fuel Types)

  • From 2004 to 2008:

    • 14,358 fires caused by heating

    • 19 civilian deaths

    • 94 civilian injuries

    • 164 fire service injuries

    • $59.6 million (plus) in property losses

Types of heating equipment fires

Types of Heating Equipment Fires

Solid fueled appliances

Solid Fueled Appliances

  • Consist of chimneys, fireplaces, woodstoves, coal stoves, pellet stoves and furnaces

  • 4,300 fires

  • 4 civilian deaths

  • 12 civilian injuries

  • 39 fire service injuries

  • $14.6 million (plus) in property damage

Electric fuel heating appliances

Electric Fuel Heating Appliances

  • 423 fires

  • 9 civilian deaths

  • 29 civilian injuries

  • 33 fire service injuries

  • $11.9 million (plus) in property damage

Space heater fires

Space Heater Fires

  • From 2004 to 2008:

    • 55 space heater fires

    • 9 civilian deaths

    • 1 in 6 fires causes a death

    • 8 civilian & 15 firefighter injuries

    • $3.3 million (plus) in property damage

    • Average $$$ loss/fire $60,356

Carbon monoxide co the silent killer

Carbon Monoxide (CO) The Silent Killer

  • Heating appliances are the leading source of CO in the home

  • From 2004 to 2008:

    • 46% of CO calls occurred November thru February

    • 95% of all CO incidents occurred in residential buildings

Winter peak time for co calls

Winter Peak Time for CO Calls

Carbon monoxide co the silent killer1

Carbon Monoxide (CO)The Silent Killer

  • Nicole’s Law requiring CO detectors in residences, effective March 2006

  • Applies to all residential buildings using fossil fuel or buildings with attached garages

Fire life safety information

Fire & Life Safety Information

  • The ABCs of Fire Safety

  • Heating Equipment Maintenance

Abcs of fire safety

ABCs of Fire Safety

  • Working smoke detectors and CO alarms

  • Hold home fire drills

  • Two ways out of every room

  • Meeting place

Abcs of fire safety1

ABCs of Fire Safety

  • Have heating systems annually serviced

  • Do not use kitchen appliances like ovens for heating

Abcs of fire safety2

ABCs of Fire Safety

  • Heating equipment is the leading source of carbon monoxide in the home

  • Have chimneys cleaned annually

  • Dispose of ashes properly

  • Space heaters need space!

Don t heat with the oven

Don’t Heat with the Oven!

  • Do not use the oven or any kitchen appliance for heat

  • Pours CO into the room

  • If no heat, then look for fuel assistance or emergency shelter

Heating equipment maintenance

Heating Equipment Maintenance

  • Regular maintenance can prevent many problems

  • Have a professional service your heating system, including chimneys, before or at the start of the heating season

  • Do not let oil furnaces get 100% empty

Heating equipment maintenance1

Heating Equipment Maintenance

  • Permits are required for new system installations

    • Oil requires fire department permit

    • Gas requires plumbing inspector permit

  • Have professional install new equipment

Solid fuel heating safety

Solid Fuel Heating Safety

  • Consist of woodstoves, coal stoves chimneys, fireplaces, pellet stoves and furnaces

  • Proper disposal and storage of ashes

    • Metal container with lid

    • Not cardboard box and/or plastic pail

    • Away from the house

Solid fuel heating safety1

Solid Fuel Heating Safety

  • Regular cleaning and inspection of chimneys

  • Proper maintenance of stoves - particularly pellet stove hoppers

  • Building permit and inspection required for installation

Space heaters need space

Space Heaters Need Space!

  • Keep space heaters 3-feet away from anything that can catch fire – clothes, beds, furniture, newspapers, walls

  • Do not use space heaters as your primary heating source

Space heaters need space1

Space Heaters Need Space!

  • If needed, use a heavy-duty extension cord

  • Inspect for any cracked, frayed or broken plugs or loose connections

  • Replace before using

Space heaters need space2

Space Heaters Need Space!

  • Buy a space heater with:

    • Mark of independent testing lab (such as UL or Factory Mutual)

    • Automatic shut-off

    • Grill to protect the heating element

Kerosene heaters are illegal

Kerosene Heaters Are Illegal

  • In Massachusetts, unvented liquid-fire (kerosene) space heaters are illegal

  • Pose fire and CO poisoning risk

  • May be for sale legally in neighboring states

  • Leave them there!



  • Fire Safety

  • Fuel Assistance

Fire safety resources

Fire Safety Resources

Your Local Fire Department

Department of Fire Services

Fire safety resources1

Fire Safety Resources

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)

American Red Cross

Fuel assistance

Fuel Assistance

  • Explore fuel assistance just in case you may need it

  • Fuel assistance programs can help with heating system maintenance and weatherization

Fuel assistance1

Fuel Assistance

The Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD)

DHCD Heat Hotline 1-800-632-8175

For Boston only, call  617-357-6012

Visit click on “Heating Assistance”

Fuel assistance2

Fuel Assistance

The Executive Office of Consumer Affairs and Business click on “Winter Heating Help”

State Attorney General’s Office click on “Consumer Protection” then “Home & Housing”

Help your community

Help Your Community

  • Help place the Keep Warm, Keep Safe public service announcements on local cable channels

  • Invite your fire department to participate in local public access channel programs

Help your community1

Help Your Community

  • Share fire and life safety information with family, friends and neighbors

  • Practice the ABCs of fire safety – Make sure your smoke detectors and CO alarms are working!

Help your community2

Help Your Community

  • Host a presentation by your fire department at other community locations (libraries, senior centers, town halls, etc.) 

  • Work with your local fire department on ongoing outreach

In conclusion

In Conclusion

  • Be smart about your heating choices this winter

  • Learn more about fire safety

  • Be informed about heating systems, heating alternatives and fuel assistance

Thank you

Thank You!


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