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Heating Equipment Issues Cited in New York State’s High Fire Death Rate

February 29, 2020 | Michael Barasch

Heating Equipment Issues Cited in New York State’s High Fire Death Rate

New York recorded 112 fire-related deaths during 2019, the highest fatality rate among all 50 states, according to a review conducted by the Fireman’s Association of the State of New York and the National Fire Prevention Association. Though deadly fires can have many different causes, blazes associated with heating equipment were found to be the most prevalent.

In a press release detailing these grim statistics, FASNY and NFPA cited several types of heating appliance misuse and malfunction that contribute to tragedies that plague the state during winter months. The release also offered tips for stopping them, including:

  • Paying close attention to maintenance — People often forget to change the filters in their furnace. Failing to do so constricts the airflow and increases the amount of debris within the unit. All heaters, including fireplaces and chimneys, should be checked annually by a qualified professional.
  • Keeping flammable objects away from heaters — Many people use portable space heaters to increase their comfort when the weather is cold, but these devices are especially prone to touching off fires. Experts recommend that a three-foot zone should surround these devices and that they be turned off when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Testing your smoke alarms frequently — Faulty detectors and worn-out batteries still cause deaths, especially in apartment buildings where a fire does not have to spread very far in order to reach a large number of people. Smoke alarms and their components should be tested on a monthly basis, fire prevention experts say.

Any fire can inflict serious harm on those who are inside the structure, but it’s also crucial to remember that each call could be deadly for firefighters, even if the blaze itself is quickly controlled. Therefore, it’s everyone’s responsibility to take steps that minimize the likelihood of a fire associated with heating equipment, cooking appliances, fireplaces or any other potential source of flame inside one’s home or business.

The lawyers at Barasch & McGarry are noted advocates for New York firefighters, representing them in injury claims, including cases stemming from 9/11 illnesses. For a free consultation with a dedicated attorney, call us at [ln::phone] or contact us online.

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