Colorado Springs, Colorado (NAPSI) - As autumn approaches, many people are looking forward to a break from the summer heat. However, soon that relief may turn chilly and your reliance on heating equipment will increase. The Electrical Safety Foundation International wants you to be aware of the risks associated with heating equipment and follow a few simple steps to help reduce your risk of a home fire.

According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths, responsible for an estimated 490 in 2010. The leading factors contributing to ignition in home heating equipment fires were failure to clean the device, the heat source being too close to combustibles, and a mechanical failure or malfunction of the equipment. With proper installation, use and maintenance, you can reduce your risk of property loss, injury or death resulting from the use of heating equipment.

With the increased use of heating equipment, carbon monoxide incidents are also more frequent in colder months. Gas-fueled heating devices were the primary heating source responsible for nonfire carbon monoxide poisonings. Carbon monoxide is odorless, invisible and potentially deadly. Be sure to continue testing your carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms each month to help keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

More Safe Heating Behaviors

• All heaters need space. Keep things that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment.

• Make sure you use only equipment that displays a label indicating it has undergone independent testing by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Intertek (ETL), or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

• Have a qualified professional install heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.

• Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, be sure to remove snow or fallen leaves around the outlet to the outside to ensure proper venting of exhaust.

• Have your heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.

For additional electrical safety information throughout the year, please visit