Newsbrief Archive

Natural Gas Currents News - Sept 2015

Help Prevent Natural Gas-Related Fires

October is National Fire Prevention Month

In a 2013 report, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) disclosed that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 156,600 home structure fires caused by cooking equipment from 2007 to 2011. The NFPA also reported that, in 2011, heating equipment was responsible for 53,600 reported home structure fires that produced 400 deaths, 1,520 injuries, and $893 million in property damage.

From gas space heaters and furnaces to ranges and water heaters, it's important that your residents know how to safely use and properly maintain natural gas appliances in order to prevent fires. October is National Fire Prevention Month and it's the perfect time to remind them. Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), National Fire Month is observed by many utilities and community groups. It's an opportunity to capitalize upon a shared goal and a chance to highlight safety around natural gas.

The month begins with Fire Prevention Week which commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This catastrophe resulted in 250 deaths and 100,000 homeless residents as well as the destruction of more than 17,400 homes and buildings. The fire began on October 8 and continued to rage the following day, when most of the damage occurred. Since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed during the week of October 9.

We have learned a great deal since 1871. Modern technology is enabling us to eliminate many of the causes of residential fires and utilities have made a concerted effort to educate their customers about natural gas safety. These two factors have dramatically reduced the number of natural gas accidents but gas safety is an ongoing process.

Awareness is Critical

Many gas-related fires can be avoided if residents followed simple safety precautions. Some of these precautions include:

  • Keep flammable objects far away from a gas furnace, space heater or water heater.
  • Heating equipment and chimneys should be cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional.
  • Keep the kitchen range clean by washing gas range burner grates with water and detergent.
  • Make sure your gas stove produces a blue flame that does not flicker.
  • Teach small children to stay away from gas appliances.
  • Never use your oven for heating.
  • Make sure the lint trap on your clothes dryer is clear and check the exhaust duct, vent and hood cover regularly, removing lint or any obstruction.


From 2007 to 2011, a large majority of heating fire deaths (81 percent) and injuries (70 percent) involved space heaters, which have their own set of safety rules, including:

  • Always vent a gas space heater to the outside and never sleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene heater.
  • Use a space heater with automatic shut-off so if it’s accidentally tipped over, it shuts off.
  • Turn off space heaters when you leave the room or go to bed.


Another important factor to consider is that 65 percent of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International. This statistic strongly relates to the NFPA’s theme for National Fire Prevention Week: “Hear The Beep Where You Sleep,” encouraging the use of smoke detectors.It is recommended that smoke detectors are installed on every level of the home, inside each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. 

In addition to the aforementioned safety tips, it is extremely important for residents to understand how gas behaves, how it is distributed, how to recognize a gas leak, and what to do in an emergency situation. Distributing detailed print resources to your residents is one way to educate them about natural gas distribution and safety. Helpful manuals and guides are essential resources that are kept on hand by homeowners for regular reference. This National Fire Prevention Month, consider distributing one of the following resources:

  • Natural Gas Safety and You (#25180)
  • Natural Gas Safety at Home Brochure (#42710)

For additional information about fire prevention and natural gas safety resources, call us at 800-428-5837, email or visit