With a Freeze Watch in effect, and temperatures that are expected to drop into the upper 20’s to lower 30’s from Saturday evening through Sunday morning, a lot of folks will be looking for ways to stay warm. For many, that may mean turning on the furnace for the first time or utilizing other alternate heating sources such as fireplaces, space heaters, wood-burning stoves and kerosene heaters. But did you know that heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fire deaths and carbon monoxide poisoning? However, by following a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most tragedies from occurring.
- Have heating equipment and chimney’s cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet away from heating equipment and keep children at least 3 feet away.
- Never use you oven to heat your home
- Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
- Never refuel heaters indoors.
- All heaters that run on fuel should be vented.
- Before purchasing a portable heater, make sure it has “tip switches.” These switches are designed to automatically shut off the heating unit in the event it tips over.
- REMEMBER…Always turn portable heaters off when leaving the house or before going to bed.
- Glass doors or a metal screen should be placed in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks or hot ash from igniting carpets, furniture, or other combustible items.
- Do not burn charcoal designed for barbeque grills indoors…not even in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. It releases odorless, but toxic, carbon monoxide fumes that can cause death.
- INSTALL smoke alarms on every level of your home, as well as near every bedroom in the home and test the alarms monthly. REMEMBER to change batteries at least once a year.
- INSTALL and maintain a carbon monoxide detector.
- Develop a family emergency plan that includes what action family members should take in case of a fire…then practice it to make sure everyone knows what to do.
Remember by following these few simple safety tips, you can stay safe and keep warm when old man winter comes a knocking.
For more information on heating safety or emergency preparedness, contact the Marshall County Emergency Management Agency at 574-936-3740.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY!