Stay Safe Warming Your Home:
As the coldest of the winter months approach the United States, most homes across the states will be heated with either portable heaters, furnaces, fireplaces or generators. Each of these home warming devices pose hazards such as fires and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. These risks can affect any home; however, certain communities are more at risk than others.
Portable heaters, including electric heaters, on average cause 1,700 fires and annually. Often, portable heaters are placed too close to materials that are considered combustible. These combustible materials could be drapes, furniture, bedding, or paper. In order to avoid a fire being caused, portable heaters should be placed at least 3 feet from combustible materials. Also, plug portable heaters into wall outlets, rather than extension cords to lessen the risk of a fire.
While unattended including during sleep, turn off and unplug heaters. Hyperthermia is another possible hazard of portable heaters when they are left with people such as children or senior citizens who have a delayed ability to react.
Furnaces and Fireplaces
Furnaces, fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected by a professional annually. If a chimney is cracked or blocked, or the fireplace’s sparks or embers reach flammable material a fire can be started. Fireplaces and chimneys annually cause approximately 15,800 fires. Furnaces, fireplaces and chimneys can potentially release CO, an odorless, colorless gas that could be deadly, if improperly installed or maintained.
Generators and CO Alarms
Generators used during power outages may also cause CO poisoning if incorrectly used. A generator should be used outside only and be placed at least 20 feet away from the home. They should also never be used in garages, sheds, or basements. If a generator needs to be refueled, do not refuel it while it is running, instead shut it off and allow it to cool prior to refueling.
Fire alarms and CO alarms should be located in every home and tested at least once a year to alert of fires or dangerous CO levels.
Take safety precautions and stay safe and warm this winter!
Read more about the hazards of these heating devices at:
CPSC Warns Consumers to be Cautious When Using Space Heaters, Furnaces and Fireplaces This Winter | CPSC.gov