Safety tips for the winter season
- Keep or maintain a three-foot (one-meter) clearance between all heating equipment and anything that can burn.
- Do not use your oven to heat your home.
- Inspect and maintain heating equipment regularly for safety.
- Portable space heaters should be turned off every time you leave the room and before going to bed.
- When buying a new space heater, make sure it has the label showing it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory. Be sure to have fixed space heaters installed by a qualified technician, according to manufacturer’s instructions or applicable codes. Or make sure a qualified technician checks to see that the unit has been properly installed.
- Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from lying into the room. Allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container.
- Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected and cleaned every year.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms monthly.
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms to avoid risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Make sure your choice of heating equipment is permitted by law in your community. For example, kerosene hea ters, chimineas and firepits are not allowed in all communities.
- Make sure your heating equipment has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- Install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
– If possible, have a qualiied professional install the equipment.
– Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside. Make sure the venting for exhaust is kept clear and unobstructed. This includes removal of snow around the outlet to the outside.
Portable Space Heaters
- Plug power cords only into outlets with suficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
- Inspect for cracked, frayed, or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.
Open Air Burning
- Call the local fire department or municipality before outdoor or open-air burning. This includes campfires, brush fires, firepits, chimneys and outdoor fireplaces.
- Closely attend all outdoor fires.
- Use chimineas, outdoor fireplaces and firepits outdoors only and at least 10 feet away from the home or anything that can burn.
Fuel Burning Space Heaters
- Always use the proper fuel as speciied by the manufacturer.
- When refueling, allow the appliance to cool and refuel outside or in a well-ventilated area.
- When using the heater, open a window to ensure adequate venting.
Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces
- Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood.
- Use artiicial logs according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Use only newspaper and kindling wood to start a fire. Never use flammable liquids, such as lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline to start a fire.
Electrical Safety Tips
- Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
- Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
- In homes with small children, unused wall sockets and extension-cord receptacles should have plastic safety covers.
- Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.
- Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
- If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
- When possible, avoid the use of “cube taps” and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
- Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp’s recommended wattage.