February 27, 2015 5:03 am
To greatly reduce the risk for heating fires at home, the NFPA suggests homeowners follow these guidelines.
- Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment. This includes furnaces, fireplaces, wood stoves and portable space heaters.
- If there are children in your home, create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around space heaters and open fires.
- Never use your oven to heat your home.
- For fuel-burning space heaters, always use the right kind of fuel, as specified by the manufacturer.
- Plug only one heat-producing appliance (such as a space heater) into an electrical outlet at a time.
- Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
- Keep portable generators outside, away from windows, and as far away as possible from your home.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside of your home.
- If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.
- If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
- During and after the storm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
- Test your carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they’re working properly.
- If you begin to feel sick or dizzy while your generator is running, you may be breathing in carbon monoxide. Get to fresh air quickly.
- Turn portable generators off and let them cool down before refueling; don’t refuel it while it’s running.
- Make sure fuel, including gasoline and other flammable liquids, is stored in properly labeled safety containers. Place them outside all living areas and away from any fuel-burning appliances such as a gas hot water heater.
- Always use extreme caution when operating electrical equipment in a damp or wet environment.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy duty outdoor-rated extension cord. Make sure the cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin. Do not try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet.
Published with permission from RISMedia.