Traditional heating sources, such as a fireplace or space heater can be dangerous if not used properly. As temperatures drop, some simple tips can help keep families safer.
Winter months in particular are the peak time for house fires and carbon monoxide poisonings, with most incidents due to improperly ventilated or malfunctioning heater sources. Families can better protect themselves by having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home and in sleeping areas, as well as fire extinguishers within reach in the kitchen, garage and bedroom. In addition, the experts at Quell recommend the following heater safety tips:
Carbon Monoxide Prevention
- Do not use ovens or stoves to heat your home.
- Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting. Have all fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually.
- Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually.
- Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Do not use unvented gas or kerosene space heaters in enclosed spaces. Keep doors open to the rest of the house to help promote proper ventilation.
- Do not run a fuel-powered engine, such as a vehicle or generator, inside the home or in an attached garage or carport. CO fumes can seep in the home through air intake valves, skirting boards and doors.
- Ensure that space heaters meet the latest safety standards, which would include having an automatic cut-off device and guarding around the heating coils and burners.
- Place space heaters on a level, hard and non-flammable surface, and keep them at least one metre away from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
- Turn off space heaters when you leave an area or before going to sleep. Keep children and pets away.
- Never use gasoline, charcoal lighter or other fuel to light or relight a fire as vapours could explode. Keep flammable materials away.
- Develop and practice a fire escape plan with the whole family. Plan two exit routes for each room, and practice your escape plan at night to mimic the most difficult fire situation you might encounter. Never re-enter a burning home. Be sure that someone is responsible for waking young children and escorting them to safety.