January 26, 2016
Now that the winter winds are blowing over much of the country, many people are doing whatever they can to stay warm. Unfortunately, many of the measures people undertake to keep the chills of the season at bay could also be putting their lives in danger. From electric blankets, to space heaters and fireplaces, people will overlook the potential dangers to keep Old Man Winter at bay.
Here is a simple list to combat those hidden heating dangers and keep safely warm this winter.
Don’t Leave Any Heating Mechanism Unattended
This may seem like no brainer, but unfortunately many people do not follow the advice. Leaving any kind of heat source unattended is a recipe for disaster. Space Heaters left alone can turn into fires very easily. All it takes is a pet or child to knock something into it and igniting a blaze. The same can be said for fireplaces. All it takes is for a combustible item left too close to the fireplace or a well-timed ember flying to spark a tragedy. Electric blankets too can be dangerous if left on for extended periods of time with nobody watching.
Your Oven is Not a Heating Source
This too may seem obvious as well, but there are people who will do whatever they think they need to stay warm on the coldest of days. Keeping your oven on and open to warm your home is plain insanity. Your oven is not designed to be used in that capacity and will release deadly carbon monoxide into your home if you do. The same can be said for using a grill in this capacity.
Use Only the Proper Fuel
When using any heat source, it is important to follow the proper instructions for operation. With fireplaces, it is important to make sure you are using dry, well-seasoned wood. Doing so will insure your fire is cleaner and stronger than if you used green or wet wood. Freshly cut timber will have 45% water composition whereas seasoned wood will be down around 20% moisture content. With fuel burning space heaters, it is important to use the fuel designated by the manufacturer. Using improper fuels could result in overheating of the device.
Do Not Use Old Poorly Conditioned Devices
Any heat generating mechanism needs to be monitored for condition. A chimney needs to be inspected and cleaned once a year for optimal use. One with too much soot buildup or cracks in the chimney walls are extremely dangerous for home fires. Using space heaters or electric blankets that are old or with fraying wires are also very dangerous and cause many home fires every winter. If the device is over 10 years old, it is time to be replaced before a tragedy can occur.
For more tips on fire life safety protection and prevention, please check out our blog.