Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Safety Patrol

As the weather outside gets frightful in some parts of the country, heading indoors sounds delightful. But staying warm inside is not without its hazards. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires during December, January and February. Portable and space heaters can be especially dangerous. To make sure you and your family stay safe and warm this winter, consider these tips from NFPA:

· When buying a new space heater, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory and is legal for use in your community.
· Plug your electric-powered space heater into an outlet with sufficient capacity — never into an extension cord.
· Use the proper grade of the proper fuel for your liquid-fueled space heater, and never use gasoline in any heater not approved for gasoline use. Refuel only in a well-ventilated area and when the equipment is cool.
· Turn off space heaters in unoccupied rooms and when you go to bed; portable space heaters are easy to knock over in the dark.
· Do not use your oven to heat your home.
Make sure fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, that the venting is kept clear and unobstructed and that the exit point is properly sealed around the vent. All of these measures keep deadly carbon monoxide from building up in the home.
· Test smoke alarms monthly; install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
· Inspect all heating equipment annually and clean as necessary.

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