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Fulton County Fire Rescue Department Provides the Winter Heating Safety Tips | Print |

As the second winter storm of 2014 approaches metro Atlanta, the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department encourages residents to use caution when using fireplaces and space heaters to heat their homes to stay warm.

Home fires are more prevalent in winter than in any other season. Winter storms that can interrupt electrical service and cause people to turn to alternative heating sources also contribute to the increased risk of fire in winter. Winter fires can be prevented! The following heating tips to help prevent winter fires and to stay safe this winter season:

•                   Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from all heat sources including fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, space heaters or candles.

•                   Never use an oven to heat your home.

•                   Turn space heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.

•                     Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified professional

Electric Space Heaters

Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over. Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip. Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use.

Kerosene Heaters

Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community. Never fill your heater with gasoline or camp stove fuel; both flare-up easily. Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene. When refueling, allow the appliance to cool first and then refuel outside. Never overfill any portable heater. Use the kerosene heater in a well-ventilated room.

Fireplaces

Fireplaces regularly build up creosote in their chimneys. They need to be cleaned out frequently and chimneys should be inspected for obstructions and cracks to prevent deadly chimney and roof fires. Check to make sure the damper is open before starting any fire. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause heavy creosote buildup and are difficult to control. Use a screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. Don't wear loose-fitting clothes near any open flame. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.

Generators

Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they also can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. NEVER use a generator in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly.

 

  • NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as "backfeeding."
  • Keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. To protect from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure. Dry your hands if wet before touching the generator.
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator. Or, use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.
  • For power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to the home. Even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded. This may result in overheating or stressing the generator components, possibly leading to a generator failure.

Finally, having a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.

Contact the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department for more information. For more information about generator safety, visit http://yhoo.it/1iXQndx.

For Fulton County severe weather information, please visit our website at www.fultoncountyga.gov or follow us on Facebook at Fulton County On Facebook or Twitter at http://twitter.com/FultonInfo

 
 

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