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Make Sure Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms are Working
“One of the simplest steps for safety you can take is to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working. They will give you the earliest possible warning that something is wrong so you can escape safely,” said Coan.
“Keep thermostats set at the lowest comfortable temperature as furnaces may struggle to keep the house warm; wear warm clothes and put an extra blanket on the bed,” said Coan. “If you run out of oil, or lose power, consider going to the home of a friend or relative who has heat rather than relying in alternative heating sources,” he added.
“Cold snaps like this is when we tend to see space heater fires and one of every seven space heater fires in the past five years has caused a fire death,” he said. “Space heaters need space, so use them in a 3-foot circle of safety, free of anything that catch fire.” He added, “Space heaters are not designed to replace your central heating system, they are only designed to provide a little extra heat on a temporary basis. So be sure to turn them off when you leave room or go to bed at night.”
Overloaded extension cords cause many space heater fires. It is best not to use extension cords with heat producing appliances, but if you must, make sure it is rated for the same wattage as the appliance and use only one.
Wood, Coal and Pellet Stoves
“Already this winter heating season we have had numerous serious fires from the improper disposal of ashes from fireplaces, wood and pellet stoves,” said Coan. “A single ember can remain hot for days, so put ashes in a metal container with a lid away from the house, the garage, the deck,” he added. Several recent fires started with ashes put into plastic bags, cardboard boxes, and plastic trash bins, in the garage, or under the deck.
“Don’t over fire your woodstove this weekend. An overtaxed woodstove can easily start a chimney fire taking advantage of creosote build-up or minor cracks in the flue or causing a breakdown in the chimney liner,” said Coan. Heating appliances are the leading cause of carbon monoxide in the home and the risk increases when they are working harder. For more information go to www.mass.gov/keepwarmkeepsafe.