Valuable Winter Safety Tips to Help You and Your Family
Taking precautions this holiday season can help you and your family enjoy this time, rather than encounter a potential disaster.
Winter Safety Tips
Heater safety, Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
With the arrival of a cold front in our city, El Paso Fire Department Officials remind the public how important it is to take the necessary safety precautions to prevent heating fires in the home. Many of these fires and injuries can be prevented through proper use and maintenance of heating systems and equipment.
- An annual average of 49,100 heating fires occurred in residential buildings from 2002-2004. These fires were responsible for an estimated 125 civilian fire deaths, 575 civilian fire injuries, and $232 million in property loss.
Heater Safety Tips
Heating is the second leading cause of all residential building fires (behind cooking fires) and is most prevalent in the winter months when the use of central heating systems, portable heaters, and fireplaces is most common. Over one quarter of residential building heating fires result from improper maintenance of heating equipment, specifically the failure to clean the equipment.
Kitchen Safety Tips
- Use a heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards.
- Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials.
- Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an unvented fuel-burning space heater. Make sure your heater meets current safety standards to shut off if oxygen levels fall too low. Make sure your heater is correctly rated for your home. An oversized heater could deplete the available oxygen, causing excess carbon monoxide to be produced.
- NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep. Never place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
- Turn the space heater off if you leave the area. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
- Have heaters inspected annually to ensure proper operation.
- Do not use a kitchen range or oven to heat your house because it could overheat or generate excessive carbon monoxide.
- Be aware that mobile homes require specially designed heating equipment. Only electric or vented fuel-fired equipment should be used.
- Have a smoke alarm with fresh batteries on each level of the house, inside every bedroom, and outside the bedrooms in each sleeping area. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.
Cooking and baking those special holiday treats and meals is a favorite past-time for many. Take precautions to be safe when making those preparations.
- Keep children at least 3 feet away from the stove when food is cooking.
- Avoid loose-fitting clothing
- Never leave food unattended when cooking
- Always turn pot handles inward
- Don't store combustibles items on the stove (e.g. potholders, hand towels)
- Don't use electrical appliances near water and unplug them after use
- Don't overload electrical outlets
- Have an all purpose extinguisher nearby
- Be sure the kitchen is well ventilated to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide from gas cooking appliances
|Newsletter produced by the City Communications & Public Affairs Office.
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