Would you be surprised to learn that around 50,000 people visit the emergency room every year for symptoms of CO poisoning. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), at least 430 more die every year due to accidental CO poisoning. These incidents are largely preventable, making heating safety a critical topic for every homeowner.
To help you and your family stay safe throughout the cold months ahead, we created this list of heating safety tips.
- Make sure your home has both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. They should be in living areas, by sleeping areas and in hallways. You should have them in any room with a heating device as well. Check their batteries once a month to make sure they are fully operational.
- It’s important that you never leave a fireplace or space heater unattended. If you leave the room, unplug the unit or extinguish the fire. For electric heating devices, pay special attention as you plug and unplug them. If you notice any spark, smoke or a buzzing sound, immediately unplug the device and discontinue use.
- Never use outdoor heaters inside of your home. You should only use space heaters specifically made for indoor use to heat your home.
- Never use extension cords or plug bars for space heaters. These appliances draw a lot of energy and need to be directly plugged into the wall. Additionally, don’t use ungrounded outlets for space heaters.
- Never never leave children or pets alone in rooms with any type of heating element.
- Be sure that you have a couple of fire extinguishers in your home. It’s important that everyone also knows where they are and how to use them. You’ll also want to check that the extinguisher is rated for use on all types of fires. And don’t forget to check it yearly, or as recommended by the manufacturer, to make sure it’s still functional.
- Keep flammable things away from all sources of heat. This includes furniture, curtains, magazines, area rugs and anything else that could easily catch fire. It only takes a single ember to cause a disaster.
- Inspect your heating equipment for signs of wear and damage at the start of every heating season. If cords are worn or show signs of wear, replace the equipment immediately.
- If you have a fireplace, have it professionally cleaned and inspected before the heating season starts.
- Create a fire plan so that your family knows what to do in case of an emergency. Your plan should include routes for escape and information where everyone should meet outside the home. The National Fire Protection Association has tips for creating an emergency fire escape plan for your family.
And if your home’s HVAC equipment needs inspection or repair this winter, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are available 24/7 and can get your system back up and running safely and efficiently.