From the Fire Marshal's Desk
Safety Tips in the Home During Cold Winter Weather
Make sure that you have working smoke alarms in your home. Cold Weather increases fires in the homes.
DO NOT use an open flame torch to defrost frozen water pipes, use a heat gun or hair-dryer.
DO NOT use your oven/stove to provide heat in your home.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Sources of Carbon Monoxide in the home include: 1) The furnace, 2) Kerosene Portable Heater, 3) The fireplace, 4) Gas oven/stove and 5) A vehicle running in the attached garage. Ensure that you have a carbon monoxide detector, test it and changing the batteries to ensure it is in working order.
Electrical heat tape is used to wrap around water pipes to prevent freezing. Here are several safety tips in the proper use of electrical heat tape:
- Purchase UL-certified heat tape. Be sure that the tape has a grounding and a thermostat.
- Heat tapes should be installed in compliance with national, state and local electrical codes.
- Plug the heat tape into a grounded outlet that is protected by a quick-tripping circuit breaker called a ground-fault circuit-interrupter (GFCI).
- Install heat tapes on exterior surfaces and exposed pipes, not inside walls, floors or ceilings.
- To avoid overheating, don't cover heat tapes with insulation, even though some manufacturers may permit it. If you do add insulation according to manufacturers' instructions, use a nonflammable type, such as fiberglass, not foam or vinyl insulation that could catch fire from a failing heat tape.
- Do not wrap heat tape over itself, even though some manufacturers may permit it. Do not use metal bindings of any kind to secure heat tape to piping or roofing.
- Replace any tape that has been exposed to the elements for more than three years. Replace any uncertified tape, even if it shows no signs of wear.
A portable (space) heater is use to take the chill out of a room. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:
- Purchase a portable heater with a seal from an independent testing laboratory.
- Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can catch fire.
- Do not use a portable heater in the bedroom or bathroom.
- Choose a heater with a thermostat and auto shut-off.
- Keep children away from all heating appliances.
- Plug directly into the wall, do not use extension cords.
- Refill kerosene portable heaters outdoors and DO NOT fill the tank full, fill to about 80 percent to allow the kerosene to expand when it warms to room temperature.
- Turn off and unplug when you leave the room or go to bed.
- DO NOT use in the garage.
- DO NOT use under the house to defrost the water pipes.