28 Dec

Winter Health

Staying warm safely

Whether you use a portable space heater or a wood burning fireplace for your heating needs, extreme caution should be used when employing any type of heating system. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 79% of fatal fires are caused by space heating equipment. Heating equipment continues to be the second leading cause of home fires, and the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

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FDNY recommends that there be three feet of clearance between space heaters and furniture. Most fires are caused by heaters being too close to furniture. Portable space heaters should not be left on and unattended. If you are leaving the room, turn the heater off. It is also advisable to look for heaters with an automatic shut off feature, just in case you forget to switch the heater off. Remember to keep children and animals away from heating equipment. It is best to have a three feet animal and child free zone around the heaters.

If using a fireplace, be advised to have your chimney regularly inspected. Also, before you light any fires make sure the flute is open. You can do this by looking up the chimney. If you can see daylight, the flute is open. Keep an eye out for any other obstructions. Obstructions in the chimney can cause a backup of carbon monoxide in your home. Pressure-treated wood should not be burned in stoves or fireplaces because it contains toxic chemicals that can make you sick.

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Test your smoke detectors regularly, and if you do not already have one, purchase a carbon monoxide detector, especially if you are using a fireplace. Carbon monoxide is odourless, colourless and extremely difficult to detect.

Common sense and safety go hand in hand. Do not use portable heaters to dry clothes or any other flammables.

Stay safe and stay warm this winter.


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