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Winter Heating Safety Tips

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Winter Heating Safety Tips

As the temperature drops, there is an increase in the use of space heaters and heat lamps as people take steps to warm their homes.  Safety must be a top consideration when using these appliances.

The Travis County Fire Marshal suggests the following tips for safe heating:

  • Keep the heater three feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.  Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump it and knock it over.
  • Do not use an extension cord.  Plug your electric-powered space heater into an outlet with sufficient capacity.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
  • Keep electric heaters away from water.  Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
  • When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as, Underwriter's Laboratories Inc. (UL)
  • Use the proper grade of the proper fuel for your liquid-fueled space heater. Never use gasoline in any heater not approved for gasoline use. Only refuel cooled equipment in a well ventilated area.
  • In your fireplace or wood stove, use only dry, seasoned wood to avoid the build-up of creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire.  Use only paper or kindling wood, not a flammable liquid, to start the fire. 
  • Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room.  Allow fireplace and woodstove ashes to cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container away from your house.
  • Do not use the oven to heat your home.
  • Make sure all fuel-burning equipment vents to the outside to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide and that the vents are well sealed. 

If you are thinking of using a heat lamp to keep your animals warm, the following safety tips are important to keep in mind:

  • Use the proper equipment for the animal.  Ask a knowledgeable clerk for the proper lamps for your animal and the space to be heated.
  • Suspend the lamp at the proper distance. Clamp lamps will work for smaller animals, larger lamps should be suspended from the ceiling with a chain.

Contact the Travis County Fire Marshal's Office at 854-4621 if you have any questions. Or check out information from the National Fire Prevention Association.



 
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