Watertown— The weather is only getting colder, as wind chills and the temperatures drive below zero. Space heaters as well as personal home heaters may be a potential threat to home safety.
The City of Watertown Fire Department has set out this advisory regarding safety in the home and preventing potential home fires.
Remember, smoke detectors are our first line of defense preventing injuries from a fire. Smoke detectors should be installed on each level of your house including any area where occupants sleep. Detectors should be cleaned and tested often and the batteries should be changed at least twice a year.
Carbon Monoxide detectors are just as important, especially this time of year, when we are using wood burning stove, oil, natural gas and propane furnaces and kerosene heating appliances. Carbon Monoxide is called the silent killer since it is a colorless and odorless. The build up of this hazardous gas can accumulate in your home from loose, rotten or broken vent pipes from any of your heating appliances. Sickness and even death can occur to anyone exposed to hazardous amounts of carbon monoxide.
It is recommended that your heating appliances are cleaned and inspected annually by a reputable repair company to be sure none of these defects are in your home.
Portable heaters are required to be kept at least 3’ from any combustible item including curtains, wood molding, furniture, walls and even children who play in this area. Children can be severely burned if allowed to play too close to these appliances. These portable heaters should be plugged directly into the wall and the use of extension cords is not recommended. Automatic shut off buttons should be a main component of your heater. If the appliance is old enough not to have one of these safety components, its time to retire the unit for a new safer model. All heaters should be turned off when you are not in the room, and the proper type of fuel should be used only for these appliances.
Fireplaces should also be inspected as well as the iron screen and glass doors on the fireplace. Cracks or damage to these items may allow hot embers to drop out of the unit onto the floor causing a fire.
If a generator is used, it should only be used outside and in a well-ventilated area away from any opening door or window to your house. All generator units should be allowed to cool completely before you attempt to refuel the appliance.
If we all practice fire safety measures, we can all have a safe winter.