Space heater safety: Tips to prevent fires
A space heater can be a cost-effective way to stay warm, but it can also be a fire hazard. In the last few years, several fatal fires in Texas were started by space heaters. Here are tips for keeping your family safe.
1. Inspect immediately Always inspect a heater before you use it. Make sure there are no cracked or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace broken parts or the heater itself before use or get a new one.
2. Not too close Most home heating deaths happened because a space heater was too close to furniture, clothing, mattresses, or bedding. Make sure your heater is at least three feet from anything that can burn.
3. Outlets only Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Don’t use extension cords or power strips. And don’t run the cord under a rug or carpet.
4. Kids and pets Children and pets can knock over a space heater or get too close and burn themselves. Don’t put space heaters in hallways or other places kids or pets might pass by. And don’t let kids move a heater or adjust the controls.
5. No liquids nearby Never use or store flammable liquids in the same room as a space heater. And because they’re electric, don’t get near a heater when you’re wet.
6. Turn it off Always turn off your space heaters before you leave the room or go to bed. Look for models that shut off automatically when tipped over.
For more tips: https://www.tdi.texas.gov/tips/space-heater.html
Five winter driving safety tips to keep your family safe Even in Texas, winter weather can turn your daily commute into an icy obstacle course. These tips can help you stay safe if you take to the road in the cold.
Winter driving safety tips video on YouTube
1, Winterize early Check your car before the weather changes. Test your battery, antifreeze, windshield wipers and fluid, headlights and hazards, heater and defroster, brakes, tire pressure, and tire tread.
2. Check roads and weather You probably have apps for directions and weather, but you can also get road conditions from the Texas Department of Transportation. For weather tips and local conditions, visit the National Weather Service.
3. Plan ahead Leave plenty of time to get where you’re going. If you can wait for better weather, you should. And if there’s a route that lets you avoid bridges, ramps, and overpasses, take it.
4. Slow down, stay back Reduce your speed and don’t tailgate. If there’s ice on the road, you’ll need three times as much space to stop. If you do start to skid, steer in the direction of the skid.
5. Keep an emergency kit If you get stuck, stay in your car. Keep a fully charged cell phone, charger, and a hand-crank or battery-operated radio handy. It can also help to have jumper cables, a spare tire, flares, blankets, a flashlight and batteries, cat litter or sand for traction, food and water, a first-aid kit, and matches.
1. What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that’s sometimes called the invisible killer. It comes from burning fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. You don’t want a lot of it around you.
2. How can carbon monoxide hurt me?
When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it replaces oxygen in your blood. This can make you short of breath or cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, or even death.
3. How can carbon monoxide build up in a home?
The most common causes of carbon monoxide building up are incorrectly installed or poorly maintained or ventilated appliances – like stoves and hot water heaters. Poorly ventilated fireplaces and other gas- or wood-burning appliances can also pose danger.
4. How can I protect my family from carbon monoxide?
Install a carbon monoxide alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home. Make sure alarms aren’t blocked by furniture or curtains. Test alarms every month by pressing their test buttons. Alarm sensors don’t last forever. Replace your alarms every 10 years or when their end-of-life signals sound. Replace alarm batteries at least once a year.
5. What should I do if the alarm goes off?
Do not ignore it. When the alarm sounds, make sure everyone goes outdoors. Call 9-1-1 and stay outdoors until emergency responders say it’s safe to go back in.
6. Any other tips?
Don’t cover the bottom of natural gas or propane ovens with aluminum foil. It can block air flow and cause carbon monoxide build-up. Never leave a car or truck running in a garage. If your vehicle has remote start, make sure you don’t accidentally start it. Never use a charcoal grill, oil lantern, or portable camping stove inside. Never use a portable generator or any gas-powered engine in your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Only use these devices outdoors, and more than 20 feet away from open doors or windows. For more tips, see: How to use a generator safely. Never use a stove or clothes dryer to heat your home. When using a fireplace, make sure first that the flue is open. During and after a winter storm, make sure vents for your dryer, heating system, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up. Have your heating system inspected every year.
Resources and more tips: https://www.tdi.texas.gov/tips/how-to-avoid-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-at-home.html