With winter now here in full force, area emergency officials are offering reminders on home heating safety. First and foremost, Yadkin County Fire Marshal Ricky Leonard said that outdoor cooking appliances like charcoal grills should never be used indoors as a heating source.
“That’s a smoldering fire and that puts off a tremendous about of carbon monoxide,” Leonard said. “Any gas appliance that puts off carbon monoxide can cause your home to fill up with it and you won’t wake up in the morning.”
“Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of various fuels, including coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane, and natural gas. Products and equipment powered by internal combustion engines such as portable generators, cars, lawn mowers, and power washers also produce CO,” according to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission. “On average, about 170 people in the United States die every year from CO produced by non-automotive consumer products.”
Leonard said working carbon monoxide detectors are vital in homes for those who do use a fuel burning heat source.
“If you are going to use something that’s fuel burning, even if it’s your home heat, make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector in the home,” he said. “Also be sure to have working smoke alarms in the home, in case there is a fire.”
Using the oven with the door open as a heat source is another dangerous option, Leonard reminded.
Any kerosene or electric heater, including baseboard heat, should have a 36-inch clearance space, Leonard said.
A recent fire in the county was caused by a pillow falling onto the baseboard heating unit in a home.
Going over the emergency plan for a family is another important task Leonard suggested. Not only should families and individuals plan to have at least 72 hours worth of food and water to sustain themselves if inclement weather were to cause power outages, families also should check to be sure all windows can be opened and should have a specific plan on how to safely get out of their home should there be a fire. Having a designated place to meet once outside the home is another important part of an emergency plan, Leonard said.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.