Safety Alert: Home Heating Season Is Here - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/13/08

Safety Alert: Home Heating Season Is Here

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With colder weather here, many people across the South Plains will turn on furnaces, space heaters, or light up the fireplaces, but the Lubbock Fire Marshal's Office wants to make sure you put safety first. 

Before you crank on your furnace, you'll want to make sure it's safe. Gas flow and other technical aspects should be left to professionals, but you can check the air filter, and replace it if necessary. A clogged filter restricts air flow, making it work harder and put out less heat. Second, check the blower belt for cracks or frays, and then make sure the doors are replaced properly to keep carbon monoxide from escaping.

Make sure vents around your home are clear to make sure air circulates. Also, check that the exhaust flue is clear, with all connections securely fastened, and make sure any flammable objects are moved from around the furnace.

The Lubbock Fire Marshal recommends that folks who use fireplaces have them inspected and cleaned by a professional. In addition, you should never burn trash in your fireplace, and the fire marshal says you need to have a three foot clearance around the flames. Also, keep a screen up to prevent embers from starting a fire, and dump your ashes into a metal bucket, and poor water over it so hot ash doesn't start a fire.

Spaces heaters can also pose a fire danger. "If you're going to use space heaters, they're supposed to be used in a temporary fashion.  Use them according to the manufactures recommendations; you also need to make sure no to leave them unattended, make sure if it's tipped over, that it has a shutoff device, use a proper extension cord, but you only want to use in very limited fashion, because that's what their made to use for," Lubbock Fire Marshal Mike Kemp said.

The fire marshal's office also wants folks to make sure they have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector this season.  "That is really something we're stressing this year, to make sure that people are aware of carbon monoxide detectors; you want to at least have one in your home outside the sleeping areas; just last year we had six people that were overcome with carbon monoxide, and we really think that's a high number," Kemp said. 

(Click Here) for more safety tips to protect you and your family this season.

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