Four Tips to Stay Safe & Warm this Winter
When it’s chilly outside, you’re more likely to use additional electrical devices to keep warm – like space heaters and electric blankets. Keeping warm with these devices also means taking steps to safeguard your loved ones and home from potential fire hazards. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 47,700 home fires occur each year in the U.S. due to electrical failure or malfunction.
Follow these steps to stay warm and safe this winter:
- Avoid overloading outlets. Overloaded outlets are a major cause of residential fires. Avoid using extension cords or multi-outlet converters. Plug appliances directly into a wall outlet. If you’re relying heavily on extension cords, you may need additional outlets. Contact a qualified electrician to inspect your home and install new outlets.
- Turn off space heaters before leaving a room. Avoid leaving space heaters unattended. Also, ensure space heaters are placed at least three feet away from flammable items. Keep in mind that space heaters take a toll on your energy use. If you’re using them throughout your home, consider upgrading your heating system.
- Inspect heating pads and electric blankets. Electric blankets that are more than 10 years old create risks for a fire hazard. Inspect your electric blankets and heating pads – look for dark, charred or frayed spots, and make sure the electrical cord is not damaged. Don’t place any items on a heating pad or electric blanket, and never fold them when in use.
- Use portable generators safely. Unfortunately, winter storms can cause prolonged power outages, which means some people may use portable generators to power their homes. Place the generator outside your home, as carbon monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors. Also, never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or “backfeed” can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.
For more tips, visit jacksonemc.com/safety.