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Winter Home Heating Hazards

Cite: www.cpsc.gov

To help prevent deaths and injuries, CPSC and CDC also urge consumers to:

* Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
* Install battery-operated CO and smoke alarms in your home.
* Locate CO alarms outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area.
* Locate smoke alarms on each level of the house and inside every bedroom.
* Replace smoke and CO alarm batteries when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall and check batteries monthly.
* If an alarm sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
* Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, lightheaded or nauseous.

Fireplaces:

* Have flues and chimneys inspected before each heating season for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.
* Open the fireplace damper before lighting the fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. Never close the damper if the ashes are still warm. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
* Store fireplace ashes in a fire resistant container and cover it with a lid. Keep the container outdoors and away from combustibles.

Space heaters:

* Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface (such as ceramic tile floor), not on rugs or carpets or near bedding or drapes. Keep the heater at least three feet from bedding, drapes, furniture and other flammable materials. Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
* To prevent the risk of fire, NEVER leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or place a space heater close to any sleeping person. Turn the space heater off if you leave the area.
* Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and certified by a nationally-recognized testing laboratory. These heaters will have the most up-to-date safety features; older space heaters may not meet the newer safety standards. An unvented gas space heater that meets current safety standards will shut off if oxygen levels fall too low.

Charcoal grills:

* Never burn charcoal inside of homes, vehicles, tents, or campers. Charcoal should never be used indoors, even if ventilation is provided.