Safety Tips For Alternative Heating Devises - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Safety Tips For Alternative Heating Devises

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Christie Administration Urges Precautions on Use of Alternative Heating Devices During Extended Power Outages

Gov. Christie's administration sent out the following helpful, life-saving information in regards to heating alternative.

Residents are urged to avoid fire and carbon monoxide hazards by following these tips:

Kerosene Heaters:

  • Check if your local town code permits the use of kerosene heaters. Such heaters are prohibited in all but one- and two-family houses in New Jersey, and are completely banned in some municipalities.
  • Make certain the heater is in proper working order by inspecting the exhaust for carbon buildup and by making sure there is an emergency "knock over" switch.
  • Never use the heater without proper ventilation. Burning fossil fuels produces deadly carbon monoxide gases.
  • Use only the recommended fuel for the unit. Never mix in or use another type of liquid fuel.
  • Never refill the heater while it is operating or when it is hot, and refuel outdoors.
  • Use only approved fuel containers. Keep additional fuel stored away from the home and young children especially.
  • Enforce a "kid zone" or "pet zone" around the heater. Make sure children and pets are not within three feet of the unit.

Wood Stoves and Fireplaces:

  • Be sure the wood stove or fireplace has adequate clearance (at least three feet) from combustible materials, as well as proper floor support and protection.
  • Check that the wood stove is of good quality, construction, and design; and has been laboratory tested. If it doesn't meet these standards, don't use it.
  • Have the chimney inspected before any use and cleaned if necessary.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from escaping and unwanted material from going in, and to help prevent the possibility of burns to people.
  • Burn a wood stove at least twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Do not use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from the fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace can ignite these materials.
  • Be sure a fireplace fire is out before going to sleep.
  • Never close a damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • Follow the directions on the package when using composite logs. Never break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Place ashes in a suitable metal container, make sure the embers are extinguished, and take them outdoors immediately. Make sure that the ashes are not placed near anything flammable.

Portable Generators:

  • Do not run a generator within a basement, garage, three-season room, or any enclosed or partially enclosed structure as it will lead to a dangerous and often fatal accumulation of carbon monoxide.
  • Position generators outdoors and well away from any structure.
  • Never refill a generator with fuel while it is running or hot.
  • Follow the manufacturer's safety instructions.


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