Winter storm safety tips

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 50% of all portable generator-related carbon monoxide deaths occur during the winter months (November – February). Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, account for one-third (33%) of home heating fires and four out of five (81%) of home heating fire deaths according to the National Fire Protection Association. In addition to these inherent winter hazards, winter storms can also lead to serious hazards such as downed power lines and flooding.

Prepare

  • Unplug appliances from outlets to protect them from power surges when the weather gets bad.
  • If you plan to operate a generator, have a licensed electrician install a transfer switch so it can operate safely.
  • Test your home’s carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they are functioning.

Weather the storm

  • Use flashlights as a source of light.  Candles are a fire hazard.
  • Never operate a generator inside your home or partially enclosed spaces, including the garage.
  • Use a battery-powered radio to stay informed about important safety updates.
  • If using a space heater, plug directly in the wall outlet and keep at least three feet away from combustibles.

Recover

  • If flood waters reached the level of electrical outlets, contact a licensed electrician before attempting to use electricity in the home.
  • Never touch a fallen power line or drive through standing water if a downed power line is nearby.  Report downed lines to local authorities.

November 2017 – Credits: Electrical Safety Foundation International

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