LA State Fire Marshal gives home heating safety tips amid winter storm

Published: Feb. 17, 2021 at 10:39 PM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - As the temperatures outside go down, the dangers inside your home go up.

Louisiana State Fire Marshal, H. “Butch” Browning, jr. is urging folks to be extra careful when heating their homes.

“Yeah, we’re very concerned about the long-term power outage and what people are doing to sustain themselves,” Browning said.

Browning says the number one mistake he sees are generators being improperly used.

Below are some safety tips for residents as they use portable generators:

  • Generators should be used in well-ventilated locations outside at least 20 feet away from all doors, windows, and vent openings
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building
  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling - Never refuel a generator while it is hot.

He says it’s also important to understand how toxic carbon monoxide poisoning can be…

“You can’t see it. Can’t smell it. It’s very deadly gas. In fact, over time, it puts you into a deep deep sleep, and then actually put you unconscious and at some point can be lethal to you,” Browning said.

Browning says over the last 24 hours, his department has been sent to investigate an alarming number of fires that were possibly started by improper use of a space heater.

Below are some safety tips for residents as they use space heaters:

  • Choose a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over
  • Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic - Never block an exit
  • Keep children away from the space heater
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed

Browning says in the event that your power goes out, he says it’s best to have a plan for somewhere else to go.

“You know, at some point you got to think about do you go to a shelter? Do you go to a family member or friend’s house who has power? I mean, don’t feel like you’ve got to shelter yourself in an unsafe environment like a home with no power or no water,” \Browning said.

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