VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — With the winter weather well on its way, the Virginia Natural Gas shares tips to keep your homes and your loved ones safe.
According to VNG, half of house fires occur from December through February. With the holiday season added into the mix, decorations, winter storms, home heating and candles can add to increased risks during the colder weather months.
Below are holiday safety tips to consider during winter weather:
- The leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking, according to the NFPA. Prevent fires by making sure your oven and stovetop are clean and free of grease and dust. Always have a cook in the kitchen when appliances are in use.
- Lights are among some of the best parts of holiday decorating, but make sure there are no exposed or frayed wires, loose connections, and don’t overload sockets. Use clips to hang lights, not nails, so cords do not get damaged. Ensure timers are turning interior and exterior lights on and off at appropriate times.
- Never leave a burning candle unattended. Avoid using candles if possible and consider using battery-operated ones instead.
- Shop during daylight hours if you can, and if it’s dark out, park in a well-lit area and stay alert to your surroundings. Make sure all doors are locked and any packages or valuables are stowed in the trunk or placed out of sight.
- Don’t share your travel plans, or when your home will be empty. Wait until you return to post those vacation photos on social media. Ask a trusted neighbor, family member or friend to check in on your home while away.
- Designate a sober driver or arrange for a cab ahead of time if you plan to drink at holiday gatherings.
- Use a broom to move any snow away from the meter; avoid using a shovel or snow blower.
- Check outdoor vent openings and air intakes to ensure appliances are not obstructed by snow, ice or other debris.
- Customers should never use natural gas appliances, such as burners on a stove or ovens, to heat their homes or businesses.
- Make it a semiannual habit to change smoke and CO detector batteries. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that consumers change the batteries when they change the clocks for daylight saving time.
- Install a CO detector near all bedrooms in the house; do not install a detector near your kitchen, garage or in a room with a furnace.
- Possible symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and vomiting; anyone experiencing these symptoms are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention.
- Generators can be useful after a storm but dangerous if not properly used. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are CO poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution and fire. NEVER use a generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces.
- Clean smoke detectors of dust and cobwebs to ensure proper function. Have a fire escape plan for your family in case of a fire. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.
For more safety tips from Virginia Natural Gas, click here.