(NC) With the winter weather here to stay, many of us are waiting out the cold in the comfort of our homes. Whether you're wishing for warmer days or enjoying your time with indoor activities, it is important to keep home safety top of mind. Here are a few important safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
• Always place a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against errant sparks. A recent national survey by First Alert shows that only a third of Canadians follow this important practice.
• If you are using space heaters, make sure you plug directly into the wall outlet and avoid using extension cords. Always remember to turn off the space heater when you leave a room or go to bed.
• Make sure all outlets and switches have faceplates and never run power cords across doorways or under carpets.
• Ensure you have the appropriate safety products in your home. Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, inside each bedroom and in the main living spaces. Keep fire extinguishers on every level, and make sure to have them in the kitchen and garage.
• Never use your oven to heat your home – this can be extremely dangerous.
• Beware of carbon monoxide, an odorless invisible gas that can only be detected by a carbon monoxide alarm. This toxic gas can be deadly.
• Remember that any fuel-burning appliances should be inspected regularly. Arrange for a professional inspection annually to detect any carbon monoxide leaks.
• If there is a power outage, never use a generator indoors. Portable electric generators should only be used outside at a safe distance from the home — at least 15 feet — as using a generator indoors could allow carbon monoxide to collect.
• Be mindful of the garage. Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even if the door is open, as carbon monoxide emissions can leak into the home. If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, leave the building immediately for fresh air and call 911.
• Never burn boxes or any other types of packaging — they burn rapidly and generate too much heat. Recycle wherever possible instead.
Find more information online at www.firstalert.ca
Gil Strachan is a professional home inspector, representing Electrospec Home Inspection Services in east-central Ontario since 1994.