Portable heater and generator safety
Are you without electricity and looking for ways to keep warm and dry? Alternate heating sources can be dangerous or even deadly without the right handling. These tips can help you use portable heaters and generators more safely.
- If heaters aren't used properly people can die. The biggest problems are carbon monoxide poisoning and fire. Be very careful and follow these tips when using any type of space heater. Never put any type of heater on top of carpeting. Place a strip of sheet metal between the heater and any wood, linoleum or tile floor.
- Supervise heating units at all times. Keep children away from heaters and make sure someone is checking the heater while others sleep.
- Keep at least three feet of open space around the heater. Stay clear of curtains, blankets and other nearby combustibles.
- Never use a space heater to dry clothes, shoes or gloves.
- Kerosene heaters are generally not recommended for use in homes. They may be acceptable in a well-ventilated farm shop or garage for short periods of time. Only use kerosene in kerosene heaters; NEVER use gasoline. Fill kerosene heaters outside. Make sure they're cooled and cleaned first.
- Unvented LP gas heaters should not be used indoors or in any confined location.
Electricity generators: Potentially life saving, but sometimes deadly
Portable electricity generators can be extremely important during power outages, but are also potentially dangerous. Here are a few safety tips:
- All generators operate differently and have safety and maintenance requirements. Consult with your operator's manual.
- Gasoline or diesel fuel powered generators produce potentially deadly levels of carbon monoxide. They should only be operated in a well-ventilated area. They need to be protected from rainfall and other moisture sources to avoid electrocution.
- Before operating power generators, talk to the power company or a qualified electrician in your area. Proper installation and switching devices are needed. They prevent equipment damage or electrocution to people working on connected powerlines, even if they are miles away.
- Be sure that the generator unit is kept clean and in good running order. Dust and dirt accumulations can cause overheating.
- Periodically test any emergency generators to be sure they will start when they are needed.