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Cold Weather Calls for Special Safety Steps

Home Fire Escape Plan
Develop a fire escape plan for your household.

It’s November and cooler weather is knocking on the door. The American Red Cross has steps people should follow as they get ready for cooler weather.

HOME HEATING SAFETY Have furnaces, chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves inspected and cleaned before another winter of use. Test batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Other good steps to take to get one’s home ready for winter include:

  • Make sure flashlights are available throughout the house and that they have fresh batteries. Winter storms can lead to power outages.
  • Cut down on heating costs. Insulate the home by installing storm windows or covering the inside of windows with plastic to keep cold air out.
  • Develop a fire escape plan and practice it with everyone who lives in the home.
  • Have a disaster supply kit ready should winter storms hit. The kit should include a three-day supply of food and water per person, flashlight, battery-powered or hand-crank radio and extra batteries. Other things to include for the winter include:
  • Sand, rock salt or kitty litter to make walkways and steps less slippery
  • Warm coats, gloves or mittens, hats, boots and warm clothing for all household members, along with extra blankets.
  • An alternate way to heat the home, such as a fireplace, or wood or coal burning stove.
  • SPACE HEATERS With heating costs rising, many people are using alternate sources of heat to cut down on heating bills. The Red Cross recommends that people look for a model that shuts off automatically if the heater falls over. Other safety tips include:

  • Place the heater on a level, hard and nonflammable surface in the home.
  • Keep all potential sources of fuel like paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs at least three feet away from space heaters, stoves, or fireplaces.
  • Portable heaters and fireplaces should never be left unattended. Turn off space heaters and make sure any embers in the fireplace are extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

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