El Paso Fire Department urges residents to stay warm safely

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 - 1:59pm

EL PASO — As temperatures continue to drop, it is important that the citizens of El Paso practice safe heating methods to keep warm during these winter months. The El Paso Fire Department urges all residents to practice the following safety tips:

• NEVER USE YOUR OVEN OR STOVE FOR HEATING. This is not only an extremely inefficient method but can be lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. It is also important to note that burners on a gas stove consume a lot of oxygen, which could lead to suffocation.
• Keep Your Distance. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater.
• Turn It Off. Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
• Proper Fuel. For fuel burning space heaters, always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
• Smelling Gas. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all the controls and open doors and windows. Call a gas service person.
• Ventilation. Do not operate a gas heater in a completely 'tight' room. The heater needs a source of fresh air to operate safely and efficiently. 'Crack' a window, if needed.

Carbon Monoxide is another invisible, odorless gas that could be hanging around in your kitchen. At moderate levels it causes headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fainting-and at high levels it can be fatal. The gas is emitted anytime combustion appliances (such as gas stoves) are used, but dangerous levels occur only when these appliances are misused or misadjusted. To be safe, the El Paso Fire Department urges that you have your gas range and oven inspected annually by a professional; never use a gas oven to heat your home; and never burn charcoal indoors. You can pick up CO detectors at hardware stores.

If you or anyone in your family is complaining of any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is extremely important to take the following steps:
1. Evacuate all occupants immediately.
2. Determine how many occupants are ill and determine their symptoms.
3. Call 9-1-1 and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill.
4. Do not re-enter the home without the approval of the fire department.
5. Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the CO.

Remember to check on elderly neighbors or family members to ensure they are safe and safely keeping warm this season.

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