Even though we’ve passed winter’s half-way mark, the cold fronts which keep hitting the country have made us bring out the extra blankets, hot-water bottles and heaters to keep us warm.
However, the addition of warmth to our homes come with a risk.During this time, emergency responders attend to many incidents of fire and burn-injuries; make safety a priority and don’t be a victim!
Coming home to an already warmed room may sound like a good idea, but leaving your heater on unattended isn’t – always turn it off before leaving your property or going to bed.
We would advise a re-read of your heater’s instruction manual when it’s time to bring out the heater. Couple it up with these tips and you’ll enjoy cosying it up safely:
- Check that everything is still in order. The first, and probably most important step to take is checking that your heater still works as it should and that all components are well connected. Ensure that your gas bottle is secured safely, there are no leaks in the pipes and the regulator is well-maintained. Look out for warning signs of malfunction during use.
- Use the right heater to warm the right place. Whatever you do, do not use outdoor gas heaters indoors! Doing this will expose your loved ones to the carbon monoxide they create, leaving everyone dizzy, breathless and battling with headaches or flu-like symptoms, never mind the increased risk of fire. To avoid accidents, never extend hoses or power cords through doorways.
- Use in well ventilated areas. Pop open a window from time to time to let the carbon monoxide out and the oxygen in. Extended exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal.
- Light it up and turn it off safely. When using your gas heater, ensure that it is lit correctly by first turning on the match or lighter, followed by the gas supply. When switching it off, always shut the gas off at the cylinder first – not just at the on/off switch on the heater. If there are others in your household that use it in your absence, ensure that they know how to operate it correctly. Remember, never remove the regulator while the heater is still on.
- It’s not a dryer. We’re all guilty of having done this, or at least thought about doing it, but using your heater to dry your laundry items is not a wise move. Refrain from placing anything over your heater that will cover it or restrict ventilation, resulting in a fire.
- Do not move the heater while in use. This is a risky action that could result in a gas leak, or worse, an explosion. Rather turn the heater off and wait for it to cool down before moving it around.
- Keep your distance. As attractive as the warmth may be, you want to keep your distance – one metre to be exact. Don’t store or use flammable chemicals close to your gas heater when in use. You may also want to keep your kids and pets away from the heaters to avoid burnt fingers and paws.
Be sure to check the LP Gas association’s website to see if your appliance is on the safe list and look out for their sticker on your appliance packaging.
Another way to protect your home and appliances is to have home insurance. This means that, should anything happen to your home due to a gas leak or anything else that may cause internal and external damage, your house will be covered.
Make safety a priority this winter and keep your family warm the safe way. Should you find yourself in a pickle, call MiHelp to assist you with your emergency.