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Energy Outreach Colorado's Top 10 Holiday Safety Tips

13 Dec. 2016

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Energy Outreach Colorado's Top 10 Holiday Safety Tips

As the winter holiday season gets into high gear, keep in mind these safety tips from nonprofit Energy Outreach Colorado to remain warm, safe and festive in your home.

  1. With family at home for the holidays, make sure you have working carbon monoxide (CO) detectors near bedrooms. CO can’t be detected by smell, taste or sight and can build up to dangerous levels when fuels such as natural gas, kerosene, wood or gasoline don’t have enough oxygen to burn efficiently.
  2. Check that the power and extension cords on your lights and lawn decorations are certified by an independent testing laboratory and aren’t frayed, cracked or cut. Follow the rating for indoor or outdoor use.
  3. If you’re planning to stoke up the wood-burning fireplace, make sure the chimney has been inspected and cleaned in the last year and use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
  4. Flickering candles set a cozy mood, but make sure you use sturdy, safe candleholders that can collect dripping wax. Keep them away from children and anything that can ignite, such as clothing, books, paper, curtains and flammable liquids. Blow them out when you leave the room or go to sleep.
  5. Rock your Boy Scout and be prepared by making sure smoke detectors are working and keeping firefighting materials on-hand. These include dry powder fire extinguishers, a tarp or heavy blanket, sand, salt, baking soda and water.
  6. Portable electric space heaters aren’t the most energy efficient, but if you must use one make sure it has been approved by a recognized testing laboratory (US, CSA or ETL) and has an automatic shut-off feature. Choose the right size heater for the space you are heating and place it on a hard, level surface at least three feet away from flammable items.
  7. Make sure heating vents are not blocked and the furnace is cleaned and maintained.  Change furnace filters once every two months and do not store flammable liquids in the same room.
  8. Never, ever try to save money by using an unsafe measure to heat your home – like the oven, a barbecue grill or a camp stove. This could result in a fire or a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide.
  9. Instead, if you or someone you know needs help paying a home energy bill, call toll-free 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or go to EnergyOutreach.org for information.
  10. And, if you or someone you know is left out in the cold because your furnace broke down and you can’t afford to fix it, call toll-free 1-855-469-4328 to contact the Crisis Intervention Program managed by Energy Outreach Colorado.

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