Mathews, Louisiana - Officials with Lafourche Parish Government and the Office of Emergency Preparedness want to make residents aware of a few safety tips heading in to a cold stretch of days and nights, according to the National Weather Service.
The National Weather Service has already issued a freeze warning for the northern half of the parish stretching down to near Lockport for this evening, with unseasonably cold conditions expected to last through the middle of next week.
With this said, parish officials want residents to remain safe by practicing smart habits when heating their homes.
Along with checking on vulnerable neighbors, bringing pets indoors and bundling up in layers when venturing outdoors, one of the main suggestions via the Consumer Product Safety Commission is how to use portable space heaters the correct way. A commission study estimates nearly 1,200 fires resulted from the misuse of these heaters from 2008 to 2010.
The CPSC recommends the following for safe use of all electric heaters:
Never operate a heater you suspect is damaged. Before use, inspect the heater, cord, and plug for damage. Follow all operation and maintenance instructions. Visit www.cpsc.gov or www.SaferProducts.gov to see if your electric heater has been recalled.
Never leave the heater operating while unattended, or while you are sleeping.
Keep combustible material such as beds, sofas, curtains, papers, and clothes at least 3 feet (0.9 m) from the front, sides, and rear of the heater.
Be sure the heater plug fits tightly into the wall outlet. If not, do not use the outlet to power the heater.
During use, check frequently to determine if the heater plug or cord, wall outlet, or faceplate is HOT! If the plug, outlet, or faceplate is hot, discontinue use of the heater, and have a qualified electrician check and/or replace the plug or faulty wall outlet(s). If the cord is hot, disconnect the heater, and have it inspected/repaired by an authorized repair person.
Never power the heater with an extension cord or power strip.
Insure that the heater is placed on a stable, level surface, and located where it will not be knocked over.
When purchasing a heater, ask the salesperson whether the heater has been safety-certified. A certified heater will have a safety certification mark.
Never run the heater's cord under rugs or carpeting. This can damage the cord, causing it and nearby objects to burn.
To prevent electrical shocks and electrocutions, always keep electric heaters away from water, and NEVER touch an electric heater if you are wet.
SPREAD THE NEWS! Inform family, friends, and coworkers of the ways to use an electric heater more safely.
The National Fire Protection Agency also suggests checking your smoke alarms to make sure they are working, designating a three-foot safe zone between children and open fires and space heaters, never use a stove or oven to heat your home and install carbon monoxide alarms and check them regularly.
For more information to keep you and your family safe during the upcoming winter months, visit lafourchegov.org and click on the COLD WEATHER SAFETY TIPS tab in the rotator box.
Posted on Thu, November 13, 2014
by The Lafourche Gazette