The Ithaca Fire Department has reminded the community to be cautious when it comes to heating up their homes this winter season. Not only can windows and doors be the cause of 38% of heat loss, poor heating habits could result in home fires. In fact, home heating fires are the second leading cause of house fires in the U.S., right behind kitchen or cooking fires.
While speaking to The Ithaca Voice, the Fire Department urged homeowners to take action in three distinct areas:
- HVAC Inspections
- Space Heater Usage
- Fireplace Cleaning
In addition, they recommended that chimneys, air vents, and electrical outlets be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis to prevent any flammable build-up.
In addition, the Ithaca Fire Department reminded homeowners that daylight savings is a good indicator of when smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries should be changed. The transitions from winter to spring and fall to winter can provoke some hazardous situations if batteries aren’t properly powering your devices.
Clifton Park firefighter Jeff Proctor provided advice along the same lines but focused his attention on informing homeowners of the importance of carbon monoxide awareness this winter.
“You want to protect your family, you know,” he told ABC News 10. “It’s a scary thing.”
Proctor says that heaters are typically turned off and left without a second thought come summer, which unfortunately means that by winter, new issues may have arisen that homeowners aren’t aware of.
And Proctor isn’t alone in his concern.
Clifton Park Fire Chief Art Hunsinger told ABC News 10 that his crew typically responds to more carbon monoxide calls when winter rolls around. He explained that homeowners tend to keep windows and doors shut, which keeps air trapped inside. While energy efficient windows and doors can lower energy bills by 7% to 15%, keeping these highly efficient fixtures closed can trap carbon monoxide inside a home that much more effectively.
“Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and you don’t see it. It’s deadly,” Hunsinger stressed.
According to Hunsinger and Proctor, there are three critical elements families need to take stock of when it comes to carbon monoxide.
- HVAC Inspections
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors
- Gas Leak Evacuation Plan
As Hunsinger told ABC News 10, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. Having up-to-date carbon monoxide detectors can mean all the difference when it comes to any homeowner’s safety. In addition, a plan of action for a carbon monoxide leak should be at the top of every family’s winter priority list.
“Get the family out safely and then call emergency services,” Proctor said.