Cold weather safety tips

As the temperature drops and the skies darken earlier, many are seeking warmth and predominantly spending their time indoors, whether it’s at home or at work. Technical Safety BC safety officers see their share of hazards in the winter, often investigating incidents that could have been prevented with a bit of care and attention. Follow these tips to avoid unnecessary risk to you, your family and employees.

Portable electric heaters

  • Portable electric heaters should be in good condition. Do not use heaters with damage to their cord or casing.
  • Ensure your portable heater is placed in an area with clear space. Keep it three meters away from combustibles such as curtains, bedding, newspapers or laundry.
  • Don’t use an extension cord.
  • Keep the heater away from any water source.

Boilers

  • Check that all ventilation and combustion air openings and louvers are clean and free of debris.
  • Verify boiler water level and ensure all stack dampers are open before operation.
  • Check the furnace and flue passes for fuel accumulation, and ensure manual fuel valves are open.

Gas appliances

  • Have gas-fired appliances inspected and serviced by a licensed gas contractor at least once per year. This includes boilers, furnaces, hot water tanks, stoves, dryers and fireplaces.
  • Remember to follow the equipment’s certified user guide or manual.

Fireplaces

  • Open a window (even if just a crack) when using a wood burning fireplace to allow fresh air flow into the room.
  • Ensure that carbon monoxide and fire detectors are up-to-date and functioning.
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