(Washington, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>DC) - With temperatures sinking to single digits the potential for house fires skyrocket as some people may attempt to use their kitchen stove or other forms of open flames to heat their homes or apartments for warmth. The OTA has put together a list of potential dangers (and some suggestions on how to prevent them):
- Don’t Even Try. NEVER USE YOUR OVEN FOR HEATING. Kitchen ovens were never designed for heating homes only for cooking food.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO). CO is another invisible, odorless gas that could be hanging around in your kitchen. The EPA says at moderate levels it causes headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fainting—and at high levels it can be fatal. The gas is emitted anytime combustion appliances (such as gas stoves) are used, but dangerous levels occur only when these appliances are misused or misadjusted. To be safe, the EPA suggests that you have your gas range and oven inspected annually by a professional; never use a gas oven to heat your home; and never burn charcoal indoors. You can pick up CO test kits and alarms/detectors at hardware stores.
- Leaving High Heat Unattended. The most important thing you can to do be safe in the kitchen is to stay close when using high heat on the stovetop. If you must answer the door or the phone, she suggests keeping a spoon or a potholder in your hand so you have a visual reminder to get back to the kitchen ASAP.
- Keep Your Distance. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable heater.
- Turn It Off. Turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
- Proper Fuel. For fuel burning space heaters, always use the proper fuel as specified by the manufacturer.
- Smelling Gas. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not attempt to light the appliance. Turn off all the controls and open doors and windows. Call a gas service person.
For more information on Carbon Monoxide and other potential heating dangers to your home please visit these websites:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>