The Fall Season is upon us and it’s a great time to review these safety tips to help you transition from the summer to shorter days and cooler autumn nights.
- Check around the furnace before turning on the heat for the first time – always be sure that there is nothing flammable around it. Also, before winter arrives, have your furnace inspected. And for your own reference, be sure that the flame is blue, not yellow or orange. And check the pipe from the furnace to the chimney for rust spots and ensure that both ends are securely connected. If you have radiators, be sure to remove anything that’s sitting on top of them before the heat turns on.
- Choose light-colored clothing for your kids so that they are more easily seen by drivers. On Halloween, it’s especially important to ensure your kids can be seen. Equip them with a flashlight and glow stick, and if their costume is dark, add some reflective stickers or tape.
- Remember to change batteries when you “fall back.” It’s a good rule of thumb to replace batteries for smoke alarms and CO detectors twice a year when the time changes (or when the alarm “chirps” for low battery).
- Practice a family fire escape plan. Don’t have one? Now is the time to devise and practice one. Again, this escape plan should be practiced at least twice a year.
- Use space heaters safely. Keep any combustibles “three feet from the heat” or “a meter from the heater.” If you’re using a fuel-powered heater, allow fresh air to circulate by opening a door or window slightly. And remember to turn off your heater when you leave the house and before you go to bed.
- Add outdoor lighting to dark places. Not only will this deter intruders, but it can help to protect against falls. Motion sensor lights are especially beneficial around doors and near steps.
- Clean out your gutters weekly. If your gutters are hard to reach, you can install a leaf guard to keep most of the leaves out.
- Have your chimney inspected before you fire it up. If you use your chimney yearly, you should have it cleaned every year to prevent a chimney fire. And if your chimney needs repair, leave it to the professionals.
- Get your car ready for the winter. Aside from checking tires and fluid levels, you should stock your car trunk with winter essentials. You can benefit from having a blanket, hat, gloves, a bag of salt, sand, or non-clumping kitty litter for traction, extra windshield fluid, and ice scraper, and shovel. In case you get stuck, you should have a brightly colored cloth on hand to tie to your antenna, along with snacks (granola bars, unsalted canned nuts) and bottled water (keep them at about two-thirds full in case they freeze).
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