CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia public-safety officials are offering safety tips as cold weather approaches.
According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, homeowners who rely on any kind of fuel-burning heat sources -- from wood and coal stoves to gas furnaces -- should have their equipment inspected before the onset of cold weather, to lessen the chances of carbon-monoxide poisoning or fires.
Fireplace flues and chimneys should be inspected before each heating season, checking for leaks or blockage by creosote or debris, and dampers should be opened before lighting and kept open until ashes cool, to help prevent the buildup of poisonous gasses. Fireplace ashes should be stored in a fire-resistant container outside and away from combustibles.
Space heaters should be at least 3 feet from bedding, drapes and furniture and ideally should have a shutoff feature if oxygen levels drop too low. Space heaters should not be left on while you asleep and should be turned off when you leave.
Charcoal should never be burned inside homes, vehicles, tents or campers, even if ventilation is provided.
Public-safety officials also say smoke detectors should be placed on every floor of a home, and homes should have a carbon-monoxide detector. Detectors should be tested monthly and the batteries changed once a year. Officials recommend replacing batteries when homeowners set their clocks back for the end of daylight-saving time, to make it easier to remember to change batteries.
Daylight-saving time begins Sunday morning.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.