Cold Weather Safety Tips
January 07, 2011

In light of the forecasted frigid weather, these tips may help save someone's life.

Space heater safety tips

 Maintain a THREE FOOT AREA around all space heaters that is free of flammable or combustible materials.  If a space heater is used the bedroom make sure that blankets and bedding can not fall and come into contact with the heater.  Keep children and pets away from space heaters.

  • Use space heaters only as a supplementary source of heat. These devices are not intended to replace the home's heating system.
  • Do not use extension cords or power strip with space heaters.
  • Inspect the heater's cord periodically to look for frayed wire or damaged insulation. Do not use a space heater with a damaged cord.
  • Check periodically for a secure plug/outlet fit. If the plug becomes very hot, the outlet may need to be replaced by a qualified technician. This could be the sign of a potential home wiring issue.
  • Heaters should be placed on a flat, level surface. Do not place heaters on furniture since they may fall and become damaged or break parts in the heater.
  • Unless the heater is designed for use outdoors or in bathrooms, do not use in damp, wet areas.
  • Look for the UL Mark on your electric heater. This means representative samples of the appliance have met UL's stringent safety standards.
  • If you have a liquid-fueled space heater, use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. The wrong fuel could burn hotter than the equipment was designed for and cause a serious fire.
  • When refueling, turn off the heater and let it cool down completely before adding fuel. Wipe away any spills promptly.
  • Before you buy a kerosene heater, check with your local fire department to ensure that it is legal.


Preventing frozen pipes

Before the onset of cold weather, prevent freezing of water supply lines and pipes by following these recommendations:

·         Remove, drain, and carefully store hoses used outdoors.

  • Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located and are in unheated areas. Look in the basement, crawl space, attic, garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated. Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a “pipe sleeve” or installing UL-listed “heat tape,” “heat cable,” or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Many products are available at your local building supplies retailer. Pipes should be carefully wrapped, with ends butted tightly and joints wrapped with tape. Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for installing and using these products. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes - even ¼ inch of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.


During Cold Weather, Take Preventive Action

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing because the temperature of the water running through it is above freezing.

In an effort to keep families safe, the Osage Nation Emergency Management and the American Red Cross offers the following fire safety tips.

·         Don’t overload circuits

  • Plan two escape routes from each bedroom.  For second or third floor sleeping areas, have an escape ladder handy for safe exit through a window.
  • Install a smoke detector in the hallway outside sleeping areas.  Check the battery monthly and replace the battery at least twice a year.
  • Remember, smoke kills.  Keep doors closed at night to inhibit the spread of smoke should a fire occur.  A properly installed and functioning smoke detector should awaken you with adequate escape time.

What can you do to prevent CO poisoning?

  • Only burn charcoal outdoors, never inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
  • Do not use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
  • Do not use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers for heating your home.
  • If you use a fuel-burning appliance for approved indoor uses (such as a heater), make sure it is vented to the outdoors following manufacturer's instructions. Do not use an unvented fuel-burning appliance in any room with closed doors or windows or in any room where people are sleeping.
  • Install and use an exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves.
  • Open flues when fireplaces are in use.
  • Choose properly sized wood-burning stoves that are certified to meet EPA emission standards. Make certain that doors on all wood-burning stoves fit tightly.
  • If you have gas fired appliances or heaters in your home it is recommended that you protect your family and home with a CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR.

What to do if a fire occurs

·         Get everyone out of the house.  DO NOT re-enter the house.

·         Call 911.

·         Call Osage Nation Emergency Management 918.287.5225 / 918-440-0190

·         Call Osage Nation Constituent Services 918.287.5623 / 918.287.5555

·         Call the Red Cross 800-494-0275

·         Contact any of these agencies for help and support after a fire or other disaster.