News release from Indiana State Fire Marshal
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - In order to cope with power outages resulting from the storm, many Hoosiers are likely to be using alternative heating sources to warm their homes. The Indiana State Fire Marshal is encouraging these individuals to use alternative heating sources safely.
Tens of thousands were without power over night. Even where power outages are not present, some individuals may still be using alternative heating sources to keep homes more comfortable.
"When used safely, many types of alternative heating, such as fire places, gas or electric space heaters, wood burning stoves, etc., can be effective means of heating Hoosier homes," said Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson. "Anyone using these or other types of alternative heating sources needs to follow all manufacturer directions and exercise extreme caution to avoid starting a fire or experiencing the harmful effects of carbon monoxide."
The Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.
Tips for safe alternative heating
* According to NFPA, between 2004 and 2008, the leading factor contributing to home heating fires was failure to properly clean creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire, from solid-fueled heating equipment such as chimneys.
* Regular cleaning and annual inspections by a professional chimney sweep will help keep a fireplace free from obstructions and creosote.
* Among fatal home heating fires, the leading factor contributing to the ignition of the fires was heating equipment stationed too close to flammable materials.
* Keep all flammable materials, such as draperies, blankets, clothing, bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture, etc., at least three feet away from heating equipment.
* Use only paper or kindling wood, not a flammable liquid, to start a fire.
* Use only dry, seasoned wood in a fireplace or wood stove to avoid the buildup of creosote. Do not use artificial logs in wood stoves.
* If using a gas fireplace, ensure the fireplace vents properly and that there is a functioning carbon monoxide detector in the room.
* Keep fire extinguishers on hand and know how to use them.
If you have a space heater, know how to use it safely to avoid the risk of fire.
* Use the proper grade of fuel for your liquid-fueled space heater and never use gasoline in any heater not approved for gasoline use.
* Refuel space heaters only in a well ventilated area and when the equipment is cool.
* Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity, never into an extension cord.
* Turn off space heaters whenever the room they are in is unoccupied.
* Turn off space heaters when you go to bed each night to avoid knocking them over in the dark.
* Keep space heaters away from flammable materials such as bedding, drapes, clothing, etc.
If you have a generator, know how to use it properly to avoid Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
* Never use a generator inside.
* Place emergency generators outdoors away from windows and doors to prevent fumes from entering the home.
* Have a CO detector in the house that sounds an alarm when dangerous carbon monoxide levels are found.
If you do not have access to alternative heating sources, below are some tips for staying warm in your home.
Insulating your home
* Close blinds and drapes or cover windows with a blanket to help prevent heat from escaping through the glass.
* Close storm doors and windows.
* Place rolled-up towels or blankets at the base of doors and windows to prevent cold air from drafting in.
* Remember that heat rises, so the highest level in your home is likely to be the warmest.
For more information about alternative heating sources, visit the IDHS website at www.in.gov/dhs/getprepared.