In the event of a power outage, persons who plan to use a generator or alternative heat source should follow these recommendations, which were Adapted from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management website
Inspect Chimneys Annually
Fireplace and wood stove chimneys should be inspected annually and cleaned if necessary. They often build up creosote, the residue left behind by burning wood. Creosote is flammable and needs to be professionally removed periodically.
Know Kerosene & Propane Heater Safety
Keep kerosene and propane heaters at least three feet away from furniture, blankets and other flammable objects. Never set the heater on a chair or table. It should sit only on an uncarpeted floor. Never substitute one type of fuel for another. Keep an eye on your heater at all times while it is running. Shut it off before you go to bed or when you leave the house. And, wait for the heater to cool before refueling it. Kerosene has a low flash point and might cause a fire if it comes into contact with a hot surface.
Know Generator Safety
Generators should always be operated outdoors. They produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that is toxic and causes poisoning or death. Do not operate generators in any space that is enclosed or partially enclosed like a garage, crawl space or basement. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not provide enough ventilation to prevent the build-up of carbon monoxide gas.
Portable generators should have a canopy-like cover to keep them dry and away from rain or snow. Use only outdoor-rated extension cords that are properly rated for the specific generator. Extension cords should be plugged directly into the generator. Never try to power the home by plugging a portable generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as "backfeeding." This is extremely dangerous and may cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.
Know Candle Safety
To avoid the dangers of fire while burning candles, please follow the following safety tips:
- Use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead of candles when possible.
- Never leave candles unattended.
- Keep all combustible materials away from open flames.
- Do not burn candles near windows or doorways.
- Place candles in glass or ceramic containers.
- Place candles on a flat, sturdy surface.
- Never leave candles burning when children or pets are present.