Temperatures are frigid, snow is blowing and ice is abundant across much of the continent as we face one of the coldest winters on record. With more winter storms and cold temperatures on the way, it’s essential to remain vigilant and be prepared to deal with potential power outages, loss of heat and severe weather-related conditions.
CSA Group, a leader in public safety, testing and certification, offers the following five urban winter survival tips to help reduce hazards in your home and be ready for almost anything else the cold weather throws your way.
- A working carbon monoxide alarm can save your life: Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, lethal gas, and if your home uses fuel-burning appliances, such as a gas fireplace or furnace, you could be at risk of carbon monoxide exposure. Make sure all fuel-burning appliances are properly ventilated when in use, and ensure you have a working carbon monoxide alarm with a battery backup and a certification mark, such as CSA Group, to ensure it’s been tested to the applicable standards for safety and performance.
- Ensure your gas fireplace is safe: Besides their decorative qualities, gas fireplaces can provide comfortable, economical and supplemental heating for your living space. However, before using gas fireplaces, it is important to conduct routine inspections and maintenance. The appliance’s control compartments, burners, vents and circulating air passageways must be kept clean and clothing or other flammable material should not be placed on or near the fireplace. A fireplace should be inspected before each use and checked annually by a qualified professional serviceperson.
- Use space heaters with care: Space heaters are designed to heat a chilly room, not to dry clothes, heat food, warm your bed, or thaw frozen pipes – misuse can lead to serious injuries, fatalities and fires. When using a space heater in your home, be sure to follow all safety precautions to prevent fire, scorching, carbon monoxide and indoor air pollutants. Look for a certification mark, such as CSA Group, on the space heater to ensure it is certified by an accredited organization and safe for indoor use.
- Keep outdoor appliances outdoors: When faced with a power outage, it can be tempting to use outdoor appliances to heat your home, but that choice can be deadly. Never use an outdoor fuel-powered generator, BBQ, camping stove, lantern or other outdoor appliance inside your home or garage without ventilation. The fumes from these appliances can be lethal in enclosed spaces.
- Be careful with power generators: In the event of a power outage, use of generators can offer access to light and warmth. When using a generator, be sure to check it’s rated for the amount of electricity required. To prevent shock, it should be properly grounded and never connected to a home’s wiring, which could send high-voltage currents or “backfeed” to outside power lines. Backfeed could be fatal to anyone who touches the power line and may cause additional damage to a home.
Most importantly, use all your devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions and keep a copy of the warnings and instructions on-hand.
About CSA Group
CSA Group is an independent, not-for-profit member-based association dedicated to advancing safety, sustainability and social good. We are an internationally-accredited standards development and testing & certification organization. We also provide consumer product evaluation and education & training services. Our broad range of knowledge and expertise includes: industrial equipment, plumbing & construction, electro-medical & healthcare, appliances & gas, alternative energy, lighting and sustainability. The CSA mark appears on billions of products around the world.
Manager, Corporate Affairs