Virginia Natural Gas offers tips for staying safe during the winter


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – As winter approaches, Virginia Natural Gas shares tips for keeping your homes and loved ones safe.

According to VNG, half of house fires occur from December to February. With the holiday season added to the mix, decorations, winter storms, home heating, and candles can increase the risks during the colder months.

Below are some safety tips to consider during the winter holidays:

  • According to the NFPA, the number one cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. Prevent fires by making sure your oven and range are clean and free of grease and dust. Always have a cook in the kitchen when appliances are in use.
  • Lights are some of the best parts of holiday decorating, but make sure there aren’t any exposed or frayed wires, loose connections, and overloading outlets. Use pliers to hang the lights, not nails, so the cords don’t get damaged. Make sure the timers turn indoor and outdoor lights on and off at the appropriate times.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Avoid using candles if possible and consider using battery-powered candles instead.
  • Do your shopping during the day if you can, and if it is dark, park in a well-lit area and pay attention to your surroundings. Make sure all doors are locked and all packages or valuables are stowed in the trunk or placed out of sight.
  • Don’t share your travel plans, or when your house is empty. Wait until you come back to post those vacation photos on social media. Have a trusted neighbor, family member or friend watch your home while you are away.
  • Designate a sober driver or take a cab ahead of time if you plan on drinking during the holidays.
  • Use a broom to push any snow away from the meter; avoid using a shovel or snow blower.
  • Check exterior ventilation openings and air inlets to make sure units are not blocked by snow, ice, or other debris.
  • Customers should never use natural gas appliances, such as burners on stoves or ovens, to heat their home or business.
  • Get into the habit of changing the batteries in smoke and CO detectors every six months. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that consumers change the batteries when changing clocks for daylight saving time.
  • Install a CO detector near all bedrooms in the house; do not install a detector near your kitchen, garage or in a room with a furnace.
  • Possible symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting; anyone exhibiting these symptoms is encouraged to seek immediate medical attention.
  • Generators can be useful after a storm, but dangerous if not properly used. The main hazards to avoid when using a generator are CO poisoning from toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. NEVER use a generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space.
  • Clean smoke detectors from dust and cobwebs to ensure proper operation. Have an escape plan for your family in the event of a fire. Walk around your house and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.

For more safety tips from Virginia Natural Gas, Click here.

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