December 8, 2005
Mays Landing, N.J. – Be warned, the Farmer’s Almanac is using words like "Cold, Ice and Heavy Snow" to describe its December and January predictions for the Mid-Atlantic. After warmer than normal weather has teased our area for weeks, subfreezing temperatures have begun to surface and along with them comes an increased risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning.
"As we crank up the heat in our homes it is important to make sure we also test to make sure our smoke alarms and carbon monoxide monitors are installed and are working," warns Atlantic City Electric Vice President Bob Marshall. "And for the sake of safety be sure you have a working fire extinguisher in your home and are familiar with how to use it,” Marshall added.
According to the Centers for Disease Control every year more than 200 people in the United States die from carbon monoxide poisoning produced by fuel-burning appliances. And several thousand others wind up in hospital emergency rooms being treated for carbon monoxide exposure.
Ideally, safety advocates say that home heating systems need to be checked on an annual basis with furnaces serviced by a professional. Also keep in mind, alternative heating sources such as portable heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces need to be cleaned and inspected to weather the winter temperatures.
Portable heaters should be inspected for frayed cords or broken filaments. The heaters need to be kept at least three feet away from furniture or curtains or anything that could be combustible. If you use a kerosene heater use only the fuel recommended by the manufacturer and always refuel outside. And any portable heater you use should have an automatic shutoff just in case it overturns.
With a snowy winter forecast, Atlantic City Electric urges customers to clear away any snow accumulation that could potentially hamper any outdoor appliance vents. Clogged vents could cause damage to appliances and could cause a carbon monoxide build-up.
"More people have opted to buy generators as a backup just in case a heavy snow may interrupt their power supply. If you do find yourself in need of a generator this winter, or at any time, never run that piece of equipment inside your home or garage or even near a window or any kind of vent that could draw carbon monoxide into the house," said Marshall. He added, "That mistake could be fatal."
There were two fatalities last year in New York where the generator was running in the garage so it would not be stolen. The garage door was kept open, but carbon monoxide still made it into the house through poor weather stripping around the door from the main house into the attached garage.
Atlantic City Electric is committed to delivering safe and reliable power and urges customers to think about and to practice safety this heating season. Additional information on being safe around energy use can be found online at www.atlanticcityelectric.com. For additional story ideas please call Atlantic City Electric media relations at 609-625-5567.
Atlantic City Electric, a public utility owned by Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), provides safe, reliable and affordable regulated electric delivery services to more than 500,000 customers in southern New Jersey.