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Officials Warn About Alternative Heating

Soaring heating costs are causing some people to turn towards alternative hearing methods this winter. Some of these methods proving to be unsafe and resulting in fires or even carbon monoxide poisoning.

The Energy Information Administration reported in its Winter Fuels Outlook that households who predominantly use oil or gas for heating will experience a 28% increase in cost this winter. In Cambria county alone, 47% of homes depend on gas and 35 % rely on oil making these two resources the highest in demand.

Local fire departments spoke about the dangers of people looking to heat their home while saving on their heating bill.

“Flue fires, chimney fires and the hazards of using space heaters whether it starts a fire or the outlet is overloaded by that space heater or if it was being used with an extension cord, that is the majority of fires that we see in the winter time,”

Lieutenant Burkett further explains the dangers posed by using fireplaces and space heaters.

“With fireplaces it’s important to burn wood that is not sappy or excessively wet, that can cause an excessive amount of smoke to enter the chimney, It’s also important that the chimney is inspected yearly by a professional to ensure operation prior to first use. In regards to space heaters, they should always be used in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations and there should be three feet of clearance around the space heater.”

The Johnstown fire chief spoke about the dangers of carbon monoxide from people using their gas stoves to heat their homes or generators during power outages.

“If you have a power outage in the house generators should be outside, where the exhaust is not going to enter the house, The generators produce with their gasoline motors produce a lot of carbon monoxide. They can put residents into high levels.”

“Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, tasteless. It’s only detectable by a carbon monoxide detector, The higher the amount of carbon dioxide, the faster symptoms will occur, and the more sick you can get.”

There are however some guidelines that you can follow in order to make sure that you and your family stay safe this winter.

“If you’re using any auxiliary heating appliances in your house, follow the manufacturer recommendations, don’t use extension cords, don’t plug them into plug strips, and make sure that they’re not close to anything that’s flammable,”

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