CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Many will turn on their heaters as cold weather approaches, but there are important tips to follow to ensure your family stays safe.
Jeff Proctor has one priority inside his home.
“You want to protect your family, you know,” he said. “It’s a scary thing.”
Proctor is a firefighter in Clifton Park. But at home he’s a husband and father. He’s seen firsthand what can happen to families who don’t take the necessary steps when turning on their heaters.
“It’s horrible, and some of it probably could be prevented,” he said.
Heaters are turned off for the summer season. By winter, there may be issues you aren’t aware of.
“Actually, we hear of someone dying because of carbon monoxide poisoning in the house.”
Clifton Park Fire Chief Art Hunsinger said his crew responds year round to carbon monoxide calls but especially when the temperature outside begins to drop.
“People tighten up their houses more,” he said. “There’s no windows open; there’s no doors open because it’s cold outside.”
As a result, carbon monoxide stays inside usually without people’s knowledge.
“Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and you don’t see it. It’s deadly.”
To ensure it doesn’t happen in your home, make sure everything is working properly before you use it.
“Before you actually turn the heater on, you should have it checked.”
You should also keep a carbon monoxide detector on every floor and have a plan in place if the detectors go off.
“Get the family out safely and then call emergency services,” Proctor said.
Proctor said having a plan is the difference between life and death. Hunsinger also said you should be checking your heater for buildup inside of the unit that may be blocking the vents.