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During the cold and cozy winter season,
we would like to remind you about a few safety steps you can take now.
Home Heating Safety:
  • Replace or clean your furnace filter.

  • Ensure that the burner of the furnace is clean, it is best to have your furnace checked annually.

  • Do not keep any combustible materials within six inches of your vent pipe.

  • Keep the area around the furnace clear of chemicals and obstructions.

  • Keep your family safe from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide, a by-product your furnace will produce.


If your heater goes out you can survive by:
  • Using a fireplace or wood burning stove, if available.

  • Just find someplace else to stay.

  • NEVER use your gas oven for heating your home.

  • If you use a space heater, ensure the area around the heater is free from combustible material and chemicals.

  • It is a good idea to check your heaters now before it gets too cold.  Make sure your heaters work properly.  If you use wall-heaters or space-heaters or small portable electric heaters, make sure all electrical cords, power plugs, dial knobs, and switches are undamaged.

  • Check your heater for dust.  Dust that accumulates on the heating coils can easily catch on fire!

  • Never use extension cords with your portable electric heaters.  Most electric cords are not designed to carry the electrical power load a heater needs and can overheat easily.  Portable electric heaters may be plugged directly into the wall outlet only.  Please check your heater manuals for important safety instructions.

  • Place all portable electric heaters away from curtains or other items that could easily catch on fire.  Check portable heaters to make sure they have a special switch that will shut off if the heater tips over, many old style heaters will not shut off blowing heat into the carpet which can cause a fire.  Replace those old style heaters with new style heaters.

Electrical Extension Cords:
  • Never use extension cords with portable electric heaters or fans.

  • Check all extension cords for their maximum power rating and make sure the rating is not exceeded by the appliances plugged into it.  The cord could overheat and melt the insulation which can cause electrical fires.

  • Never run extension cords underneath carpets or through closets or underneath furniture where they cannot be seen or inspected easily.  Power cords will get warm when in use.  Never bury power cords under fabrics or other materials that could catch on fire.

  • Check your extension cords for safety.  Replace cords with frayed insulation or faulty plugs immediately.  A new cord only costs a few dollars.

Candles and Electric Decorations:
  • Please check all decorations for general safety.  If they are damaged or broken, chose not to use them rather than taking a risk.

  • Never leave electrical decorations or candles unattended and do not place such items near flammable materials, fabrics or curtains.

Christmas Tree Safety:
  • Do not buy your tree too early and make sure to select a fresh tree by firmly squeezing a tree branch with your hand.  If a large number of needles come off, the tree is already dry and dry trees increase the risk of fire.  Select a tree that has still been ‘bundled up’ since bundled trees remain fresher compared to ‘open’ trees.

  • Ask the tree sales person to give you a fresh cut at the bottom of the trunk to remove dry wood and to allow the tree to ‘drink’ water easily when placed in a proper tree stand.  Note that even a fresh cut can dry up within a few hours.  Place your tree into the water immediately after arrival at home.

  • Use a proper and safe tree stand.  Do not use the wood cross stand with a small plastic bowl that is offered by most tree vendors.  They are not safe!  The bowl does not hold enough water, they can leak easily and the nails that are used to hold the tree will loosen up within a short period of time as the tree trunk dries up, possibly causing the tree to fall.  Use a sturdy tree stand with a large water reservoir.  Trees can ‘drink’ as much as 1.5 glasses of water per day even after they are cut, so check the water level daily.

  • Check your tree stand frequently to make sure the tree is secured tightly to the stand.  As the tree dries up, the diameter of the tree trunk shrinks which can loosen up its hold inside the tree stand.

  • Keep your room at low temperatures.  The warmer your room is the faster your tree dries out and dry trees pose a fire danger.

  • Check your electrical tree lights for damages or defects and do not use any defective lights.  New light strings only cost a few dollars.  Check the lights early so you can still get replacements before the holiday rush starts and stores sell out!

  • Keep your tree away from curtains or other flammable materials or decorations.

  • Do not use an automatic timer to turn your Christmas tree lights on and off.  Never burn your tree lights unattended and switch your tree lights off as you leave the room or your house even if you leave for a few minutes only.  A tree can go up in flames in a matter of seconds only!

  • Never use 'indoors-only' electric decorations and power cords in an outdoor setting!  All outdoor decorations and power cords MUST be approved for outdoor use and carry necessary safety marks!

Winter Driving Tips:
The following are things to consider while driving in winter weather conditions.
Tire Pressure:
  • Cold Weather means time to check your tire inflation. Tire pressure decreases ~1 psi for every 10 degrees F drop in temperature.

  • If you last checked your tires when the ambient temperature was 80 degrees, after you drove to the Sunoco gas station 1 mile away, cold winter temperatures in the 20's can mean you could be 25% to 50% under-inflated.

  • Low inflation causes heat build-up and premature tire wear.  Remember the Firestone / Ford Explorer incidents.  Be safe and save gas with properly inflated tires.

Front, rear, four or all-wheel drive:
  • Become familiar with what wheels are given power in your vehicle.  Front-wheel- drive vehicles generally handle better than rear-wheel-drive vehicles on slippery roads because the weight of the engine is on the drive wheels.  The back end of rear-wheel-drive cars tends to lose traction and slide side-to-side during turns on icy roads because there is little weight on the drive wheels.

  • Many vehicles today are equipped with four, or all-wheel drive, which helps maintain traction in difficult conditions.  However, drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles should avoid becoming overconfident.  Four-wheel-drive does not make the car brake any better.

  • A vehicle's braking system also determines how motorists should operate their cars in winter weather.  Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) provide significant stopping advantages on slick roads but are only effective if properly used.  When stopping a vehicle with ABS in slippery conditions, motorists should apply steady pressure to the brake pedal.  The ABS automatically pumps the brakes to keep the wheels from locking up, preventing skids and loss of control.  Do not take your foot off the brake pedal if you hear or feel it chatter.  That means that the ABS system is working properly and you should continue to steer the car normally.

  • If you don't have ABS, gently pump the brakes during slippery conditions to avoid locking the wheels and losing control.

Recognize Danger Zones:
  • Intersections - Slow down before reaching an intersection.  Scan left and right for cars and pedestrians.  If you are having trouble stopping, they most likely are too.  After a stop, press the accelerator slowly to get moving again.  If you have a manual transmission, try starting in second gear to avoid wheel spin.

  • Hills - When approaching an icy hill, pick a path that will allow you the most traction.  Head for unpacked snow or powder where you'll get a better grip.  Build your speed gradually before you reach the hill and if you have a switch-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, shift before you reach the hill.

  • Curves - Reduce your speed before you enter an icy curve.  Any sudden acceleration or deceleration while turning could send you into a skid.  Controlled speed, smooth steering, and braking will help prevent from skidding on an icy turn.  If your wheels lose grip, gradually release the pressure from whichever pedal you're using and smoothly steer in the direction you want the car to go.

Getting Unstuck:
  • The simplest thing to do when freeing your vehicle from snow and ice is to use finesse rather than power.  Hard acceleration is likely to worsen the situation by causing the tires to dig the car deeper into the snow.

  • First, clear away the snow.  To improve traction, spread sand, cat litter or some kind of abrasive material around the tires containing power.  Then, shift the car into low gear (or second gear in a manual transmission) and slowly apply pressure to the accelerator.

  • If that doesn't work, try rocking the car back and forth by easing forward and then releasing the accelerator.

  • If you are unable to free your vehicle, carefully assess the weather conditions before abandoning it.  In extreme cold or heavy snow, stay with your vehicle and wait until you can be rescued.

These are just a few items you should consider regarding your own safety.  It is a good idea to check your house and your appliances frequently and perform any necessary repairs as soon as possible to prevent danger to yourself and others.
  1. Never smoke in bed or burn candles when you are about to fall asleep.

  2. Always keep a working fire extinguisher in your house and in a place where you can safely reach it.  The minimum size should be 5lbs and every extinguisher should be inspected annually.  Make sure to get an ABC fire extinguisher which is rated for all types of fires such as electrical, grease, chemical, etc.

Have a safe winter and a safe holiday season.

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