Freezing temperatures and subzero wind chills are expected for the next few days in the Yakima Valley. With that in mind, the American Red Cross has compiled a good list of tips and reminders for heating your home safely:

Home Heating Safety
The colder it gets, the more house fires increase. Think cautiously when warming your home with portable heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves.

Caution: Carbon Monoxide Kills

Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless and can do permanent damage if exposed to it too long, including death!

Portable Space Heaters

  • Use portable space heaters with an automatic shut-off so if they're tipped over they will shut off.
  • Keep at least three feet of space between the heater and combustibles such as furniture, curtains, bedding and papers.
  • Inspect heaters for cracked or damaged cords, broken plugs or loose connections. Replace them if necessary before using.
  • Turn heaters off when not in use, before going to bed or when leaving the room for any length of time.

Fireplaces and Wood Stoves

  • Have your chimney and wood stove flues and vents inspected and cleaned every year. Check for creosote deposits, soot buildup and physical damage.
  • Always use a fireplace screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass to prevent sparks from escaping.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
  • Store kindling, fire logs and wood at least three feet from any heat source.
  • Use proper fire starters, such as newspaper, kindling or specially manufactured starters designed for indoor use. Never use flammable liquid, such as lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline to start a fire.

Cold Weather Safety

  • Assemble disaster preparedness kits to keep at home, in your vehicle and at work. For a full list of recommended kit items, visit
  • In case of a power failure, make sure you have enough non-perishable food and water stored to last everyone in the household until power has been restored. A three-day supply of food and water for each person is recommended.
  • Use battery-operated flashlights or lanterns instead of candles (because it could be a fire hazard) during a power outage. Do not leave burning candles unattended.
  • Have plenty of blankets and warm clothing available should you be without heat for an extended period of time due to a power outage.
  • Make sure you have batteries in your radio (to receive information updates) and keep a spare battery for your cell phone handy (also keep your phone charged).
  • Protect your pipes: Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Wear waterproof, insulated boots to keep your feet warm and dry and to maintain your footing in ice and snow.
  • Bring pets indoors. If they can't come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to water that is not frozen.

For more cold weather pet safety tips, visit

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