Keep your family safe with these cold weather tips

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With bitter cold temperatures forecast this weekend, Peoples Gas is encouraging customers to take some simple steps to keep safe and warm.

Be prepared: Peoples Gas provides safe and reliable energy every day, but outages in extreme weather can happen. Be prepared by assembling an emergency kit with blankets, flashlights and battery-powered chargers for your cellphones. Also, download the app to report a natural gas emergency.

Space heater safety: If you plan to use a space heater, do so safely. Only use newer models with safety features like automatic shut-off. Plug the heater directly into the wall. Don’t use extension cords or power strips. Place the heater on a flat surface away from children and pets, and keep it at least 6 feet away from flammable materials like drapes or blankets.

Safe sleeping: Do not take risks with your electric blanket. When you’re not using your blanket, turn it off to reduce the risk of fire. Keep pets away from electric blankets, as their teeth and claws can puncture wire insulation and cause damage.

Prevent carbon monoxide dangers: The risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is greater during the winter months. Stay safe by installing a CO detector, clearing heating vents of any snow and ice, and learning the symptoms of CO poisoning.

Prevent furnace issues: Have your furnace inspected by a qualified technician once a year, and clean or replace furnace filters as needed. If your furnace stops running, contact a qualified heating contractor.

Keep clutter away from furnace: Keep the area around the furnace and water heater free of clutter. Never store flammable liquids near those areas. Taking these steps can help reduce the risk of fire and damage to the furnace.

Oven safety: Never use a stove or oven to heat your home. Not only is it inefficient, it could lead to CO poisoning.

Let the sun in: Open the curtains when the sun is out and use the sunlight to help warm your home. Close curtains on windows that don’t face the sun. Close all curtains at night to help retain heat and cut down on drafts from windows.

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