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February 05, 2020

Weather is wild in West Texas. One day it’s warm and sunny, the next it’s freezing and icy. When you’re hunkering down from the cold, be sure to practice good safety habits. Below are five safety tips to stay safe all winter long:

1. Plug space heaters directly into the wall, not a power strip*

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters. Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, and consider buying one with a tip-over safety switch for added protection.


2. Don’t use a worn or old heating pad or electric blanket*

Heating pads and electric blankets can pose a fire risk – or even a burn risk – when not used carefully. Replace heating pads or blankets with dark, charred or frayed spots or cracked or frayed electric cords, and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for time use limits.


3. Never use your oven or stove to heat your home or dry clothes*

Ovens and stoves should only be used for cooking. Leaving a stove on for long periods of time or placing flammable materials close to a stove is a fire hazard. Improper use of a gas stove can also lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.


4. Stay far away from downed power lines

Extreme weather conditions can lead to downed power lines. If you see downed power lines, always consider them energized and dangerous, and stay as far away as possible.


5. Keep an outage kit handy

In the event of a power outage, the last thing you want to do is stumble around in the dark looking for a flashlight. Create your own outage kit from basic items found at your local hardware and grocery store. Then, keep it somewhere easy to find (even in the dark!).



U.S. Department of Energy

Electrical Safety Foundation, Inc.