Always keep one person watching the heat source. Designate a person to stay awake and keep an eye on the heat source. If that person begins to feel dizzy or light-headed, it could be the first sign of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep a battery powered smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in the room with you. Should the designated person fall asleep, these devices are your first line of defense against a potentially deadly situation. Consider keeping firefighting tools, such as a fire extinguisher, nearby as well. Should your heater catch fire, it is important to keep items on hand to extinguish the flames before they spread.
If you are using a fireplace to keep warm, make sure there are no flammable items on the mantle. Clear away any dried flowers, wreaths or other items that could easily catch fire. Make sure you do not burn treated or painted wood, as the wood could emit dangerous fumes while burning.
Of course, prevention is the best way to make sure your heating system does not fail. There is one important step you can take now to give you a better chance of having a healthy heating system throughout the winter months – all systems should be inspected and cleaned by a trusted professional before the beginning of each winter. A quick inspection and cleaning will give you piece of mind that your family will remain warm on even the coldest day.