Chief encourages safety this winter
Wallets won't provide much insulation in people's back pockets this winter, considering the expected hike in natural gas prices.
But Tonganoxie Fire Chief Dave Bennett warns residents to be careful when looking for cheaper ways to stay warm.
"Our main concern is that they try to do it in a safe way because of the expected increases in natural gas prices," Bennett said.
Some people turn to burning wood as a way to save money during the winter.
Bennett urges local residents to make sure everything is in working order when it comes to fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, especially for residents who "haven't burned wood for a couple years," Bennett said.
The fire chief said residents should have a heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration certified person inspect stoves and flues.
"Make sure it's in good working condition," Bennett said.
Some residents might turn to space heaters instead of wood-burning. Space heaters must be used properly, Bennett said.
"The best thing I can tell them is to follow the manufacturer's recommendations and instructions," he said. "Be extremely aware of where they place them. If they're allowed, where they place them in the home, things like that."
Bennett reiterated that residents should make sure space heaters are rated for indoor use. And if they're
electric, he said residents should make sure the heaters are not overloading an electrical outlet. While some residents have natural gas heaters or wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, others might have furnaces kicking back into operation for the winter months. With that in mind, residents should make sure their carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. The same goes for smoke detectors, Bennett said.
If residents need new smoke detectors, they are available at the fire department, 825 E. Fourth St.
The detectors are free and were made available through a Kansas Department of Health and Environment grant.
The bottom line is simple for Bennett -- residents should be cautious when heating their homes in the coming months.
"The message we want to get out is be safe first," he said. "We don't want anyone injured or hurt due to unsafe heating practices. That was the main concern, that people will try to heat their homes with unconventional means because the gas prices are going to be high."