During Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 9-15, the provincial fire marshal is encouraging Nova Scotians to make safe choices for home heating this winter. “While oil and electric heat continue to be common, Nova Scotians are also using other options such as wood and pellet stoves, and kerosene and electric heaters,” said fire marshal Bob Cormier. “Every measure Nova Scotians take to make their heating systems safe will help prevent the loss of life and property this winter.” Wood stoves are a popular option, either as a main source of heat or to supplement oil or electric systems. The chimney should be cleaned by a professional with Wood Energy Technical Training certification. If the stove hasn’t been used in some time, have it checked by a professional before lighting it. “Dry, seasoned wood is the best fuel in a stove,” said Mr. Cormier. “Green wood has too much moisture to burn effectively and can cause a build up of creosote which leads to chimney fires.” Electric space heaters and kerosene heaters are often used to heat a single room. Only use a space heater that carries the seal of the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Kerosene heaters should be approved by the Underwriters’ Laboratories of Canada (ULC). Mr. Cormier advises following the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use of these heaters. Safety measures include never leaving a heater on overnight or unattended, and making sure it is well away from any other surface so nothing in the room overheats or catches fire. Carbon monoxide alarms are recommended when homeowners use kerosene heaters or solid fuel stoves. Both heating sources could leak the gas in the home. “Carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer because it’s odourless, tasteless, invisible, and deadly,” said Mr. Cormier. “All homes should also have working smoke alarms with fresh batteries to alert residents as soon as a fire starts.” The threat of winter storms and power outages can also send Nova Scotians looking for alternate heating sources and cooking methods. Gas cooking appliances such as camp stoves and barbeques should only be used outdoors. They should be used only for cooking or heating water, not as an indoor heat source. Keep fresh batteries in flashlights to use for light instead of candles. If candles must be used, never leave them unattended. They should be placed on stable furniture where they’re out of reach of children and less likely to be knocked over. Some Nova Scotians may decide to be prepared for power outages by purchasing electric generators. An extension cord in good condition can be run from a generator to a few appliances. Only an electrician should connect a generator to a home’s electrical panel or furnace.