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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As families prepare for the extremely cold temperatures expected in Kentuckiana in the next few days, authorities are reminding the public about the dangers of alternate heat sources.
In a news release from the Commonwealth of Kentucky Public Protection Cabinet, State Fire Marshal William Swope recommends taking steps to take to keep you and your family safe during extreme cold weather conditions.
"Right now is the time to consider the dangers of carbon monoxide," said Swope.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane burn incompletely.
In your home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.
"If you use a fireplace, a wood stove or a kerosene heater make sure they are properly vented and that you have a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated," Swope said. "These detectors will provide an early warning to get out of your house and call the fire department."
Swope also warned against warming up vehicles on cold mornings by leaving them in a garage.
"Remove it from the garage immediately after starting it -- even if the garage doors are open," Swope said. "And make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow."
Swope says most home-heating fires involve portable heaters and space heaters, but says all heating systems can be dangerous if not used and maintained correctly.
"Space heaters need space," said Swope. "Keep these heaters at least three feet from furniture, walls, curtains or anything that can catch fire. It's also vitally important to turn these heaters off when you go to sleep. Add extra blankets to your bed, but turn those heaters off. I cannot stress that enough."
And if you use a generator, it should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.