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Heat safety at deer camp

November 16, 2012
The Daily News

Deer hunters focusing on their prey are mindful of firearm safety in the woods.

They also need to be extra careful at camp.

Upper Peninsula Power Co. and Wisconsin Public Service officials remind hunters there are safe ways and potentially dangerous ways to use camp heating systems.

A careful inspection should be done to make sure heating equipment is working efficiently and venting properly.

It's also important to install quality smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and make sure they are working properly.

When there is incomplete burning or combustion of the fuel source in the heating unit in combination with insufficient venting, a buildup of potentially lethal amounts of carbon monoxide can occur.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas and can be produced by any heat source that burns fuels such as wood, propane, kerosene or gasoline.

Carbon monoxide is the most common cause of fatal poisoning in Wisconsin. In most carbon monoxide deaths, the victims died in their sleep.

Initial signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include flu-like symptoms of headache, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and confusion.

Fresh air is immediately required so if carbon monoxide is suspected, people should go outdoors and open windows and doors to get fresh air inside and contact 911 emergency responders.

Venting on all heat sources like fireplaces, woodstoves, gas stoves and furnaces are designed to carry carbon monoxide and other combustion products to the outdoors.

Chimneys and vents can get plugged by animal or bird nests, leaves or snow and ice.

Small propane heaters and stoves, kerosene, wood burning and charcoal grills also produce carbon monoxide buildup when not vented.

A gas or charcoal grill must never be used inside for heating purposes. A gas oven should also not be used for heating.

Electric Safety

Wind storms earlier this fall may have damaged overhead electrical services in secluded wooded areas.

If anyone comes across a potentially dangerous situation involving broken tree limbs near power lines, report the location and situation.

Hunters should not shoot near power lines, power poles and substations.

A stray bullet can cause damage to equipment and potentially interrupt electric service to large areas.

Electric space heaters can help hunters stay warm if used appropriately and safely. Electric portable heaters are available in many shapes and sizes and are available in many retail stores.

Manufacturer's recommendations for safe operations must be followed and are included with each unit sold.

There is a potential fire risk associated with space heaters.

Space heaters using a filament can get extremely red-hot.

The National Fire Protection Association reports an estimated 21,650 home fires and 1,512 fire-related injuries are caused by careless or wrongful use of space heaters each year, usually associated with overloaded, undersized or frayed power cords or drapes and furniture that come in contact with the heating element.

Keep the heater away from any flammables, like paint thinner or gasoline cans.

Experts recommend a safe distance of three feet be maintained when using space heaters.

Electric space heaters should have a protective guard over their heating coils and include a tip-over shut-off feature and include an overheat protection feature, which shuts the unit down if it reaches dangerously hot temperatures.

The unit should also have the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) Seal of Approval which means it complies with industry-wide safety standards.

Safety experts also advise hunters to install UL-safety approved smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in proper locations where people sleep.

There should be a properly working smoke detector on each floor and at least one CO detector in the sleeping areas.

Hunters should also check and/or replace the batteries in these devices and to test the devices on a regular basis.

Have a safe hunting season.



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