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Texas Department of Insurance
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December 15, 2023

Ways to stay safe during cold weather


Wintry conditions could lead more Texans to rely on space heaters and other ways to stay warm. The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office shares these tips to stay safe.

Caution with space heaters

In the last few years, several fatal fires in Texas were started by space heaters. Here are tips for keeping your family safe.

  • Inspect a heater before you use it. Make sure there are no cracked or broken plugs or loose connections.
  • Always plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Don’t use extension cords or power strips.
  • Keep your space heater at least three feet from anything that can burn.
  • Turn off your space heaters before you leave the room or go to bed. Look for models that shut off automatically when tipped over.

Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Cars, trucks, stoves, grills, fireplaces, and many appliances that burn fuel can generate carbon monoxide. You can’t see or smell it, but if enough builds up, it can be deadly.

If there’s too much carbon monoxide nearby, you may feel short of breath, have a headache, or feel dizziness, nausea, or weakness.

Use these tips to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Test carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.
  • Never leave a car or truck running in a garage.
  • Never use a charcoal grill or portable camping stove inside.
  • Never use a portable generator in your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open. Only use these devices outdoors, and more than 20 feet away from open doors or windows.
  • Never use a stove to heat your home.
  • When using a fireplace, make sure first that the flue is open.
  • If your carbon monoxide or smoke alarm go off, do not ignore it. When the alarm sounds, make sure everyone goes outdoors. Call 9-1-1 and stay outdoors until emergency responders say it’s safe to go back in.