Stay Healthy This Winter
Burn Wood Smart and Healthy (Word*)
- Take steps to weatherize your home, such as closing up areas that will let heat escape.
- Have your heating system inspected and cleaned once per year.
- Replace old woodstoves (older than late 1980s) with newer ones that use less wood and burn up to 90% cleaner.
- If using cord wood, burn hardwoods that are clean, dry, and seasoned.
- Never burn garbage, plastics, paints, treated woods.
- Burn small, hot fires.
- Split wood into 4-6 inch pieces.
- Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Don't leave vehicles or any other gas-powered motors running inside a garage or other enclosed space.
- Don't use a gas-powered generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window or door. Generators should be more than 15 feet from your home when running.
- Don't try to heat your home with a gas oven.
- Make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector that runs on your home’s electricity and has a battery back-up in your home near where people sleep. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. You can buy a detector at most hardware stores or stores that sell smoke detectors. By law, all rental units must have a carbon monoxide detector—talk to your landlord if you don’t have one in your apartment or rental house. Carbon monoxide detectors are also required in all newly built homes, as well as in other homes after either a major remodeling project or change of ownership.
- If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, get out of the house right away and call 911.
- Get outside in fresh air and get prompt medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous.
For more information:
- Carbon Monoxide Fact Sheet and information from US CDC and US EPA
- Carbon Monoxide FAQ from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Generator Safety from the Maine Emergency Management Agency
- Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning during power outages
Stay Warm - Prevent Hypothermia (Word*)
- Dress in layers.
- Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.
- Keep infants in a warm room, 61-68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Drink plenty of fluids and warm/hot drinks.
- Eat regular balanced meals.
- Keep active, but not to the point of sweating.
- Keep dry.
- Cut down on alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine – all three cause heat loss.
- Try to keep one room in the house warm.
- Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia – impaired consciousness, sleepiness, confusion, and/or disorientation, shivering (may not see shivering in the elderly or people on certain medications), pale or blue skin, numbness, poor coordination, slurred speech.
For more information:
- Hypothermia - A cold weather risk for older people from the National Institutes of Health
- Winter safety tips - for children from the Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center
Additional Information and Resources
- Maine Prepares winter safety and preparedness information from MEMA
- Winter weather health from US CDC
- Cold stress information for outdoor workers from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and OSHA
- Monitor Maine-specific information from the National Weather Service
- Road conditions
- 211 Maine