State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey issued safety tips to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning (CO) as people struggle to survive the upcoming storm and face the bitter cold headed our way. \u201cMany have already been struggling to keep warm and safely deal with frozen pipes this week. This upcoming storm may leave many without power. Keep a difficult situation from getting worse, stay safe as you try to cook and have light and heat as the temperatures dip tonight to dangerous levels.\u201d said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. \u201cWe\u2019ll all be struggling to keep warm, but it\u2019s important to also keep safe,\u201d he added.\n\nMake Sure Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms are Working\n\n\u201cOne of the simplest steps for safety you can take is to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are working. They will give you the earliest possible warning that something is wrong so you can escape safely,\u201d said Fire Marshal Ostroskey. Hard-wired alarms will rely on the battery-backup during a power outage. If the power is out for an extended time, you may have to replace the back-up batteries.\n\nHeating #1 Cause of CO in the Home\n\nCarbon monoxide is called the invisible killer because you cannot see it, taste it or smell it. Breathing CO makes people feel nauseas, dizzy, headachy, and tired like having the flu. It poisons the body by removing oxygen in the blood stream, slowly suffocating victims. It makes it hard to think clearly and sleeping people will not wake up without an alarm. Heating appliances are the leading producers of carbon monoxide in the home and the risk increases when they are working harder.\n\nSpace Heater Safety\n\nBe sure to plug space heaters directly into the wall. Most space heater fires are caused when extension cords are used, or when the electrical system is overtaxed. Shut them off when you go to bed or leave the house; don\u2019t leave them running unattended. Remember that space heaters need space, and should be have 3-feet around them clear of anything that can catch fire. Make sure nothing can fall onto them, like blankets. Space heaters are not designed to replace central heating, so running constantly can cause a fire. Unvented kerosene heaters are illegal inside homes in Mass\n\nWoodstove Safety\n\nMany woodstoves will be working hard to keep up with this bitter cold. Don\u2019t overload the stove; keep wood and combustibles 3-feet away. Dispose of ashes in a metal can with a lid outdoors, away from the house. A single ember can stay hot and undetected for days and a little breeze or contact with other trash can bring them roaring back to life.\n\nGenerator Safety\n\nGenerators are a leading source of CO poisoning. It\u2019s important to know how to use them safely:\n\nPlace a generator outdoors facing away from doors, windows and vents. Never use a generator inside a house, basement or crawl space \u2013 not even inside a garage with the door open. When possible, place the generator 5-10 feet away from the house.\n\tPlug appliances directly into the generator or use heavy-duty, outdoor rated extension cords, not to exceed the number of outlets on the generator. Make sure cords are free of cuts and tears and have all three prongs \u2013 especially the grounding pin.\n\tKeep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open canopy or tent.\n\tDry your hands before touching the generator.\n\tLet the generator cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.\nCooking Safely\n\n\u201cIf you\u2019re using a barbecue grill to cook, do so outdoors, not inside the garage,\u201d said Ostroskey, \u201cUsing a propane grill inside risks carbon monoxide poisoning and using any type of grill inside runs the risk of causing a fire.\u201d\n\nCandle Safety Tips\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s safer to use flashlights and battery-operated candles for light rather than traditional open flame ones,\u201d said Ostroskey.\u00a0 He offered these candle safety tips:\n\n\n\tBurn candles within a one-foot circle, free of anything that can burn.\n\t\tBefore you go out, blow it out; never leave candles burning unattended.\n\t\tAlways extinguish candles after use.\n\t\tUse a non-combustible saucer or candle holder.\n\t\tKeep candles out of reach of children and pets.\n\t\nThe Department of Fire Services offers heating, generator, carbon monoxide and candle safety tips on its website. Search on www.mass.gov/dfs.