Winter safety for trailers can head off disaster

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2006

BATON ROUGE — With the coldest weather of the season upon us, some special precautions are in order for residents of travel trailers and mobile homes.

At night, residents should leave one faucet trickling into a sink so that the outdoor pipes or hoses won’t freeze and burst. Home improvement and building supply stores recommend that pipes and hoses get a warm blanket if they are outdoors or under the house.

Inexpensive commercial wrappings are available, or you can make your own pipe blanket out of a few sheets of newspaper and a plastic cover to keep the paper from getting wet. Use duct tape to wrap it all up. And find out where the water shuts off outside the trailer in case of a problem.

Experts also advise residents of trailers to avoid kerosene heaters. Trailers are equipped with propane heaters which are safe and efficient.

Using the oven or a kerosene heater for heat could lead to serious accident or injury.

Use only the built-in propane heater and to avoid using kerosene heaters or cooking grills indoors.

Common-sense safety tips for heating trailers include the following:

€ Make sure the carbon monoxide detector is working correctly;

€ Make sure the heater vents on the outside of the trailer or house are not blocked or covered;

€ Never use a gas grill, camp stove or charcoal grill indoors for any purpose;

€ Never run a generator indoors or even outdoors near an open window;

€ Never use the gas oven in the kitchen to heat any type of home.

Year-round safety tips include:

€ If it doesn’t seem safe, don’t do it;

€ Know where the propane shutoff valve is located and how to shut it off;

€ Keep flammable materials away from the stove top;

€ Keep all children and pets away from heaters to avoid burns;

€ Make sure the smoke alarm is working and replace batteries twice a year;

€ Know where the fire extinguisher is in the unit and learn how to use it;

€ Shut off all appliances before leaving home;

€ Learn how to use the emergency window opening devices in the trailer;

€ Do not store gasoline or other flammable liquids in or under the trailer;

€ Do not store gasoline-powered vehicles or equipment in the trailer;

€ Never smoke in bed.