Winter safety tips from FortisBC

Simple steps to keep your home warm and safe this winter 
SURREY, BC, Oct. 29, 2012 /CNW/ - With the arrival of colder temperatures, 
FortisBC would like to remind customers to take steps to get their homes ready 
for a comfortable and safe heating season. "Although there was a great run of 
sunshine into fall, we can expect temperatures to drop so we want customers to 
take steps now to ensure their home is ready for winter," said Tom Loski, vice 
president customer service at FortisBC. "That includes making sure your 
natural gas and electricity heating systems are functioning safely and 
Energy Savings 

    --  Seal drafty doors. Keep heat indoors. If your entrance door is
        drafty, get a caulking gun and caulk between the doorframe and
        the wall. To stop drafts under the door, install a door sweep
        on the bottom edge.
    --  Heating only rooms you are using. Avoid heating unused rooms by
        closing doors and warm air supply registers and by lowering the
        room thermostat for baseboards.  Avoid heating non-insulated
        spaces including garages, crawlspaces, attics or storage sheds.
    --  Install a programmable thermostat. These are easy to install
        and when kept at 20 degrees Celsius when you're at home and 17
        degrees Celsius when you're asleep, you can save 15 per cent on
        your home heating bill.
    --  Wrap your pipes. Insulate hot water pipes and reduce heat loss,
        especially those that run through unheated areas like basements
        and crawl spaces.
    --  Look for rebates. If replacing appliances or doing home
        renovations consider
        that are available through FortisBC, and provincial
        such as LiveSmart BC.
    --  Consider a home energy
        Get tips to help you decide where to make the most energy
        efficient changes in your home.
    Appliance Maintenance
    --  Service natural gas appliances and furnaces. For homes that
        have natural gas furnaces, fireplaces and appliances, it is
        important to have a licensed gas contractor registered with the
        BC Safety Authority inspect and service all natural gas
        appliances on an annual basis to keep them operating in a safe
        and efficient manner. Make sure the contractor locates and
        inspects the gas piping from the meter to the appliance to
        confirm that it is functioning safely and free of any corrosion
        or damage. Information about choosing a natural gas contractor
        is available at
    --  Service heat pumps. For homes heated and cooled using an air
        source or ground source heat pump, an annual inspection and
        service will help keep the system running efficiently and
        improve air quality in the home. Customers may qualify for a
        $50 rebate from the FortisBC PowerSense program for heat pump
        servicing that is completed before October 31, 2012. Visit for more information.
    --  Carbon Monoxide reminder. Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when
        fuels are burned incompletely. Idling gasoline-powered vehicles
        and the burning of oil, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane
        or natural gas can all produce carbon monoxide. Regular
        maintenance checks by a licensed gas contractor are the best
        prevention against accidental exposure to carbon monoxide.
        Consider installing a CO alarm. Ensure that it is one which
        meets safety standards approved by the Canadian Standards
    --  Smell gas? If you smell the distinct, rotten egg, or
        sulphur-like odour of natural gas, leave the area immediately
        and call the FortisBC 24-hour emergency line at 1-800-663-9911
        or 911.
    --  Keep your meter clear of ice and snow. For natural gas meters,
        remove any built-up snow by hand until the regulator and shut
        off valve are clear to help avoid pipe breakages, leaks and
        interruptions of gas service. And, if ice builds up on your gas
        meter, call FortisBC at 1-888-224-2710. For our electricity
        customers, remember to keep the pathway to your electricity
        meter free of snow and ice to help keep our meter readers safe
        this winter. For more information, contact us
        at 1-866-436-7847.
    --  Drive safe. Remember to slow down for the road conditions. When
        accidents happen that impact power poles, it can cause a
        service outage for the surrounding area. If an accident happens
        where poles or wires are knocked down on a vehicle, it is
        important to remain in the vehicle until help arrives. If the
        vehicle must be exited, jump clear of the vehicle landing with
        both feet on the ground together and shuffle with both feet on
        the ground to a safe distance of 10 meters. Also, watch for
        FortisBC crews working on roadsides all year long in all
        weather conditions.
    --  Be prepared for outages.  Being prepared in advance can help
        minimize the inconvenience and help keep our customers and
        employees safe. Keep flashlights, blankets, a battery powered
        radio, water and emergency supplies in an easy to find location
        at home.
    --  Keep kids safe around a gas fireplace. Consider installing an
        adjustable safety gate or screen and a fire-resistant hearth
        guard to better protect young children around a gas fireplace.
        A safety screen would ensure children do not touch the glass
        panels of a natural gas fireplace. Visit your local hearth
        products retailer to find a safety screen that's right for your
    --  Add another person to your account. If you're worried about an
        elderly parent, relative, or dependant's ability to pay their
        bill, FortisBC can add you to your loved one's account. That
        way you can be authorized to discuss their account with
        FortisBC. Simply have the account holder call FortisBC at
        1-888-224-2710 for natural gas customers and 1-866-436-7847 for
        electricity customers.

FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, 
including natural gas, electricity, propane and thermal energy solutions. 
FortisBC employs more than 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 
1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is 
indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned 
distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated 
hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of 
transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 47,000 kilometres 
of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., 
FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC 
Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed 
on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional 
information can be accessed at or 
MEDIA CONTACT: Tracy Tang Corporate Communications Advisor FortisBC Phone: 
604-592-7632 Email: 
To view this news release in HTML formatting, please use the following URL: 
CO: FortisBC
ST: British Columbia
-0- Oct/29/2012 19:38 GMT
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