Safety officials urge responsible use of supplemental heating options

  • Published
  • By Mark Herlihy
  • 66th Air Base Group

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Winter has returned and the 66th Air Base Group Occupational Safety Office is reminding personnel to be cautious before choosing the way to heat their homes.   

The cold weather can often call for supplemental heating sources, such as portable heating appliances. However, some methods may be hazardous for indoor use.

“Any kind of heater that uses an ignition source, such as propane or kerosene, should never be used indoors,” said Tech. Sgt. Colten Winkle, 66 ABG Occupational Safety and Health technician. “These can emit carbon dioxide and be dangerous if not used correctly.”

Winkle said that while space heaters are a popular choice for homes and office spaces, he stressed the potential fire and safety hazards associated with their use.

“Space heaters should always be plugged directly into a wall outlet as opposed to a power strip, have an auto shut off feature if the unit gets tipped over, and should never be left unattended when in use,” said Winkle.

As personnel wind down from the holidays, safety officials also emphasized the importance of proper handling and disposal of real Christmas trees.

“Whether you’re taking your tree out to the curb, or leaving it up longer, ensure if it’s staying up you keep it well watered, and in both situations, it’s also very important to keep it clear from any source of ignition or flame,” said Winkle.

While the halls and doorways may stay decked through the New Year, officials urge personnel to keep pathways at home clear.

“Keeping these areas free of obstructions can make it easier for you to get out in case of an emergency,” said Tech. Sgt. Scott Sanderson, 66 ABG Occupational Safety technician.

Hanscom personnel can find more season-specific safety information on the safety team’s SharePoint site at or by contacting the safety office at 781-225-5584.