Worries on the road are obvious, but there are bigger concerns at home.By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As a massive winter storm is nearing arrival in the Pittsburgh area, concerns rise for everyone’s safety.

Worries on the road are obvious, but there are bigger concerns at home.

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Staying prepared during winter storms can help keep you safe, but Mollie Mahany, the CDC’s Natural Hazards team leader says the number one concern during storms like the ones approaching Western Pennsylvania is carbon monoxide poisoning.

“People lose electricity and they use a gas powered generator. And you know, generators and other gas powered appliances actually do produce carbon monoxide and so we get concerned about people not using them safely,” Mahany said.

Mahany says to make sure any generator is at least 20 feet from your home and away from windows or doors. You should also avoid using the gas stove or gas oven as a heat source.

“These gas powered appliances are very dangerous and they do produce carbon monoxide. So, we really want to discourage people from using anything other than an appliance that’s meant to heat a space,” Mahany said.

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With that in mind, the CDC says to check your fire alarms, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors.

The placement of electric space heaters is very important, as well.

“You want to keep them away from any flammable items such as blankets, drapes, curtains, carpets, and clothing,” Mahany said.

Extension cords should not be used for space heaters.

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The CDC also says you should never put a space heater elevated on a counter or on top of furniture. It could fall and start a fire.