Deep snow and fire safety

From the Shelton Fire Department:

Recent excessive snowfall has prompted the Shelton Fire Prevention Bureau to alert the public of common fire hazards that must be immediately recognized. Ted Pisciotta, Assistant Chief – Fire Prevention, encourages everyone to be highly vigilant to avoid having a fire within a home or business. Consider the following fire safety precautions to help fellow citizens, homes, and businesses of our community from the potential threat of fire.

Do not use candles for any reason. Do not permit open flames within home or business.

Avoid use of portable space heaters, but if necessary be sure the heater has a thermostat and built-in protection from overturning. Always provide a minimum 3-ft. clearance between space heaters and anything that can burn. This includes rugs, curtains, and furniture. Do to multiple hazards use of kerosene heaters should be avoided.

Do not smoke indoors. Ensure cigarette butts are extinguished.

Carefully consider the benefit vs. consequence of using a fireplace. Only use a fireplace if you are confident of the condition of your chimney through annual inspection and cleaning by a professional. Burn only properly seasoned wood. Know the proper use of your fireplace. Store removed ashes in a tightly covered metal container outdoors, a safe distance from the home. Never place ashes in boxes, bags, or plastic containers and never on a wood deck or near the house.

Pay close attention to all cooking, including using toasters, toaster ovens and other cooking appliances. Do not leave the kitchen.

Ensure that the outdoor vent of any clothes dryer is clear and not blocked by snow accumulation or drifting. Clean lint from the dryer screen (trap) before or after each use. Clean lint from the duct (vent hose) that carries air from the dryer to outdoors. Keep the area around and over the dryer free and clear.

Turn off and unplug electrical appliances, devices, and products not in use.

Verify that all smoke alarms work. If the alarm sounds or indication of fire within the home is notices, ensure that all occupants evacuate immediately.

Remove snow (or have someone remove snow) from entry and exit doors of your home or business. This includes those that may be needed for emergency evacuation or escape in the event of fire.

If a fire hydrant is near your home or business, try to keep it clear of snow and debris for easy access by the fire department.

Throughout the year always have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.

Jim Shay