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FASNY offers safety tips as temperature drops

Submitted Editorial

Thu, Dec 1st 2016 04:55 pm

Remain safe as heating season begins

Editorial by the Firemen's Association of the State of New York

Temperatures are dropping across New York, and the Firemen's Association of the State of New York urges New Yorkers to remain safe as they begin to heat their homes for the winter.

It is imperative families, homeowners and renters are aware of how they heat their homes. A space heater or a fireplace could put homes more at risk, and must be used safely. In addition, New Yorkers are urged to make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly and are equipped with working batteries.

"Firefighters typically respond to more fires as the weather gets colder, many of which are caused by improper or dangerous methods of heating and keeping warm," FASNY President Ken Pienkowski said. "Please be certain that your home heating systems are safe and in compliance with all building and safety codes, and do not hesitate to call for help if you suspect a problem, or simply need a warm place."

Statistics from the NFPA shows there is a historically elevated risk of dying from fire during the winter season, with December, January and February generally being the deadliest months for fires.

FASNY offers the following safety tips when using the following heating methods:

Portable space heaters:

  • Never leave a portable space heater in a room unattended, and always follow manufacturer's instructions for proper use and maintenance.
  • Use space heaters for a limited time each day.
  • Never connect a space heater to an outlet with an extension cord.
  • Unplug the unit when not in use. Let it cool down prior to storing the unit.
  • Keep a window ajar or the door open in a room where an unvented heater is in use.
  • Never use heaters to dry clothing or other combustibles.

 

Fireplaces:

  • Make sure the flue is open before using a fireplace for the first time this season.
  • Remove any and all obstructions and debris from your chimney. Obstructions will cause carbon monoxide to back up into your home.
  • Never leave a fireplace unattended.
  • Chimneys and vents should be inspected and cleaned annually.
  • Take care when stoking a fire. Do not burn newspapers or trash in a fireplace. Doing so may ignite a chimney fire or send flaming embers into your home, causing fire.

 

Gas or Electric Furnaces:

  • If smoke emanating from the furnace turns black and the furnace starts to rumble, leave the building immediately, and call your local fire department.
  • All heating units should be tuned up by a professional certified technician. Regular inspections and cleanings of your heating system help to ensure maximum efficiency during the winter months.

 

Coal and Wood Burning Stoves:

  • Use coal only if specifically approved by the stove manufacturer. Gasoline or other flammable liquids should never be used to start a wood fire.

 

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

  • Test your home smoke alarms at least once per month. Do this by pressing the "test" button on the unit.
  • If you do not have one already installed, install a carbon monoxide detector to detect production of potentially lethal carbon monoxide by gas fireplaces, gas stoves, barbecues and gas furnaces.
  • If you have battery-operated alarms, be certain to regularly check and replace the batteries. Use Daylight Saving Time as a biannual reminder to change your smoke detector and CO detector batteries twice a year.
  • Consider the purchase and installation of smoke alarms with sealed in, nonremoveable batteries that last for at least 10 years. These alarms are much less susceptible to human error.

 

For additional information on home heating safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association's website at www.nfpa.org.

About FASNY

Founded in 1872, the Firemen's Association of the State of New York represents the interests of the approximately 110,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York.

For more information, visit www.fasny.com.

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