With frigid winter temperatures here to stay for a while, I would like to remind Bay Village residents that that there are several factors that increase the risk for home fires during the bad weather. However, many of these fires are preventable and residents can reduce their risks of becoming a fire casualty by identifying potential hazards and following some simple safety tips:
- Use kerosene heaters and space heaters only according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Space heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away.
- Make sure space heaters have ‘tip switches.’ These ‘tip switches’ are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
- Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
- Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot.
- Refuel heaters only outdoors.
- Make sure wood stoves are professionally and properly installed, and at least three feet away from combustible materials. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.
- Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
- Use the appropriate size and types of power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
- Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up, or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
- Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or ‘backfeed’ can electrocute an unsuspecting safety or utility worker.
- If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.
- Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
- Look for and replace frayed or cracked extension and appliance cords, loose prongs, and plugs.
- Exposed outlets and wiring could present a fire and life safety hazard.
- Appliances that emit smoke or sparks should be repaired or replaced.
- Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage.
- Be careful if using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children.
- If the power goes out, make certain that all electrical appliances, such as stoves, electric space heaters and hair dryers, are in the OFF position.
- Make certain that your home’s smoke alarms are in proper working order.
- Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home’s electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least twice a year. Test all smoke alarms monthly.
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas.
- If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow, ice and debris for easy access by the fire department.
Stay safe and warm!
Fire Chief Christopher Lyons