As the temperatures across Ohio continue to dip to extreme lows, please make sure your homes are fire safe and that you are prepared for emergencies:
● If you need to use them, please make sure space heaters are working properly and that anything flammable is kept at least three feet away – remember “space heaters need space!” Another tip to keep in mind when using a space heater is to make sure the device has a ‘tip switch’. These ‘tip switches’ are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over. It is also important to read and understand the manufacturer’s instructions and turn off any alternative heating source before going to bed. Under no circumstances should you use the kitchen oven/range to heat your home – in addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
● Power outages are also common during cold and snowy conditions. If the power goes out, make sure that all electrical appliances, such as stoves, electric space heaters, and hair dryers are in the OFF position. Generators are commonly used during an outage. Remember to only use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors. Never connect a generator to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity, or ‘backfeed,’ can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker. Also, never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
● Check your smoke alarms to make sure they are in proper working order. They should be installed on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas.
● Make a Family Communications Plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency. Check on your neighborsand family members. Ensure they have adequate heating and enough food and water to sustain the cold weather.
● Bring in your pets from the cold. Do not allow your animals to stay outside overnight during extremely cold temperatures. Animals need protection from severe cold, as well.
● Purchase and maintain a working NOAA Weather Radio. These radios broadcast weather alerts and warnings directly from the National Weather Service for all hazards.
● Sign up for ReadyNotify Bay Village for important emergency notifications here: http://ready.cuyahogacounty.us/en-US/ReadyNotify.aspx
● Minimize travel. If travel is necessary, keep a disaster supplies kit in your vehicle (Items to include: flashlight, extra batteries, tools, high-energy snacks, bottled water, car charger for cell phone, extra jackets, gloves, hats, blankets, tools, and battery jumper cables.)
Please, stay safe and stay warm this winter!
Fire Chief Christopher Lyons