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Fire Prevention and Safety Guidelines for the Season

As families are turning their attention to outdoor projects and spring cleaning, this is the ideal time to tour the home and yard for dangerous materials, for unsafe conditions and to correct problem areas. The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office suggests these important fire safety guidelines to help ensure a safe and pleasant season.

replace THE batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, if it was not done at the beginning of daylight savings time. This is a simple step that takes only a few minutes, but can save lives. The alarm will alert occupants and allow time for escape. Test alarms every month by using the test button or an approved smoke substitute. Do not use an open flame device. Even though the alarm may work when tested, install a new smoke alarm after 10 years. Older models may be less reliable. If an alarm “chirps” to indicate a low battery, replace the batteries as soon as possible.

As the warm weather approaches, lawn and garden care begins. Please remember: OPEN BURNING IS NOT PERMITTED IN THE TOWN OF ORANGE. IT IS UNLAWFUL FOR ANY RESIDENT OR BUSINESS TO BURN CONSTRUCTON DEBRIS, TRASH, GRASS, LEAVES OR SIMILAR ITEMS. There are numerous fire and safety concerns such as smoke, flying embers and the possibility of the fire spreading out of control. In addition, open burning is a violation of the Connecticut Clean Air Act. Our office understands that this may be an inconvenience and appreciates your cooperation. Supervised open burning of brush is allowed when a permit is issued by the Fire Marshal’s Office to a town resident for the purpose of cooking outdoors, holding a controlled camp fire, or controlled fires for religious reasons. The fee is $25 for a one-time permit or $150 for an annual fire permit. A site inspection will be conducted by the Fire Marshal or his designee prior to the issuance of an annual fire permit. Failure to obtain a burn permit or burning illegal items may subject the property owner to fines and/or arrest. Brush must be less than three inches in diameter and any wood that is burned shall not be pressure-treated. Such items must be taken to the transfer station. Burn permits are void if weather conditions are such that it creates hazards to the permittee, their property, or the property around them, whether it is public or private. Any time wind speeds exceed 10 miles per hour (gusts or sustained), or the fire danger rating is equal to or greater than “HIGH”, there shall be no open burning. The use of grills for cooking purposes or other outdoor appliances being used in accordance with their listing and manufacturer’s specifications shall not require a burn permit.

use gas and charcoal grills outdoors Only. They pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation, if used indoors or in any enclosed space. Position the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Declare a three-foot “kid-free zone” around the grill and keep children and pets away. Periodically, remove grease or fat buildup in trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited. Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. If you determine your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and the grill. If the leak stops, have the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call 911. Do not attempt to move the grill. Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages.

It is important to remember the following tips while working in the yard. Prior to starting lawn care, walk around the area and remove debris that could damage equipment or cause injury. Keep a fire safe zone around the house. Clean leaves and needles from gutters and cellar windows. Prune away limbs and trees along the driveway that could prevent easy access for fire trucks or ambulances. Know how to operate outdoor equipment properly. Extension cords must be in good condition and rated for outdoor use. Always unplug electrical tools and disconnect spark plugs on gasoline-powered tools before making any adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts. Never work with electrical tools in wet or damp conditions. To prevent electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). If you must leave your tools unattended, always make sure they are turned off and inoperable. This helps to avoid unauthorized use, accidents and injuries. Never fill the gas tanks while equipment is operating or when it is still hot. Do not fill the tank inside of a garage, shed or similar area. Remember to quickly wipe up any spills. Always store gasoline in approved containers and a safe distance from your home. Never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline.

Spring cleaning consists mainly of storing away winter clothing and items and cleaning and sprucing up the home’s interior. However, it is also the ideal time to check for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions inside the house. Take a few minutes to look for clutter in each room, including the attic and the basement. Clutter, such as stacks of old newspapers or magazines, empty boxes, broken or obsolete appliances and furniture, is “Food for Fire”. If a fire should occur in your home, the clutter would provide material to be consumed and help to spread the fire. It could also block or hinder your escape, as well as the incoming path of firefighters. Remove all hazards. Never use gasoline as a cleaning solvent and never use or store gasoline inside your home, even in tiny quantities. The vapors can readily ignite. Gasoline can present a serious fire hazard and is dangerous to use for any purpose other than as a motor fuel. Replace or fix frayed or damaged appliances cords, wiring, fuses or breakers. Check for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances. Store flammable liquids and chemicals in a cool, dry place away from a child’s play area. Be sure there is clearance between combustibles and heating appliances and other heat and ignition sources. Keep work areas clear of clutter.

It is important to have and practice a home escape plan. Know two ways out of every room. Make sure doors and windows can be opened easily and designate a place for family members to meet outside. Call 911 after exiting the home.

If you have any questions or need further information about any fire prevention and/or safety matter, please contact the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office at (203) 891-4711, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or visit the website at: www.orangefiremarshal.com.

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