Spring has arrived and also the beginning of daylight savings time. If you did not change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when you changed your clocks, please take the time to do so. Alarms can save lives, only if they work.
As the warm weather approaches, families are turning their attention to indoor cleanup and outdoor projects. This is the ideal time to tour the home and yard for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions and to correct problem areas. The Orange Fire Marshal’s Office suggests these important fire safety guidelines to help ensure a pleasant season:
First and foremost: Open burning, which is the burning of brush, vegetation and other debris where emissions are released directly into the air without passing through a chimney or stack, is not permitted in Orange. There are numerous fire and safety concerns such as air pollution, smoke, flying embers, odors, visibility and the possibility of the fire spreading out of control. In addition, it is a violation of the Connecticut Clean Air Act. Only clean, seasoned hardwood shall be permitted in an Open Burn fire, which requires a permit from the Fire Marshal’s Office. The application, rules and regulations can on found on the website, www.orangefiremarshal.gov. Our office understands that this may be an inconvenience and appreciates your cooperation.
Prior to starting lawn care, walk around the area and remove sticks, stones and debris that could injure someone or damage equipment. Be sure lawn equipment is in proper working condition. Never fill the gas tanks while the equipment is operating, when it is still hot or when it is inside a garage, shed or similar area. Remember to quickly wipe up any spills. Always store gasoline in approved containers and do not use or store gasoline inside your home. Because vapors can readily ignite, gasoline can present a serious fire home hazard and is too dangerous to use for any purpose other than as a motor fuel. Never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline. Extension cords used to operate the equipment 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, make sure they are turned off and inoperable to prevent unauthorized use, accidents and injuries.
Use gas and charcoal grills outside 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 from this area. Periodically, remove grease or fat buildup in the 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. Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages.
Indoor spring cleaning consists mainly of storing away winter clothing and cleaning and sprucing up the home’s interior. It is also the ideal time to look for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions. Check 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, it would provide material to be consumed and help to spread the fire. It could also block or hinder an escape, as well as the incoming path of firefighters. Remove all hazards. Replace or fix frayed or damaged appliance cords, wiring, breakers or fuses. Check for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances. Store flammable liquids and chemicals in a cool, dry place. Items should be well marked and out of the reach of children. Be sure there is clearance between combustibles and appliances and other heat and ignition sources.
It is important to have and practice a Home Escape Plan. Know two ways out of every room and make sure doors and windows can be opened easily. Designate a place for family members to meet outside. Call 911 after exiting the home.
Carbon monoxide alarms are available free of charge to Orange residents. They may be obtained at the Orange Fire Marshal’s Office, 355 Boston Post Road. If you would like alarms installed, assistance with changing the batteries in an existing alarm, have questions or need further information about any fire prevention and/or safety matter, please call 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.