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From the Fire Marshal’s Office: Spring Fire Safety Tips

As the warm weather approaches, families are turning their attention to outdoor projects.  This is the ideal time to tour the 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.

Please remember:  OPEN BURNING IS NOT PERMITTED IN THE TOWN OF ORANGE as 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.  This ordinance does not apply to charcoal, wood, propane or natural gas in appliances or barbeques used for food preparation.  Also, recreational fire appliances such as commercially or privately manufactured firepits, where the intent is to contain or control a recreation type fire, are exempt.  Our office understands that this may be an inconvenience and appreciates your cooperation.

Prior to starting outside chores, walk around the area and remove sticks, glass, stones and debris that could damage your lawn equipment or cause injury.  Clean leaves and needles from gutters and cellar windows.  Keep a fire safe zone around the house.  Prune 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 leave your tools unattended, always make sure they are turned off and inoperable.  This helps to avoid unauthorized use, accidents and injuries.  NEVER FILL GAS TANKS WHILE EQUIPMENT IS OPERATING OR IT IS STILL HOT or inside of a garage, shed or other enclosed area.  Quickly wipe up any spills and store gasoline in approved containers away from your home – never inside.  Do not smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline or use it as a cleaning solvent.  Because its 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.

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 from this area.  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 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.

Indoors, 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.

replace smoke AND CARBON MONOXIDE alarm batteries, if it was not done at the beginning of daylight savings time.  This is a simple step that takes only a few minutes and can save lives.  The alarm will alert occupants and allow time for an 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 alarms may work when tested, install a new smoke alarm after 10 years and a CO detector in accordance with the manufacturer’s suggestion, to protect against failure, as older models may be less reliable.  If an alarm “chirps” to indicate a low battery, immediately replace the batteriesSome smoke alarms have ten-year batteries that do not need replacing; however, a new alarm should be purchased at the end of the ten years.

For assistance with changing the batteries in an existing alarm, or if you have any 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.

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