BUCKHANNON – Now that temperatures are dipping down in degrees and folks are decorating for the holidays, the Buckhannon Fire Department wants to remind residents to take safety precautions as the weather becomes chillier.
Lt. Joey Baxa with the Buckhannon Fire Department said the fall of the year brings on different fire hazards.
“First and foremost, when using space heaters, please be sure to use them as they are designed to be used,” Baxa said. “Don’t plug electrical space heaters into extension cords or surge protectors. Space heaters are designed to be plugged directly into the wall.”
Baxa said if the space heater being used is fueled by kerosene or propane, be sure and use it with proper ventilation.
“Only use the correct fuel in the space heater and make sure it is being used in a well-ventilated area,” he said.
During this time of year, some people rely on a generator as a back-up system when the power fails. Baxa said if generators are being used, make sure they are outside of the home.
“If there is a power outage or something like that, be sure the generator is outside,” he said. “Don’t stick it in a garage or anywhere near anywhere that the exhaust from the generator could be drawn into the house. That is a common problem with generators. Also, use good electrical safety – use them as they designed to be used.”
He said people using generators should have them installed by an electrician.
“If you are having it hooked into your home, hire an electrician – let the professionals handle that,” Baxa said.
Another concern this time of year is the possibility of carbon monoxide incidents.
Baxa said burning wood, natural gas and propane runs the risk of releasing carbon monoxide in the home.
“If [a room or area] is not properly vented, you do run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. During this time of year, as people use their fireplaces, we see a dramatic increase in chimney fires,” he said. “To avoid chimney fires, be sure to keep the flues cleaned and have them inspected.”
Baxa reminds residents living in the Buckhannon Fire Department district that homes should have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors – and that they are available for free.
“We have them for free – if people need them and they live inside the Buckhannon City limits, we will also install them for free,” Baxa said. “If people need them, all they have to do is call the Buckhannon Fire Station or stop by.
“Another thing we want to get out to people, because our call of incidents rises during this time of year, is to be sure to have good accurate information,” Baxa added. “When you call 911, please have the most accurate information you can get. That helps us answer call as quickly as possible.”
Finally, Buckhannon Fire Department members want to remind people to have a fire escape plan.
“Have an exit drill for your home. We teach it in the schools whenever we go out. It teaches everyone a route to get out of the house in case of emergency and a location to meet once out of the home. The whole family needs to practice exiting from their bedrooms and from other areas of the home,” Baxa said.
Contact the BFD for more information or with questions at 304-472-2868.