State fire marshal provides safety tips for upcoming winter storm

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    EASTON — The  upcoming winter storm may cause a disruption in electrical service to area homes, according to State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.

    In a Wednesday, Jan. 20, press release Geraci cautioned residents when using alternative light and electrical sources during power outages and provided several tips to ensure safety during a potential power failure.

    “Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. These early notification devices are some of the most effective fire and life safety tools for preventing injury or death from fire and carbon monoxide poisoning,” Geraci said.

    Because fuel-burning appliances can produce the deadly, tasteless and odorless gas known as carbon monoxide, make sure all carbon monoxide alarms are in working order before using the appliances, the state fire marshall said.

    Carbon monoxide gas is poisonous and can quickly cause injury or death.

    In the event of a loss of electrical power, operate generators outside the home and outside garages, as carbon monoxide gas also is produced by operating generators. Ensure placement of the generator does not allow carbon monoxide to enter the home through windows, doors or other openings.

    Installing and maintaining carbon monoxide alarms inside the home may provide an early warning of carbon monoxide, Geraci said. Also, opening a window will provide proper ventilation for fuel-burning appliances, he said.

    Additionally, Geraci advised people to use flashlights during power outages instead of candles and keep plenty of fresh batteries on hand at all times.

    If using candles, the fire marshal said to make sure they are placed on a stable piece of furniture, in sturdy holders that will not tip over, and to never place candles where they can be knocked over by children or pets.

    Keep combustibles, including furniture, books, clothing, papers and curtains, at least 3 feet from all heat sources and remember to extinguish candles and turn off portable heaters when leaving a room or before going to sleep.

    Never use candles, matches or lighters if medical oxygen therapy is used in the home, Geraci said.

    If using portable electric heaters, the state fire marshall said to check for frayed or damaged wires before using the appliances and make sure the heater is placed on a flat, level surface. Never use extension cords with portable space heaters, because the extension cord can overheat and cause a fire — always plug the cord directly into the power outlet.

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