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Nassau County Firefighters Museum Offers Tips to Stay Safe in the Cold Weather

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  17. January 2016

Long Island, NY - January 15, 2016 - After an unusually mild December, winter has finally arrived in our area with icy winds and sub-freezing temperatures. The Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center has some helpful advice for Long Islanders to remain safe while dealing with the chilly weather. 

Fireplaces and space heaters can be useful in keeping warm, but they must be used properly and safely. It’s critical to double-check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors now to minimize risks. Statistics from the NFPA show that there is a higher risk of dying from a fire during the winter season, with December through February ranking among the deadliest months for fires.

“As the weather grows colder, we ask our neighbors to follow these simple steps to remain as safe as possible,” said Nassau County Firefighters Museum Safety Instructor Chief John Murray. “There are more fires, and more fire deaths during the winter - often related to efforts to stay warm – and many of these tragedies could have been avoided. Everyone should stay warm - but at the same time, stay safe. Of the Museum passing along safety tips, Chief Murray said, “Please take a few moments to familiarize yourselves with these winter safety tips, and keep your family safe from these potentially deadly hazards.” 

Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center offers the following safety tips when using:

Portable space heaters:

  • Never leave a portable space heater in a room unattended, and always follow manufacturer’s instructions for proper use and maintenance.
  • Use space heaters for a limited time each day.
  • Never connect a space heater to an outlet with an extension cord.
  • Unplug the unit when not in use.  Let it cool down prior to storing the unit.
  • Keep a window ajar or the door open in a room where an unvented heater is in use.
  • Never use heaters to dry clothing or other combustibles.

Fireplaces:

  • Make sure the flue is open before using a fireplace for the first time this season.
  • Remove any and all obstructions from your chimney.  Obstructions will cause carbon monoxide to back up into your home.
  • Never leave a fireplace unattended.
  • Chimneys and vents should be inspected and cleaned annually. 
  • Take care when stoking a fire.  Do not burn newspapers or trash in a fireplace.  Doing so may ignite a chimney fire or send flaming embers into your home, causing fire.

Gas or Electric Furnaces:

  • If smoke emanating from the furnace turns black and the furnace starts to rumble, leave the building immediately, and call your local fire department. 
  • All heating units should be tuned up by a professional certified technician.  Regular inspections and cleanings of your heating system help to ensure maximum efficiency during the winter months.

Coal and Wood Burning Stoves:

  • Use coal only if specifically approved by the stove manufacturer. Gasoline or other flammable liquids should never be used to start a wood fire.

Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

  • Test your home smoke alarms at least once per month. Do this by pressing the “test” button on the unit.
  • If your detectors are battery operated, check the batteries often to make sure the units are operational. 
  • If you do not have one already installed, install a carbon monoxide detector to detect production of potentially lethal carbon monoxide by gas fireplaces, gas stoves, barbecues, gas furnaces.
  • Use Daylight Saving Time as a bi-annual reminder to change your smoke detector and CO detector batteries twice a year.

For additional information on home heating safety, visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website at www.nfpa.org.

The mission of the Nassau County Firefighters Museum & Education Center, located at One Davis Avenue, Garden City, NY, is to educate and inform the public about fire safety and prevention and to display the proud history of volunteer firefighting in Nassau County. For more information, please visit: http://www.ncfiremuseum.org

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