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AS TEMPERATURES DROP HEATING DANGERS RISE
Avon Volunteer Fire Department
Offers Colder Weather Safety Tips
October 17, 2014 | Avon, CT – The warmth of the past few days is about to become a distant memory as we head into a weekend of more fall-like weather and cold nighttime temperatures, maybe even some overnight frost. Naturally, thoughts turn to higher thermostat settings and toasty fireplaces. But, don’t forget, proper maintenance and use of furnaces and chimneys is paramount when it comes to heating homes and staying warm safely.
“While we’re not yet freezing ‘round the clock, we have had nights cold enough to warrant nudging the thermostat up a few degrees or enjoying an evening fire in the fireplace,” says Avon Volunteer Fire Department chief Michael Trick. “Our crews have already responded to our first carbon monoxide and chimney fire calls of the season.”
Carbon monoxide (CO), also called “the silent killer,” is invisible, odorless, and colorless – it is a gas emitted when fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane do not burn completely. It can poison people and pets – enough CO can kill. It can make people sick. To stay safe at home, make sure heating systems are inspected and repaired annually, only use generators and grills outdoors, do not run vehicles inside garages even if the garage door is open, and place CO detectors outside each bedroom and maintain them by testing monthly and replacing batteries every six months.
Fireplaces and Wood and Pellet Stoves
Fireplaces and wood and pellet stoves are very common sources of home heat. All three require use of a chimney. Chimneys should be inspected annually and cleaned and repaired if necessary. Never use flammable liquid or excessive amounts of paper to start or accelerate any fire. Use a glass or metal screen in front of fireplace openings to prevent embers and sparks from jumping out and igniting furniture or people. Before going to sleep, be sure fires are out and ashes are cool. Never close the flue with hot ashes in the fireplace as it will cause the fire to heat up and force carbon monoxide into the home. Remove cooled ashes from the fireplace and place them in a covered metal container to be stored outdoors at least 10 feet away from any structures.
“It’s easy to walk in from an evening event, realize the house is cold, and head over to the thermostat or grab a few logs for the fireplace,” adds Trick. “But, if your furnace hasn’t been serviced in the last 12 months and it’s been a year since you had your chimney cleaned and inspected, don’t take any chances. Pile on the blankets to stay warm and call for service appointments in the morning.”
To make sure your home is ready for heating season, visit the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) website an important checklist and other fire safety tips.
About the AVFD
Incorporated in 1943, the Avon Volunteer Fire Department proudly protects more than 18,000 people living in the 22.6 square mile area that makes up the Town of Avon. The Department’s mission is to provide fire suppression and prevention, life safety and rescue support, as well as other community support to the citizens of the Town of Avon. In addition, the Department provides mutual aid support to those surrounding communities that, in time of need, may request such assistance.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, the Avon Volunteer Fire Department prides itself on the selflessness and dedication of its members – firefighters, fire police, administrative members, Explorers, active veterans, senior veterans, and associate members, all of whom play a vital role in the safety of Avon. The Department operates six companies and 15 pieces of apparatus, including a brush truck, ladder truck, tanker, rescue vehicle, boat, and pumpers. Four stations are located throughout Town – Company 1 on Darling Drive, Company 2 on Secret Lake Road, Company 3 on West Avon Road, and Company 4 on Huckleberry Hill Road. Anyone interested in learning more about the AVFD should call the Avon Volunteer Fire Department (AVFD) at 677-2644, visit www.avonvfd.org, connect on Facebook at AvonVFD, or stop by the Company 1 firehouse located at 25 Darling Drive any Monday evening after 7:00.
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