Fire Prevention Week: Safety tips for North Country winter months


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — This week is national fire prevention week and North Country residents are being urged to learn safety tips as winter is fast approaching.

In the fall and early winter months, there is an increased risk for house fires as residents begin turning on their heat and spend more time indoors. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, holiday decorations, winter storms and candles also contribute, as half of all home heating fires occur in December, January and February.

To avoid the dangers of a home heating fire, the NFPA and United States Fire Administration urge residents to practice the following:

  • Keep anything that can burn at leats three feat form any heat source
  • Keep portable generators outside, away from windows and as far from a structure as possible
  • Install and test carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month
  • Only plug one heat-producing applicance into an electrical outlet as a time
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container and keep it outside, at least ten feet away from any nearby building

Experts also recommend homeowners to have a qualified professional clean and inspect chimneys and vents every year.

For the week of prevention, the National Fire Prevention Association is also promoting its “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety” campaign, which educates homeowners, renters and even children on what specific in-house alarms mean. Generally, the NFPA stated “hear a beep, get on your feet,” and “hear a chirp, make a change.”

According to the Association, for both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, a single “chirp” every 30 or 60 seconds means the battery in the alarm is low and must be charged. If the alarm continues to chirp after a battery is replaced, this could mean the alarm is at the end of its life and must be replaced.

However, if either alarm continuous beeps loudly in sets of threes, this means there is smoke or fire in the home. If this alarm sounds, individuals are urged to get out, call 911 and stay out.

Additionally, although the North Country is not in a state of drought, wildfires always remain a topic of concern. If a fire in the outdoors sparks, individuals are asked to contact local fire departments as well as the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Fire Prevention Week will run through October 9, 2021. More safety tips can be found on the National Fire Prevention Association website.

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