NEW YORK (WWTI) — Ahead of the winter storm poised to hit the North Country Sunday evening and last through Monday afternoon, Governor Hochul’s office released a list of safety tips New Yorkers can take into consideration when preparing for the mix of wind, ice and snow.

The following tips can help New Yorkers stay safe and warm during severe weather conditions:

Be “Fire Safe”

Heating equipment is among the leading causes of home fires nationally and in New York State. Take a few simple steps to significantly reduce the possibility of experiencing a heating-related fire. No matter how careful you are with home heating, you and your family should be prepared in case fire strikes:

  • Buy and carefully maintain a quality smoke and carbon monoxide detector.
  • Inspect your home to eliminate or control fire hazards.
  • Install at least 5-pound A-B-C type fire extinguishers in the home and teach family members how to use them.
  • Establish a well-planned escape route with the entire family.
  • Hold practice fire drills until all family members are thoroughly familiar with plan.
  • If you have an older home, have the wiring checked by a qualified electrician to make sure it meets current building codes.
  • Have your chimney and fireplace cleaned and inspected yearly for creosote build-up, cracks, crumbling bricks or mortar and any obstructions.
  • Keep storage areas clean and tidy.
  • Keep curtains, towels and potholders away from hot surfaces.
  • Store solvents and flammable cleaners away from heat sources. NEVER keep gasoline in the house.
  • Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs.

Maintain and Inspect Home Heating Appliances

Proper maintenance and an annual inspection of heat pumps, furnaces, space heaters, wood and coal stoves, fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connections by qualified specialists can prevent fires and save lives. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, venting, fueling, maintenance and repair. Review the owner’s manual to make sure you remember the operating and safety features.

Space Heaters – Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from furniture, window treatments, bedding, clothing, rugs, and other combustibles. Avoid the use of extension cords with electric heaters. Always turn off space heaters before leaving the room or going to bed.

Fuel Burning Appliances – Inspect the shut off mechanism and wick for proper operation. Fill the tank with fresh fuel. Let the heater cool down before refueling. Adding fuel to a hot heater can start a dangerous fire.

Wood Burning Appliances and Fireplaces – Do not burn trash in the wood stove or fireplace. Burn only well-seasoned hardwoods. Be sure the fire you build fits your fireplace or stove, don’t overload it. Be sure wood stoves are installed at least 36 inches away from the wall. Keep combustible materials well away from the fireplace, stove and chimney. Keep the area around them clean. Always use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from leaving the fireplace and starting a fire. Never leave a fire unattended.

Chimneys – Creosote accumulation is the leading cause of chimney fires. A chimney that is dirty, blocked or is in disrepair can inhibit proper venting of smoke up the flue and can also cause a chimney fire. Nearly all residential fires originating in the chimney are preventable. An annual chimney inspection by a qualified chimney sweep can prevent fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ashes – Keep wood stoves and fireplaces free of excess ash buildup. Excessive ash buildup prevents good circulation of air needed for combustion. When removing ashes, use a metal container with a tight-fitting cover. Always place ashes in an outside location away from structures. Ashes that seem cool may contain a smoldering charcoal that can start a fire.

Carbon Monoxide

  • Carbon monoxide is produced anywhere that fuel is burned and is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States.
  • Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and invisible killer, and the ONLY safe way to detect it is with a carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms range in price from $20 to $50 depending on additional features.
  • Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headaches and dizziness.
  • If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, ventilate the area and get to a hospital.

Other Heating Safety Tips

  • Make sure chimneys and vents are checked for blockages, corrosion, and loose connections.
  • Open flues completely when fireplaces are in use.
  • Use proper fuel in space heaters.
  • Never burn charcoal or a barbecue grill inside a home or enclosed space.
  • Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, or vehicle
  • Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
  • Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping.
  • Never use the kitchen stove for heating a house.
  • Never run a gas-powered generator in a garage, basement, or near any overhang on the home. Keep it at a distance.