State Fire Marshal issues storm fire safety tips keep warm, keep safe

STOW, MA –State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey is offering safety tips to prevent fires and carbon monoxide poisoning (CO) as people struggle to recover from this storm. “This storm has left many without power. Keep a difficult situation from getting worse, stay safe as you try to cook and have light and heat as the temperatures dip tonight.” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.

Generator Safety

Generators are a leading source of CO poisoning. It’s important to know how to use them safely:

    • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use heavy-duty, outdoor rated extension cords, not to exceed the number of outlets on the generator. Make sure cords are free of cuts and tears and have all three prongs – especially the grounding pin.
    • Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open canopy or tent.
    • Dry your hands before touching the generator.
    • Let the generator cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Cooking Safely

“If you’re using a barbecue grill to cook, do so outdoors, not inside the garage,” said Ostroskey, “Using a propane grill inside risks carbon monoxide poisoning and using any type of grill inside runs the risk of causing a fire.”

Candle Safety Tips

“It’s safer to use flashlights and battery-operated candles for light rather than traditional open flame ones,” said Ostroskey. He offered these candle safety tips:

    • Burn candles within a one-foot circle, free of anything that can burn.
    • Before you go out, blow it out; never leave candles burning unattended.
    • Always extinguish candles after use.
    • Use a non-combustible saucer or candleholder.
    • Keep candles out of reach of children and pets.

Make Sure Smoke Alarms and CO Alarms are Working

“One of the simplest steps for safety you can take is to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working. They will give you the earliest possible warning that something is wrong so you can escape safely,” said Fire Marshal Ostroskey. Hard-wired alarms will rely on the battery-backup during a power outage. If the power is out for an extended time, you may have to replace the back-up batteries.

Carbon monoxide is called the invisible killer because you cannot see it, taste it or smell it. Breathing CO makes people feel nauseous, dizzy, headache, and tired like having the flu. It poisons the body by removing oxygen in the blood stream, slowly suffocating victims. It makes it hard to think clearly and sleeping people will not wake up without an alarm. Heating appliances are the leading producers of carbon monoxide in the home and the risk increases when they are working harder.