during this time of year there is an increase in carbon monoxide (CO) calls. We have already responded to two calls in which there were elevated levels of CO. Don't become a statistic, install a CO monitor, change your heater filters and if you haven't had it done have your gas heaters serviced to insure they are in proper working order. Remember don't store anything around your heater that may prevent it from working properly or can catch fire.
Cooking fires cause thousands of fires every year, be safe by cooking at the proper temperature, don't leave cooking food unattended, especially if it is grease. Keep small children away from hot stoves. The best thing to have in your kitchen is a small fire extinguisher, if you don't have one of these than flour is a good substitute, don't use water or alcohol as this will cause the fire to spread and become more intense.
Candles are also a danger, never leave lit candles unattended. Be careful whenever using candles as a primary source of light. Always extinguish candles if you are leaving or going to bed.
This time of year people like to burn wood in their fire places or wood stoves. These both require a little work before you start using them. First always make sure the pipe or chimney is free of debris and clean, this will prevent smoke from being directed back into the house. It will also allow the CO to leave the house and not be of danger to you or your family. Always be careful when removing hot coals. Always put them in a covered container on brick, concrete or tile, that way if there are still hot embers they can't catch anything on fire. Never leave these fire unattended especially if there is a possibility of embers catching anything on fire. Make sure your screens are in good working order.
Remember to clean your car windows before driving. This will ensure you have good visibility. Remember that you can be held liable for anything if your windows aren't clear and you are involved in an accident.
Be careful on the roads especially on turns, we average 6-10 calls due to cars going into turns to fast for conditions. There are no tires or cars that will prevent this from happening, only you are able to do that. Remember to drive for the conditions of the road, there isn't anyplace that you need to be that is worth risking your life.
The best dress for this weather is to layer your clothing. As you work you can peel the layers of as you begin to get hot. When you're done you can put those layers back on to keep warm. Remember to drink water and warm fluids. It is possible to become dehydrated even in the cold. Keep your head covered as well, to reduce the loss of body heat. If you become cold get warm. Remember you can make this a safe and fun winter, just use common sense and be safe.
Copyright 2006 Shawnee County Fire District #3