ELLSWORTH – As it gets colder outside, residents are focusing on ways to keep their homes warm and fire officials are putting extra emphasis on safety measures.
With temperatures plummeting below freezing yet again, it’s a good reminder to take a few steps to make sure you are keeping yourself warm and safe.
Heating devices, such as space heaters and generators, can be hazards on cold nights if they’re not managed properly.
According to Deputy Chief Gary Saunders of the Ellsworth Fire Department, the methods people use to heat their homes cause most of the cold weather fires.
“We’re heating our homes sometimes with an open flame, whether we’re using a wood stove or a fireplace or a pellet stove, and sometimes we’re not doing that appropriately. Sometimes we’re doing what we have to do to heat our homes and bad things can happen,” Saunders said.
He said to never leave your heating appliances unattended, especially when children are around.
They should also be kept at least three feet away from any flammable materials and kept in tip-top shape.
“Make sure that you have your heating appliances serviced on an annual basis. Make sure if you’re burning your solid fuels, wood pellets, things like that, your chimneys and your flues are properly serviced and maintained,” Saunders said.
Deputy Chief Saunders also said another big concern this time of year is carbon monoxide.
It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless, so having a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector is key.
“And, of course, I can’t talk about fire safety without making sure that people have smoke alarms on every level of the home in the sleeping areas and that they have an escape plan with a meeting place,” Saunders said.