Stay safe in the winter

Phil­adelphia Fire Com­mis­sion­er Lloyd Ay­ers urges all Phil­adelphi­ans to prac­tice im­port­ant safety tips dur­ing the im­pend­ing winter and to be more vi­gil­ant with their fire safety ef­forts and aware­ness.

Res­id­ents should have a smoke alarm on every level of the home. Alarms should be tested reg­u­larly to en­sure they work and have fresh bat­ter­ies.

Homes should also have car­bon monox­ide alarms near each of the sleep­ing areas. Bat­ter­ies also should be tested reg­u­larly.

While it’s im­port­ant to keep warm, res­id­ents nev­er should use gas or elec­tric ranges and ovens to heat the home.

Ex­treme cau­tion should be ex­er­cised in us­ing port­able heat­ers. Keep all flam­mable ma­ter­i­als in­clud­ing news­pa­pers, cloth­ing, drapes and fur­niture at least three feet away from port­able heat­ers. Nev­er place port­able heat­ers at the bot­tom of a stair­case, as it would block es­cape in case of a fire. In­spect port­able heat­ers for cracked or loose cords and con­nec­tions pri­or to use. Nev­er over­load elec­tric­al sock­ets.

Spe­cific­ally re­gard­ing ker­osene heat­ers, al­ways use ap­proved K-1 grade ker­osene and nev­er gas­ol­ine. Nev­er fill ker­osene heat­ers in­doors. Let the heat­er cool be­fore re­filling. Nev­er over­fill heat­ers. Nev­er store ker­osene or flam­mable li­quids in­doors.

Dur­ing freez­ing tem­per­at­ures, win­dows and doors should be kept in work­ing or­der to serve as es­cape routes in case of an emer­gency. 

Make sure every­one in the home knows what to do, in­clud­ing a planned es­cape route, in case of a fire. Nev­er leave chil­dren alone in a home. Nev­er use open flame or a blow torch to thaw pipes. Nev­er smoke ci­gar­ettes in­side the home.

Res­id­ents should al­ways look out for their eld­erly neigh­bors. Make sure they have smoke and car­bon monox­ide alarms and that they are warm without re­sort­ing to haz­ard­ous heat­ing meth­ods.

The fire de­part­ment will sup­ply smoke and car­bon monox­ide alarms to needy city res­id­ents. Mean­while, res­id­ents fa­cing dif­fi­culty pay­ing their heat­ing bills may con­tact the Low In­come Home En­ergy As­sist­ance Pro­gram at 215-684-6100 or the Phil­adelphia Cor­por­a­tion for Aging at 215-765-9040.

In case of any emer­gency, al­ways call 911. ••

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