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. ••