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Flanders Fire Chief Warns: Make Sure Your Warm Winter Home is Cozy, Not Deadly

By Doug Fenichel, PIO, Correspondent | February 03, 2017 | NATIONAL

Story No. 020317104

Flanders, N.J. – There’s nothing more comfortable than walking into a warm, cozy home from the cold outside winter air, but Flanders Fire Chief Tyler Wargo today urged people to make sure they warm their homes safely.

“It’s been a fairly mild winter so far, but we’ve got several weeks left and the weather forecast is calling for many chilly days,” said Wargo. “Getting careless with home heating can result in injuries, death and damage.”

Wargo said that more home fires occur in the winter than in any other season. Citing facts from the National Fire Protection Association, Wargo that more than half of home heating fires occur during December, January and February.

“Heating equipment was involved 1 out of every 6 fires, according to the NFPA,” said Wargo. “Of more concern to us, 1 in every 5 fire deaths involves heating equipment. We’ve seen those statistics become reality in Flanders. We want to keep our residents safe.”

Wargo offered five tips to stay safely warm during the winter:

1. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet from any heat source.

2. Keep portable generators outside, away from windows and as far away as possible from your home.

3. Install and test carbon monoxide alarms. Test them at least once a month, especially during heating season and if you’re using generators; wood, coal or gas stoves or other auxiliary heating supplies. Remember that CO alarms have a seven-year lifetime.

4. Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney once a year. And if you’re using wood or coal to heat, remember to store cooled ashes in a tightly covered metal container. Keep that container at least 10 feet away from your house.

5. Plug only one heat-producing appliance into an electrical outlet at a time.

“Every year, we see the devastation fire can do,” said Wargo. “Even a so-called minor fire can cause a family to have to relocate and do extensive and expensive repairs. We hope everyone will follow these simple rules and avoid a problem.”

Wargo said more information is available from the NFPA. People with questions are welcome to call the firehouse at (973) 584-7805 and leave a message with their question. Someone from the Flanders Fire Company will call back.

About Flanders Fire Company #1 and Rescue Squad:

The Flanders Fire Company No. 1 and Rescue Squad provides fire protection and emergency medical services to residents and businesses in Flanders and, through mutual aid, surrounding towns. Members receive training in fire suppression, rescue, hazardous materials response, homeland security issues and emergency medical services. The fire company operates one fire engine, one tower truck, one combination rescue/engine, a brush-and-foam truck, three ambulances, a multiple-casualty unit and a mass decontamination unit. The fire company has openings for people interested in becoming firefighters or emergency medical technicians. Training is provided.

In addition, the fire company offers public education services including lectures, demonstrations, training and a trailer that safely simulates a smoke-filled home. For information about membership, donations or public education, call (973) 584-7805, click on www.flandersfire.org or visit us on Facebook.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.