Thankfully fire officials reported there were no injuries in a fire early yesterday that damaged a home in Port Jefferson Station. It took members of the Terryville Fire Department and firefighters from four other jurisdictions to bring the blaze under control, fire officials said.
Recently, local news stations have been flooded with reports of house and apartment fires all across the state, New York City especially. In our state alone, more than 17 people have already died from house fires just since 2018 began! House fires occur more during the frigid months of winter than any other time of the year. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), half of all residential fires are reported in the months of December, January, and February.
In hopes of reducing the number of house fires that could still occur this season, the NFPA and the U.S. National Fire Administration have developed the Put a Freeze on Winter Fires campaign. This educational movement aims to protect the public by highlighting the most common causes of winter fires and how to keep your home safe from these hazards.
WATCH THOSE HEATERS
A cozy warm home is essential in the winter time, but heating equipment is the second leading cause of all house fires reported in the nation, responsible for 1 in 5 fire-related deaths. To reduce fires caused by heating systems, fire officials recommend keeping anything flammable in your home at least 3-feet from any fireplace, wood stove, radiator, or space heater. For portable units, the NFPA suggests plugging in one unit at a time so you can safely monitor any obstructions getting too close.
DANGEROUS WINTER STORMS
Treacherous winter storms create perfect conditions for house fires to occur. Strong snowy winds can knock down power lines, sparking fires that are extremely difficult to extinguish. Power outages are also when residents tend to use unsafe heating equipment to battle the cold temperatures in their home. Make sure you prepare for storms by keeping appropriate emergency heating equipment readily available such as extra clothing, space blankets, chemical hand and body warmers, and wood for fireplaces and wood stoves. Kerosene and propane heaters can also be extremely helpful but only when used safely.
GENERATORS ARE LIFESAVERS…AND FIRE STARTERS
Generators are lifesavers when the power goes out. However, generators themselves are extremely flammable and can easily cause a house fire when misused. The NFPA encourages residents to always operate their generators in well ventilated areas, at least 5-feet away from any door or window, and never in an attached garage. Always turn off the generator before refueling and keep it clear of debris. Also, make sure to only plug in appliances with undamaged cords directly into the generator or a heavy duty outdoor extension cord.
CANDLES AREN’T ALWAYS ROMANTIC
According to the NFPA, between 2011-2015 at least 24 candle fires were reported nationally- per day! The use of candles tends to increase during the winter months, particularly during holidays and power outages. NFPA officials recommend using battery powered lanterns or flameless candles as a safer alternative to candles. If you must use candles, keep them far from flammable materials, away from rooms where people sleep, and always remember to blow them out when leaving the room.
CLEAN YOUR CHIMNEY
The NFPA reports about 28% of fires are caused by dirty fireplaces. This sounds a little strange, but failing to clean the creosote from chimneys can easily cause your house to catch fire. Make sure to get your chimney serviced by a qualified professional at least once a year for a safe working fireplace when you need one the most.
NOT SAFE FOR HEATING USE
In times of desperation, some residents have resorted to unsafe equipment as a heat source. Stoves and hot plates should NEVER be used to heat a home. This equipment is not made for home heating purposes and can cause fires and serious burns when used inappropriately.
There’s no need for unnecessary fire hazards in your home this winter. For more information on how to keep your house safe from winter blazes, check out the NFPA’s website for endless helpful tips! (https://www.nfpa.org/)
If you or a loved has been a victim of a house fire due to the negligence of another, our dedicated attorney’s at Siler & Ingber are here to help. Every new client is entitled to a free consultation with a member of our team.