Fire Prevention and Safety Information

  • Winter Heating Safety Tips

    Home Heating Fires Are A Leading Cause of Death;

    Most Fires Reported in December-February

     

    November 18, 2016 | Middlefield, CT – According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Half of home heating equipment fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. With proper precautions, they can be prevented. The Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company offers the following information for staying fire safe while keeping warm this winter.

    “There is nothing like coming in from the bitter cold to the comfort of a warm home,” says Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company Chief Peter Tyc. “However, no matter what heat source you choose, there are fire dangers. While it’s easy to take short cuts with heating and put off having the furnace and chimney inspected and cleaned each year, it is absolutely not worth the risk.”

    Here are some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening:

    • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, such as the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
    • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
    • Never use your oven to heat your home.
    • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters, or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
    • Have a qualified professional clean and inspect heating equipment and chimneys every year.
    • Remember to turn off portable heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
    • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
    • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
    • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

     

    In addition, while many enjoy sitting by an open fire on a cold night, open flames inside the home can be dangerous. When using a portable ethanol burning fireplace, be sure to store ethanol fuel in a closed container, away from the fireplace and out of the reach of children. It may not be easy to see the ethanol fuel flame. Always close the lid or use a snuffer to be sure the flame is extinguished before refueling into a cooled fireplace. Use only fuel made specifically for the fireplace. Follow this advice:

    • A portable ethanol burning fireplace, and the fuel, should only be used by adults.
    • Clean up any fuel spillage and be sure all liquid has evaporated before lighting the fireplace.
    • Light the fireplace using a utility lighter or long match.
    • An adult should always be present when a portable fireplace is burning.
    • Place the fireplace on a sturdy surface away from table edges.
    • Never try to move a lit fireplace or one that is still hot.
    • Don’t pour ethanol fuel in a device that is lit or not completely cool. It may result in a fire or injury.
    • Allow the device to cool down for at least 15 minutes before refueling.
    • Extinguish the flame when you leave the room, home or go to sleep.

     

    Volunteers Needed

    The Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company is currently participating in Everyday Hero CT, a program dedicated to increasing the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state. Eighty percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers, and the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage. Local fire departments need volunteers of all skill levels and abilities, people willing and able to respond to emergencies whenever called upon.

    “The skills and experience gained as a volunteer firefighter are invaluable and have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others,” says Chief Fred Dudek, Everyday Hero CT program manager. “Those who join their local fire departments sign up for one of the most rewarding opportunities they’ll ever have.”

     
  • Fire Prevention Week: October 9-15, 2016

    October 9-15 is Fire Prevention Week. This year the National Fire Prevention Association’s (NFPA)’s theme is “Don’t Wait-Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.” NFPA research shows that most American homes have at least one smoke alarm. However, most people don’t know how old their alarms are or how often they need to be replaced. The Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company wants to be sure everyone in the community knows every smoke alarm has an expiration date as well as how to find that date.

    “Smoke alarms do not last forever,” says Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company Chief Peter Tyc. “About 60 percent of home fire deaths happen in homes with either no working smoke alarms or no smoke alarms at all. One reason an alarm might not work is because it’s too old.”

    The NFPA requires smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years, but because the public is generally unaware of this requirement, many homes have smoke alarms past their expiration date, putting people at increased risk.

    To find out how old a smoke alarm is and its expiration date, simply look on the back of the alarm where the date of manufacture is marked. The smoke alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase). The Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company also says smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and that batteries should be replaced once a year or when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.

    According to the NFPA website, Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

     

    Volunteers Needed

    The Middlefield Volunteer Fire Company is currently participating in Everyday Hero CT, a program dedicated to increasing the number of volunteer firefighters throughout the state. Eighty percent of all fire personnel in Connecticut are volunteers, and the majority of fire departments throughout the state are experiencing a volunteer shortage. Local fire departments need volunteers of all skill levels and abilities, people willing and able to respond to emergencies whenever called upon.

    “The skills and experience gained as a volunteer firefighter are invaluable and have a positive and lasting impact on the lives of others,” says Chief Fred Dudek, Everyday Hero CT program manager. “Those who join their local fire departments sign up for one of the most rewarding opportunities they’ll ever have.”

     
  • Smoke Detector Safety

    SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES!
    Here are a few facts that go to show why smoke detectors are so important to have in your home.

    ~Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
    ~Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
    ~In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
    ~When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
    ~An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed, to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended

     

SMOKE DETECTORS SAVE LIVES!
Here are a few facts that go to show why smoke detectors are so important to have in your home.

~Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
~Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
~In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 93% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated only 79% of the time.
~When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
~An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed, to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended

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