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Area Fire Departments warn of winter fire dangers

When the cold weather arrives, so too does the portable heating equipment. The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is offering some winter weather reminders following a deadly fire in the Bronx, which was caused by a space heater.  The fire department urges residents to plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet, not a power strip or extension cord.  If the plug is hot, the space heater should be disconnect from power. 

If there is a fire, keep the doors closed.  A closed door keeps smoke and fire from traveling and reduces the fuel load the fire can get to. 

While portable heaters can help ward off the chilly nights, the New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department says they also pose a serious fire danger.  The National Fire Protection Association says heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes, accounting for 15% of all reported home fires between 2012 and 2016.  The New Fairfield Volunteer Fire Department is reminding residents to keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, make sure it has an auto shut-off if it tips over and does not block an exit.  

Water Witch Hose of New Milford urged residents to check furnaces, water heaters and wood stoves by a reliable professional.  They also suggest making sure there is a working smoke detector on every level of the home and consider installing carbon monoxide detectors.  Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea, drowsiness. 

Families are also encouraged to have a home fire escape plan, with two exits from every room.  A meeting place in a safe location will help ensure all family members can be accounted for.  In the event of an emergency, the fire department should be called from a cordless phone, at a neighbor's home or other safe location.