Fire marshal issues warnings on safety

ORANGE >> The Fire Marshal’s Office suggests the following fire safety guidelines for indoor cleanup and outdoor projects.

• Open burning is not permitted in the town and is a violation of the Connecticut Clean Air Act. There are numerous fire and safety concerns such as smoke, flying embers, and the possibility of the fire spreading out of control.

• Lawn care: Remove debris that could damage equipment or cause injury. Clean leaves and needles from gutters and cellar windows. • Keep a fire-safe zone around the house. Prune away limbs and trees along the driveway that could prevent easy access for firetrucks or ambulances.

• Know how to operate outdoor equipment. Extension cords must be in good condition and rated for outdoor use. Unplug electrical tools and disconnect spark plugs on gas-powered tools before making adjustments or clearing jams near moving parts. Never work with electrical tools in wet or damp conditions. To prevent electrocution, use a ground fault circuit interrupter. Unattended tools should be turned off and inoperable.

• Never fill the gas tanks while equipment is operating or when it is still hot. Do not fill the tank inside of any enclosed area. Quickly wipe up spills. Store gas in approved containers away from the home. Never smoke or use any type of flame around gasoline.

• Use gas and charcoal grills outside only. They pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and asphyxiation, if used in any enclosed space. Put the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Place it a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic. Declare a 3-foot “kid-and pet-free zone” around the grill.

• Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in the trays below the grill so it cannot be ignited. Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. If the grill has a gas leak, also determined by smell, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill.

• If the leak stops, have the grill serviced by a professional before use. If the leak does not stop, call 911. Do not try to move the grill. Never store propane gas cylinders in buildings or garages.

• Spring is the ideal time to check for dangerous materials and unsafe conditions. Look for clutter in each room, including the attic and basement. Clutter, such as stacks of old newspapers or magazines, empty boxes, broken or obsolete appliances and furniture, is “food for fire.” If a fire occurs, the clutter would provide material to help it spread. It could also block or hinder escape, as well as the path of firefighters.

• Remove all hazards. Never use gasoline as a cleaning solvent. Replace or fix frayed or damaged appliances cords, wiring, breakers or fuses. Check for water leaks, especially near electrical appliances. Properly store flammable liquids and chemicals in a cool, dry place. Items should be well marked and out of the reach of children. Be sure there is clearance between combustibles and heating appliances and other heat and ignition sources. Clean up work areas.

• Annually replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Test alarms monthly by using the test button or an approved smoke substitute. Do not use an open-flame device. Even though the alarms may work when tested, install a new smoke alarm after 10 years and a carbon monoxide detector in accordance with the manufacturers’ suggestion to protect against failure, as older models may be less reliable.

• Immediately replace batteries if an alarm “chirps” to indicate a low battery.

• Practice a home escape plan. Know two ways out of every room and make sure doors and windows can be opened easily. Designate a place for family members to meet outside. Call 911 after exiting the home.

Carbon monoxide alarms are available free of charge to Orange residents at the fire marshal’s office, 355 Boston Post Road. To have alarms installed, help with changing the batteries or for information, call 203-891-4711 weekdays or go to