Fire dangers often follow winter storms

A wide range of natural disasters occurs within the United States every year.

Natural disasters can have a devastating effect on you and your home. The U. S. Fire Administration encourages you to use the following safety tips to help protect yourself, your family and your home from the potential threat of fire during or after a winter storm. You can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a fire casualty by being able to identify potential hazards and following the outlined safety tips.

Winter storm fire hazards
Alternative heating devices used incorrectly create fire hazards.

Damaged or downed utility lines can present a fire and life safety hazard.

Water damaged appliances and utilities can be electrically charged.

Frozen water pipes can burst and cause safety hazards.

Leaking gas lines, damaged or leaking gas propane containers, and leaking vehicle gas tanks may explode or ignite.

Generators are often used during power outages. Generators which are not properly used and maintained can be very hazardous.

Chemical safety
Look for combustible liquids such as gasoline, lighter fluid and paint thinner

which might have spilled. Thoroughly clean the spill and place containers in a well-ventilated area.

Keep combustible liquids away from heat sources.

Electrical safety

If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.

Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.

Look for and replace frayed or cracked extension and appliance cords, loose prongs, and plugs.

Exposed outlets and wiring could present a fire and life safety hazard.

Appliances which emit smoke or sparks should be repaired or replaced.

Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage.

Gas safety

Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house and leave the door(s) open.

Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion.

Before turning the gas back on, have

Turn to winter/page 47