Chief’s Corner: Winter safety tips
Living or visiting a mountain community brings with it unique safety concerns. Each year people are seriously injured and occasionally killed by some of these risks that you may not anticipate. The good news is these accidents can be prevented and now is the time to prepare!
Carbon monoxide is created from the incomplete burning of fuels like gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas and propane. It is often called the silent killer because it is an odorless, invisible gas. Each year people die from carbon monoxide poisoning and it is completely preventable. Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed outside each sleeping area. When the alarm sounds get out of the house and call 911. Don’t assume your carbon monoxide detector is malfunctioning when it sounds, call 911.
Clean the chimney
Chimney fires are common in our area. Once a fire starts in the chimney or flue it can quickly spread to other parts of the roof and house. Creosote builds up inside the flue over time which can catch fire. Call a chimney sweep to clean the inside of your flue to prevent chimney fires.
No sledding into a street
The snowbanks grow big throughout the winter in our neighborhoods and it’s tempting to sled off of the banks into the road. There have been a number of sad stories over the years of someone sledding off a bank and into a road and being struck by a moving car or a snowplow. Use the dedicated snow play areas at the ski areas or around town, not near or on roads.
Snow blower danger
Snow blowers are great tools but, unfortunately, they can quickly take a finger off or worse. It is easy to see and avoid the augur on the front of the blower but the real culprit is the spinning blade in the chute. Don’t ever clear the snow out of a blower with your hand, use a stick or long tool once the machine is completely off. Be sure to let your renters know about this important safety tip.
When snow sits on your sloped roof, it can unexpectedly slide off burying an unsuspecting person. Be careful to not let your kids play under a sloped roof that is loaded with snow.
Disposing of ashes properly can prevent a fire
Every year someone puts what they think are cool ashes form a woodstove into a paper or plastic bag and sets them outside on the deck of a home. The ashes, which stay warm for days, eventually burn through the bag, deck and ultimately into the house resulting in a devastating fire. Dispose of ashes in a steel container.
Caution, thin ice!
Skaters occasionally fall through a weak spot in the ice on the frozen ponds and lakes, which can have fatal results. Experts agree that ice less than four inches thick is probably not safe, and no ice is 100% safe. Use the local ice rinks instead or prepare for survival by wearing a lifejacket, use a buddy system, bring a rope and ice pick.
Follow these tips to a safe winter!
Bill Seline is the Fire Chief at the Truckee Fire Protection District
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