Power outages can present fire hazards

The Shelton Fire Prevention Bureau urges everyone to exercise caution when using alternate means of generating electricity, lighting, and cooking, during the power outages. Ted Pisciotta, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention, states that such outages can present fire hazards that many people might not normally think about. Recent severe weather has been a reminder of how important it is to be prepared and keep safety in mind. The fire prevention bureau recommends planning ahead of time and offers the following important safety tips:

• If you have a portable generator, or other fuel powered appliance, only run and use it outdoors with adequate ventilation. Never use a generator or fuel powered equipment indoors, within a basement, or in a shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide, which can be deadly if inhaled.

• This is in addition to the fire hazards associated with fuels involved with this equipment. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors, and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's manual and follow the instructions.

• Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.

• Avoid the use of candles. With a variety of alternative sources of lighting available, candles should not be needed. Instead use battery operated lighting and flashlights or glow-sticks that do not require flame.

• Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Deaths have occurred when consumers burned charcoal or used camp stoves in enclosed spaces, which produced lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

•Install carbon monoxide alarms immediately outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home to protect against CO poisoning. Change the alarms' batteries every year.

Finally, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call “911” for help.  And remember to practice your home escape plan.

For more information, the public is encouraged to contact the Shelton Fire Prevention Bureau at 924-1555 or on the web under “Public Safety” at www.cityofshelton.org