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Cold weather safety tips from city fire chief

By Howard B. Owens

While the current temperature in Batavia is hovering around zero, it is expected to warm to a balmy 20 degrees later today.

Meanwhile, City Fire Chief Jim Maxwell sent along these cold weather safety tips.

With the temperatures dipping to lows not seen for the past several years, a few simple reminders on cold weather safety may be in order:

Cold weather can be hazardous, so take steps to dress properly if you are venturing outside. The American Red Cross issued these reminders:

  • Limit your time outside, dress in layers, wear gloves or mittens, and wear a hat that covers your ears. Wear waterproof boots and keep your clothes dry.
  • Do not leave pets outside for extended periods.
  • Check on vulnerable neighbors, especially elderly people living alone, people with disabilities and others who may require special assistance.
  • If using a space heater, don't overload electrical outlets and keep the heater at least 3 feet from materials such as curtains, furniture and bedding. Never leave space heaters unattended.
  • Never leave a fire burning unattended in a fireplace. Be sure the chimney is regularly cleaned and inspected.
  • If your furnace vents through walls rather than the chimney, make sure the air intake and exhaust are not blocked by snow. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside the home.
  • Check on pipes that may be prone to freezing. If sink pipes run through enclosed cabinets, try opening the cabinet doors to let warm air circulate around pipes. A slow trickle of water in pipes helps reduce the risk of freezing. Consider wrapping pipes that are exposed to the cold.
  • Keep your car's gas tank full, which will help prevent the fuel line from freezing.

The following is an Extreme Cold Safety pamphlet from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Car Safety Tips:

Be sure to have, at a minimum, one functioning Smoke Alarm and one Carbon Monoxide Detector.

You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure:

  • Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 9-1-1.
  • Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.
  • Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, garage or near a window.
  • Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  • Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.
  • Don't heat your house with a gas oven.

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