MANCHESTER BY-THE-SEA — Interim Chief Albert Beardsley and the Manchester Fire Department would like to provide the community with several important tips to stay safe and warm as temperatures continue to fluctuate this winter.
“Although it is technically winter, we are seeing temperatures spike and drop on a regular basis,” Chief Beardsley said. “As we continue into this season, please be cognizant of the weather to prevent injuries and fires.”
Ice conditions on local ponds and waterways:
The fire department receives calls frequently about “safe ice conditions.” The fire department does not qualify safe ice conditions.
Unless at a maintained skating rink facility, no ice is safe ice. Conditions on any body of water are affected by currents under the ice you cannot see.
Staying warm during cold weather:
The Manchester Fire Department recommends that residents follow tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
- If outside, dress in several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight clothing instead of a single heavy layer. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat, mittens (not gloves) and sturdy waterproof boots to protect your extremities. Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.
- Check on your elderly neighbors or any neighbors that may live alone.
- Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as alternate emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity. There are many resources available for low-income residents who meet certain requirements. National Grid offers discounted rates on services to those who are eligible. The state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program can help certain households pay for a portion of their heating bills.
- When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as an emergency generator, your fireplace, or wood stove, take necessary safety precautions:
– Keep a fire extinguisher handy and ensure everyone knows how to use it properly.
– Never heat your home with a gas stove or oven or charcoal barbecue grill.
– Be sure to have your wood stove, fireplace and heating system serviced once a year as part of its regular maintenance schedule.
– Never leave candles unattended and keep them in a place where they cannot be knocked down or blown over.
– Make sure all heating devices are properly ventilated and always operate a generator outdoors and away from your home. Improper heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup in the home.
– Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause flu-like illness or death. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 immediately, get the victim to fresh air and open windows.
- For your car, check your antifreeze, battery, defroster, windshield wipers, wiper fluid and other vehicle equipment to make sure they are ready for winter driving.
- Keep pets sheltered and inside. Cats should never be left outdoors in cold weather, even if they roam outside during other seasons. Dogs should be taken out frequently for walks and exercise, but kept inside the rest of the time.
- Bundle up dogs, especially short-haired dogs, with protective gear, such as sweaters and boots, to avoid the risks of frostbite and hypothermia from exposed skin and paws.