LETTER: Tips to Keep Your Home Safe This Winter from the Fire Inspector

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Residents of Watertown:

I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season. As we welcome winter, and progress into the season, I felt it was an appropriate time to inform you of some important winter fire safety topics.

Please promptly dispose of your Christmas trees. A dried out tree can ignite very easily and spread very quickly. Even if you have been watering your tree well, cut trees dry out fast. To dispose of your tree, simply leave it curbside on your trash collection day through the month of January. The DPW does an outstanding job of collecting and chipping the trees.

After a snow, you can greatly assist us by shoveling out your nearest fire hydrant. We work hard after each storm to clear every hydrant in town. In a fire, seconds can make a huge difference. Quick and unimpeded access to water is critical in the overall success of a fire scene. Shoveling your fire hydrant is a tremendous help and is much appreciated by the fire department. A cleared area of three feet around a hydrant is necessary for us to safely operate it when needed.

As snow accumulates, please be sure the vents to your home are clear. Dryer and heating vents must be able to remove exhaust from your home. If snow blocks these outlets, carbon monoxide and other toxic gases can fill your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless toxic gas.

Without carbon monoxide detectors you will have no way of knowing you and your family are being poisoned until it may be too late. Please test your CO detectors monthly to ensure they are working properly.

Finally, it is always a good idea to check on your elderly neighbors. Help by clearing snow from their vents and walkways. In the event of a medical emergency, a clear path to the door makes it quicker for us to render medical aid and safer for us to remove the patient from the home if need be.

For more information on winter fire safety, please visit the Department of Fire Services website at www.mass.gov/dfs or contact my office directly at (617) 972-6510.


Thank you and have a safe winter!

Captain Ryan Nicholson
Fire Inspector
Watertown Fire Department

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