Prepare for Winter with These Three Safety Tips

Posted on 01/03/2018

By UFA Assistant Chief Mike Watson

As the winter months come upon us, there a few safety reminders that are always relevant to the season. 

Outlined are three very important safety topics, including first smoke detectors. It’s always good to remember to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. Also, there has been an important recall of a particular brand, make, model and manufactured dates of a smoke alarm that will be replaced by the manufacturer upon consumer request. Please make note of the following recall details and take the necessary steps to get your smoke detectors replaced:

Kidde has announced a voluntary recall on certain Model PI2000 Dual Sensor smoke alarms. This voluntary recall is in conjunction with the Consumer Product Safety Commission for smoke alarm units that were manufactured between Aug. 1, 2008, and May 4, 2009. An electrostatic discharge (caused by static electricity) can damage the unit, causing it not to warn consumers of a fire.

This model can be identified by both of the following:

1. The two buttons on the front (center) of the alarm that are labeled, “HUSH” and “PUSH AND HOLD TO TEST WEEKLY.”

2. By checking the manufacturer’s label on the back of the unit for the model name and manufactured dates.

Please check your smoke detectors to determine whether or not they need to be replaced per this recall.  

For more information, visit Kidde’s website at: www.kidde.com or contact Kidde toll-free at (855) 239-0490 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

The second safety issue is maintaining a clear and workable space around fire hydrants during the winter months. In general, this responsibility falls on the residents who own or occupy property nearest a hydrant. When responding to structure fires, time is of the essence. Fire departments strive for acceptable response times and it is frustrating when a fire hydrant needs to be cleared of snow or debris before firefighters can engage in water supply and suppression tactics to extinguish a fire. If you have a hydrant on or near your property, here are the things you can do to ensure firefighters can connect to the hydrant when needed:

1. Shovel or snow blow 3 feet of space on each side and in the back of fire hydrants.

2. Maintain an open corridor from the street to the front of fire hydrants.

3. These clearings should go all the way to the ground whenever possible, but not less than 1 foot below the hydrant caps at a minimum.

Some neighborhoods organize an Adopt-A-Hydrant program. This creates the awareness for residents to take note of clearing snow from hydrants and maintaining space around them and to help each other with those tasks throughout the winter months. These things can be done when you are already out shoveling or blowing snow from your driveways and sidewalks.

For more information, visit www.Allstate.com:  How to Keep Fire Hydrants Clear, and www.NFPA.org: Removing snow from around hydrants, a crucial part of winter fire safety. 

Lastly, I don’t know how you feel about shoveling snow, but I would much rather be doing that than dealing with the poor air quality that comes with inversions. Please check local sources for air quality warnings and information. Take appropriate measures to protect your respiratory system when outdoors on days when pollution levels are high, especially if you have a medical condition that could be worsened by such exposure. If possible, avoid burning wood or coal on days when pollution levels are high and please get your fireplace chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned. The residue that builds up in chimneys and flues can promote chimney fires, causing a threat to life and which also can lead to a lot of damage and hence, costly repairs.

The Environmental Protections Agency’s website is very dependable. Go to www.AirNow.gov, enter your zip code and state for specific information relative to Cottonwood Heights.

Thank you and stay safe!