GLOUCESTER — In anticipation of below freezing temperatures expected over the next several days, Fire Chief Eric Smith and the Gloucester Fire Department would like to provide residents with several important safety tips.
The National Weather Service predicts temperatures for the Gloucester area to be in the 30s and 20s throughout the week, with temperatures reaching even lower at night. The coldest periods are forecast to be Thursday night into Friday morning.
The Gloucester Fire Department would like to advise residents to take precautions given the current winter-like temperatures.
“When temperatures drop this low, the risk of fire and injury increases,” Chief Smith said. “It is extremely important that residents remember to properly heat their homes and check to make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in the event of an emergency.”
With this type of weather, frostbite and hypothermia are possible for those without proper protection from the cold. To stay safe, the Gloucester Fire Department asks that residents follow these tips from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency:
- Minimize outdoor activities for the whole family, including pets.
- 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.
- Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors to ensure their safety.Additionally, because of the extreme cold, other areas of your home and vehicles may be affected:
Increased fire risk due to unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources or people trying to thaw frozen pipes with blowtorches or similar devices.
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the area of the water pipe that might be frozen. Likely places include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame devices. A blowtorch can make water in a frozen pipe boil and cause the pipe to explode. All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.
Possible increase in incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning from unsafe/improper use of alternative heating sources.
- Ensure you have sufficient heating fuel, as well as alternate emergency heating equipment in case you lose electricity.
- When utilizing alternate heating sources, such as an emergency generator, your fireplace, wood stove or space heater, make sure they are properly ventilated and always operate a generator outdoors and away from your home. Improper use of heating devices can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide build up in the home.
Possible vehicle failure.
- Make sure your car is properly winterized. Keep the gas tank at least half-full. Carry a winter emergency car kit including blankets, extra clothing, a flashlight with spare batteries, non-perishable foods, windshield scraper, shovel, sand, tow rope and jumper cables in the trunk.