Fire Safety Tips - Winter Safety

Each year fires occurring during the winter season injure thousands of individuals and cause millions of dollars in damages. There are simple life-saving steps we can take to ensure our safety. By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a fire casualty.

Remove snow surrounding a fire hydrant

While many welcome our winter wonderland, did you know that snow could cause a great fire risk to your home? If a fire hydrant is buried in the snow, that's not a good thing if your home catches fire. An uncleared fire hydrant could cost firefighters that precious time needed to protect your home and family. Fire hydrants way also freeze causing the inability of the hydrant to flow water during a time of an emergency.

It is the property owners responsibility to keep the fire hydrants clear.

Spring Forward: Time to reset your clock

The Rochester Fire Department encourages you to not only reset your clock, but also to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

This is also a good time to review the Fire Exit Drills with your family. Make sure your children recognize the sound of your home's Smoke Alarm and teach them to respond instinctively to its signal. Create at least two different escape routes from every room and practice them with the entire family.

Holiday decorating

  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Do not block exits – keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Candle care

  • Avoid Using Lit Candles:  If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave the house with candles burning.
  • Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree:  Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame - candles, lighters or matches.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless and colorless gas which could be created whenever a fuel (such as wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, kerosene, etc.) is burning. You may be exposed to Carbon Monoxide when:

  • You leave your car, truck or van running.
  • You burn charcoal, alcohol or gasoline in an enclosed test, camper or room.
  • You smoke a cigar, cigarette or pipe
  • You home contains an incorrectly vented or malfunctioning hot water heater, furnace, space heater, fireplace or stove.

It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure these devices are in place, but the Rochester Fire Department can provide home safety advice and can install pre-purchased alarms upon request.


Fire Safety