OKCFD Shares Important Safety Tips For Oklahomans As Winter Storm Arrives

Sunday, February 14th 2021, 4:41 am
By: Jordan Dafnis

Oklahoma City -

With the storm coming in causing frigidly cold conditions the Oklahoma City Fire Department has some important warnings for Oklahomans.

Fire officials are asking people to stay home if they can, so that means more people will be using their fireplaces and heaters. First and foremost, they want you to make sure those smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in place and working.

David Shearer is the Shift Commander For Red Shift at the Oklahoma City Fire Department. He says, “Just about anything that burns inefficiently can create carbon monoxide, and keep in mind that carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas so you really can’t detect it on your own, only a CO detector will be able to tell you that it’s present.”

Another major issue can be space heaters. Make sure those are at least three feet away from anything that can burn like furniture, bedding, and curtains.

If the power does go out and you need to use portable generators outside, make sure they are away from the home, that way fumes and deadly carbon monoxide don’t make it into the home.

Some other warnings from the department include, 

  1. Keep all combustible materials away from floor furnaces.
  2. Remove any combustibles from central heater closets.
  3. Use a metal grate to hold logs inside fireplaces. Use an approved metal or glass screen in front of fireplaces to prevent embers from flying out of the firebox and into the home.
  4. Ensure the fire in the fireplace is completely extinguished before going to bed.
  5. Have fireplaces inspected and/or cleaned annually by a qualified chimney sweep specialist.
  6. Do not place hot fireplace ashes into dumpsters. Place ashes into a sealed metal container and store well away from the home for several days before final disposal.
  7. Remember to open the damper before lighting the fireplace.
  8. Never use your oven to heat your home.
  9. Use portable generators outside and well away from the home. Position so that fumes and deadly carbon monoxide will not enter the home.

If you do need to leave your house road conditions will be another concern.

The Oklahoma City fire department says on winter weather days some of the accidents they see can be avoided if people lower their speed.

“If you have to be out and about make sure you are taking it slow and easy. Leave a lot of extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you if they were to hit something and suddenly stop and you were not able to stop in time that, is usually when we end up having pile-ups like we did last week on the interstate," says Shearer.

The department says you want to drive slower than normal. It can be easy to get comfortable and relax and then pick up that speed, but you don’t want to do that. You want to stay alert because you don’t know what you may come up on or what other drivers may be dealing with.

The Oklahoma City fire department says they are fully staffed and ready for whatever may come with this weather system. They have a plan in place in case there is an extremely high call volume and if snow gathers around the fire stations, they have a team that can remove it.

The department warns that if you do go out you should also make sure you have some essentials in case of an emergency situation.

“Just be smart and if you go out in your vehicle if you have to get out and get around just be prepared. Make sure you have an extra coat or some blankets in your vehicle make sure you have water," says Shearer.