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Temperatures Expected to Drop below Freezing

November 19, 2010

Mark Peterson, Fire Chief/Emergency Services Administrator, 425-430-7000
Preeti Shridhar, Communications Director, 425-430-6569

Residents Encouraged to Stay Warm and Safe

RENTON – With temperatures expected to drop below freezing this week, fire, medical and police personnel are concerned and watching for increased problems that may occur as a result. The City of Renton is asking citizens to be proactive in planning to stay safe during this cold snap and take appropriate measures to protect themselves, those they care for, and their homes.

“During cold weather it is critically important to be safe and to be properly prepared,” said Mark Peterson, Fire Chief/Emergency Services Administrator. “Colder conditions often lead to an increase in residential fires as people turn to an alternate and/or supplemental heating source such as space heaters, woodstoves and fireplaces to stay warm.”

If using a wood stove, fireplace or space heater be extremely careful and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. The Fire & Emergency Services Department offers these safety tips for staying warm and safe during cold weather conditions:

  • Use fireplace, wood stoves or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented to the outside.
  • Use space heaters with extreme care and inspect electrical cords for any damage before using.
  • Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that can catch on fire such as drapes, furniture or bedding.
  • Never place a space heater on top of furniture or use near water.
  • Never leave children or pets unattended near heating sources such as fireplaces, wood stoves and space heaters.
  • Plug heaters directly into wall outlets; never use extension cords.
  • When using portable kerosene heaters never refill/pour kerosene into the heater while it is lit.
  • Never use propane or kerosene heaters intended for outdoor use inside your home or garage.

Other important cold weather safety tips include:

  • Wear extra clothing and use extra blankets to stay warm.
  • Dress in layers when outside, protect exposed skin with a hat, scarf and gloves.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to cold temperatures to avoid hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Check on neighbors who may need help, such as the elderly or people with special needs. Be sure they have emergency supplies.
  • Never use generators, grills, camp stoves or similar devices indoors.
  • Make sure working smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home. Test them each month and change the batteries per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Never attempt to heat your home with open flames from the burners of a natural gas stove or barbeque.  These open flames are dangerous and produce high levels of carbon monoxide gas.
  • Watch for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning such as nausea, lightheadedness and headaches, especially when more than one person in the home is experiencing these symptoms.  Exit the home immediately if you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide. Call 911 from a safe location.
  • Install a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm.
  • If you have pets bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside be sure to provide adequate shelter to keep them warm and make sure that they have access to unfrozen water.
  • Keep fuel levels full in vehicles and include a blanket and other emergency supplies in your vehicle should you become stranded.

For more information on cold weather related information visit rentonwa.gov or call 425-430-7000.