PELHAM, N.Y. After the horrific house fire in Stamford, CT that claimed the lives of five people, fire safety has now become a top priority for homeowners and their families. Lt. Robert Benkwitt of the Pelham Fire Department spoke with The Daily Pelham and offered tips on how to prevent fires and what to do if they do occur.
First and foremost is definitely to make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are operational and that the batteries are fresh batteries, said Benkwitt.
He continued by stating that the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors need to be replaced every 10 and 5 years respectively. The manufacturing date can be found on the back of them, he stated.
The local lieutenant said that you must have a fire escape plan and practice it. He said that the Pelham Fire Department stresses that important step when visiting kids in the towns schools.
Many people will be looking to turn on the heat as the temperatures decrease and Lt. Benkwitt stated that you want to make sure your heating units have been serviced by a licensed contractor.
For those people who use the fireplace, he stressed having it cleaned and inspected annually by a licensed contractor as well."
He also pointed out that you must be careful with where you put the ash from the fireplace. If you are going to remove the ash from the fireplace, you wanna have a metal container with a lid and you want to remove that from the property and keep it away from combustibles, stated the lieutenant. You dont want to put it in a plastic container.
He pointed out the tragic flaw in the Stamford tragedy.
What theyre pointing to right now, is that it was put into a plastic container, which obviously is flammable, and it was put in a room made of combustible materials, said Lt. Benkwitt.
People should make sure their addresses are visible from the street, they have a meeting place outside of the house, and to call the Pelham Fire Department at 914-738-2601 if they have any questions.
Residents can also call the fire department to have them come and check out their house to make sure everything is in order to best prevent a fire.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.