LARCHMONT, N.Y. During the winter months, residents should keep certain fire safety tips in mind to prevent tragedies like the recent Stamford, Conn. fire that killed five people, said John Caparelli, captain of the Larchmont Fire Department.
An investigation showed improperly disposed of fireplace embers caused the fire, an issue Caparelli, of West Harrison, has run up against in his own home before. Embers and ashes from the fireplace need to be disposed of in a metal container, he said.
In addition, he said residents with fire places need to have their chimneys cleaned before use.
"Make sure the chimney is cleaned and inspected on a regular basis," said Caparelli, who has been with the Larchmont Fire Department since 1994. "Make sure the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries in them prior to operating a fire place or wood stove so that you know there's no carbon monoxide build up."
Residents should also be prepared in the event of a working fire in the home by creating an escape plan.
"Everyone should have an exit plan," Caparelli said. "They should know how to get out of the house and where they're going in a case of an emergency. I tell my kids that all the time and they know exactly what to do."
Over the years, the fire captain has noticed some homes have a keyed lock instead of a thumb latch, which make it harder to get out of the house quickly.
"That is illegal, first of all," he said. "But it is definitely not the way to go. If you have to find a key at night, in the dark, in the smoke to exit your house, that's definitely not the way to go."
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