As Upstate temperatures turn colder we are all busy gathering wood, coal and other fuels to give us warmth inside our homes. This season is the optimal time to have your chimney and fire systems checked.
The National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 says, "Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances. Cleaning, maintenance, and repairs shall be done if necessary."
There are a number of local trained professionals in Ithaca and the surrounding areas to help you with yearly chimney maintenance needs.
In addition to regular maintenance, it is important to be aware of signs of an impending chimney fire. Some of the most prominent signs include:
Conditions that encourage chimney fires:
The first step to fire prevention is to install smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Larger homes may need additional smoke alarms to provide enough protection.
For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms so when one sounds they all sound.
An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms (also known as dual sensor alarms) are recommended.
Smoke alarms should be installed away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should be at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards.
For the best protection, interconnect all carbon monoxide alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
Choose a carbon monoxide alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
Test the carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
If the alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel arrives.
If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if the garage door(s) are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
Gas or charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide – only use outside.
If you are in need of a smoke or carbon monoxide alarm –Tompkins County Healthy Neighborhoods Program at 607-274-6688 or Tompkins County Health Department at 607-274-6688.
Water-related accidents are among the most common cause of death in some of our nation’s most visited parks, forests and waterways. Trumansburg is filled with rushing creeks and is situated on the coast of Cayuga Lake. Many drowning victims were not trying to swim but were simply engaging in activities as innocent as wading, taking photos or playing along the stream bank. Those victims attempting to swim in swift waters overestimated their swimming ability and underestimated river currents. None of these drowning victims suspected that tragedy was about to overwhelm them.
Be cautious anytime you or your family are near rivers and streams. Consider these precautions as spring snow melts and rivers and streams rise. Also be cautious when waters appear warm or slow moving, but actually have strong and sometimes dangerous currents below the surface.
Anytime you're recreating in and around water -- especially with children, be aware of your surroundings.
Slippery rocks, an unstable shoreline or even a distraction that takes your focus away from the water, can cause an accident -- quickly and quietly.
If you fall in, use the defensive position: on your back, feet pointing downstream and on the surface (can you see your toes?). Never go in the water after someone in trouble. Rescue from shore and get help.
Without proper planning and packing, even a short day hike could turn into a potentially dangerous outing. So, before you brush off weekday stress and lace up your hiking boots, remember these gorge & hiking safety tips.
Spring – In the spring, trails can be slippery from melting snow, ice and heavy rainfall. This causes the creek levels to rise and become rapid. Some trails are not open in the spring, never hike on a closed trail.
Summer – Unpredictable weather in the summer causes rapid changes to trail and creek conditions. These changes can cause rapid water and pull a person under, quickly bringing an emergency situation. Stay on the trails and only swim in permitted areas. Pay close attention to swift water guidelines!
Fall – Trumansburg Hiking Trail season ends in the fall as leaves begin to fall and rainstorms begin to increase. This change in weather causes our trails to become very slippery and creeks to become turbulent, cold and unsafe. Never hike on a closed trail.
Winter – In the winter, Trumansburg trails are closed for the season. Trails in this area are not maintained in the winter and are covered in snow and ice, making the trails extremely dangerous to travel. On open trails, assess the condition before hiking.
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