With frigid temperatures kicking in, you'll certainly be looking for ways to stay warm this weekend. The important thing is to make sure you do this in a safe fashion. There has been a decent amount of local house fires in the past few weeks and we don't want to see more.

The Great Barrington Fire Department recently posted on their Facebook page tips and suggestions to stay warm during the deep freeze and how to do it safely. Here's the statement from their Facebook page:

Space Heaters and Extension Cords

You may want to turn on a space heater - we know the dangers of that, but here is a quick run down. Like many things in life it is location, location, location. Keep it at least 3 feet away from objects that are combustible, do not let it be in a place where something can fall on it, such as clothes falling off of a bed, and have it close enough to a wall that you can plug it directly into an outlet - extension cords are a bad idea. Some people are afraid of tripping on the cord, or simply do not like how it looks, so they put a rug over the cord. What can go wrong, right? Covering up the cords can lead to a multitude of problems from overheating, to getting damaged, and ultimately starting a fire. Never leave a portable / space heater unattended, and always turn it off before going to bed.

Fireplace and Chimney

The fireplace will be both romantic and useful over the next couple of days. You will most likely be burning more wood than usual - meaning more ashes. How do you dispose of these ashes? Where do you put them? The correct answer is in a metal bucket directly to the outside away from the house - a bucket of hot ashes can easily catch a house on fire - even if that bucket is sitting on the deck outside.

Is the chimney in good shape? Was it cleaned and inspected this year?

Frozen Pipes and Thawing

You probably know all of the hacks to prevent frozen pipes such as leaving the water on at a trickle, opening up the cabinet doors, making sure that pipe insulation is intact and gaps in the foundation are filled and so on. If you do have a pipe freeze, please call a professional plumber to thaw it. Under no circumstances should you take a torch to your pipe. There are safer ways to thaw the pipe, and the professionals have the proper tools - the cost of a plumber will most likely be less than the deductible on your homeowners insurance when the house catches fire.

Smoke and CO Detectors

Please make sure that you have working Smoke and CO detectors. Do not use the stove to heat your house, and if you are going to warm up the car, make sure that it is outside and not in the garage. Stay warm and Call us if you need us, we'll be here for you!

The Great Barrington Fire Department's phone number: (413) 528-0788

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