The recent fire on Lakeview Avenue was most likely the result of a malfunctioning dehumidifier that was subject to a recall. Fortunately no one was hurt, however, the homeowner has had to relocate while cleanup crews scrub the sooty, black smoke that migrated throughout her home.
The same night, a home in Ridgefield suffered an almost identical fire with a dehumidifier. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission actually first issued the Gree Dehumidifier recall back in 2013 and subsequently updated it in 2016. The recall covers many popular brands manufactured by Gree such as Kenmore, De’Longhi, Fedders, Frigidaire, GE, Gree, Seabreeze and, several others.
To find out if your unit is covered under the recall, please see this page.
“There is no greater tragedy than one that could have been prevented.” I cannot take credit for this statement—however, I could not agree more and the tragedy of home fires and the devastation they inflict is a perfect example. And when prevention is as easy as installing and maintaining smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, it becomes more important.
This year daylight savings time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 4. (Remember “Spring ahead – Fall back.”)
In concert with the nationwide campaign “Change Your Clocks – Change Your Batteries,” the New Canaan Fire Department and the New Canaan Fire Marshal’s Office also want to remind everyone to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. By being proactive this also helps avoid that annoying “chirp” that inevitably starts at 2 in the morning.
By now most are aware that Eversource is bringing natural gas to New Canaan, so I thought it was a good time to provide some basic information about “gas.” The following are some basic facts about natural gas:
Natural gas is a lighter than air gas, when released into the atmosphere it rises and dissipates. Propane is a heavier than air gas so it sinks when released. Both natural gas and propane have an odorant (ethyl mercaptan) added because in their natural states they are odorless, colorless and tasteless. That is the “rotten egg” odor we know as “gas.”
As with propane, natural gas may be used to feed multiple household appliances—for example, water heaters, stoves, pool heaters, fireplace logs, grills, furnaces, boilers and generators.
Most propane equipment can be converted to use natural gas by licensed technicians.
Each year, more than 2,500 people die in fires, most of them in residential occupancies. National Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 7 to 13 this year and the theme is “Every Second Counts – Plan Two Ways Out!” and the fire service throughout the country will be working to emphasize fire safety awareness as will the New Canaan Fire Department. Firefighters will be visiting schools throughout town giving demonstrations on how to stay fire safe. Also, school groups will be touring the fire house to learn about how the fire fighters live, train and work.
Following is a list of general fire safety tips to help stay safe at home:
First and foremost, have smoke detectors installed on each level of the home and inside of each sleeping room and make sure they have fresh batteries at least once per year.
Very soon many young people will be heading off to college – some for the first time. It is a time of big change for first-time collegians beginning the next stage in their lives. Fire safety is probably the last thing that families are thinking about as they head off to college.
However, fire safety is very important – even more so – in dorms or apartment buildings with hundreds of young students. Even more critical is “off-campus” housing that may not be covered by campus housing rules as we were so vividly reminded by the tragic fire at Marist College in Poughkeepsie a few years ago. The New Canaan Fire Marshal’s Office would like to offer important fire safety tips to help keep these students safe for this new adventure:
Insure that each sleeping room is equipped with operable smoke detectors.
Candles are a leading cause of campus fires – never burn candles or other open flame devices in dorm rooms or common areas.
Never use extension cords in place of proper, permanent wiring.
If given the choice, opt for a dorm/living quarters equipped with automatic fire sprinkler systems.
Know all ways out of your room/dorm and, where each exit discharges. Take a few minutes to walk the routes to familiarize yourself.
In High-rise buildings, always have a means of re-entering your apartment if the hall becomes untenable (have room keys ready to go).
Always follow all directions and guidelines of the school and participate if fire drills as directed.
Learn your address so if you have to call 911 on your cell phone you can give the proper location.
Learn the location of fire alarm pull stations and the sound of the alarm system.
Never cook in your room – cooking related is another common cause of dorm fires.
The New Canaan Fire Marshal’s Office wishes all young adults heading off to new frontiers a happy and Fire Safe future. If you have further questions regarding fire safety please call us at 594-3030.