Safety Reminders from the Greencastle Fire Department

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Power Lines

Power outages that occur during storms are often associated with a downed powerline.

Residents should be aware that downed powerlines may still be energized. Residents should stay up to 35 feet away from downed powerlines until the Local Distribution Company (your Electric Utility) has disconnected power or completed powerline repairs.

How to avoid risk: Stay away! The ground around downed powerlines (up to 35 feet) may be energized. Don't clear storm debris until power is disconnected, or powerlines repaired.

In the event of a powerline emergency call 911.

Eleven percent of powerline fatalities from 1998 to 2006 involved motor vehicles. Stay in your vehicle until help arrives. If there is an immediate fire danger jump out of the vehicle landing with your feet together, don't touch the ground or the vehicle at the same time. Shuffle away keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times.


More and more residents are purchasing portable emergency generators to use in the event of a power outage.

Portable generators to provide an alternative energy source until conventional electrical power is restored. These units should not be directly connected into a home wiring system without considering safety precautions.

Careful purchase decisions, proper installation and diligent inspection are essential to make the portable generator safe for owners, their homes, and Utility workers. Research your purchase carefully, ensure all components of your generator have been approved by a recognized certification agency, ensure that your generator includes a transfer device and proper connection cords, and contact a licensed electrical contractor if you are unsure of your homes electrical or generator installation requirements.

Electrical Safety Code requires generators be connected to wiring systems through an approved transfer device. This device prevents utility power from entering your home when a generator is in use; and prevents generator power from flowing back onto the utility system.

Only use products approved by a recognized certification agency.

Alternate Heating Safety Tips

With winter weather temperatures staying below freezing, The Greencastle Fire Department is urging local residents to use common sense and to pay close attention to their home heating methods to prevent themselves from becoming a potential victim of fire.

Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires. This is a public safety announcement reminding residents to be cautious these winter months. Some residents were using ovens to heat their homes, a dangerous practice that can lead to fires.

All types of common space heating equipment are involved in home fires, including portable electric heaters, portable kerosene heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces and gas heaters.

The leading reasons for home heating fires include the lack of regular cleaning or maintenance of wood-burning devices and chimneys, basic flaws in the construction or design of wood-burning heating equipment and misuse of liquid- or gas-fueled heating equipment.

The Greencastle Fire Department would like to remind (the public) to clean their chimneys, their stoves and have them inspected. If anyone's using space heaters, just be cautious where you place them and don't leave them on when you leave the house or when you go to bed.

Lastly, residents should always make sure their home's smoke detectors are functioning properly and working. Batteries should be replaced at least twice a year.

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