Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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April 26, 2005

Safety Tips from the Local Emergency Planning Committee:

Fire Safety Tips for Rural Residents

Dry conditions and a number of grass and brush fires in recent weeks bring to mind wildfire safety. Wildfires spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. The Oswego County Local Emergency Planning Committee urges residents to follow these safety tips from the U.S. Fire Administration.

During times of dry weather, limit your use of fires outside, and watch any burning carefully. Even a discarded cigarette can cause a brush fire in dry conditions. Reduce your risk by preparing now before wildfire strikes. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area.

Follow these rural fire safety life-saving tips:

  • Refrain from backyard trash burning. Burn barrels release harmful chemicals and can cause accidental fires. New York State regulations prohibit the open burning of garbage or household rubbish in any city or village, and in any town with a population more than 20,000.
  • Let your landscape defend your property. Create defensible space by thinning trees and brush within 30 feet around your home.
  • Landscape your property with fire-resistant plants and vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly.
  • Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.
  • Remove all leaves and rubbish from under structures.
  • Use fire-resistant and protective roofing and materials like stone, brick and metal to protect your home.
  • Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns, and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
  • Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
  • Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
  • Mow grass regularly.
  • Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your home and other structures.
  • Store flammable materials, liquids and solvents in metal containers outside the home, at least 30 feet away from structures and wooden fences.
  • Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish at an approved site. Follow local burning regulations.
  • Store gasoline, oily rags, and other flammable materials in approved safety cans. Place cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings.
  • Burning yard waste is a fire hazard. Check with your local fire department on a non-emergency number for fire permit requirements and restricted burning times.
  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned regularly by a certified specialist.
  • Provide emergency vehicle access with properly constructed driveways and roadways, at least 12 feet wide with adequate turnaround space.
  • Post home address signs that are clearly visible from the road.
  • Develop and practice fire escape and evacuation plans with your family.
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Test smoke alarm batteries every month and change them at least once a year.

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