Chief Scott Fournier and Berkley Fire Rescue would like to provide some seasonal cleaning and safety tips for residents given the warmer weather this week and the fact that many people are following the state’s stay-at-home advisory due to the COVID-19 health crisis.
“The warm spring weather often inspires people to tackle long-awaited home improvement projects and with many of us staying home to combat the spread of COVID-19 per state guidance, this seems to increasingly be the case,” Chief Fournier said. “We want to share the following spring cleaning safety tips in order to help residents stay safe while working on those projects.”
Spring Cleaning Safety Tips
- Clean your garage, basement or other storage areas of stored newspapers or other rubbish that can fuel a fire.
- Clean lint filters every time before you use your dryer. Also check the outside exhaust vent for any lint that may be obscuring or blocking the vent.
- Keep outdoor debris or dead vegetation away from the house.
- Properly dispose of oily or greasy rags. To learn how, click here. If these items must be stored, they should be kept in labeled, sealed, metal containers.
- If you store gasoline for lawn mowers, keep it outside your home in a shed or detached garage. Keep only small quantities in tightly sealed containers. Use gasoline only as a motor fuel – never as a cleaning agent.
- Do not mix ammonia with bleach, vinegar or rubbing alcohol while cleaning. Additionally, do not mix hydrogen peroxide with vinegar. More information about dangerous combinations of cleaning chemicals can be found here.
- When cleaning with chemicals be sure to open a window or door to ventilate the room you are cleaning.
- Keep all chemicals and cleaning products out of reach from children and ensure they are properly labeled.
Outdoor Grilling Safety Tips
- Use outdoor barbecue grills with caution. Place them in a safe area away from buildings, windows, heating, ventilation and air conditioning units or places with high/dead vegetation.
- Use barbecue grills outside only – not under overhangs or balconies, and away from combustibles.
- Check your propane barbecue grill hose for leaks and cracks; never store propane indoors.
- Never use gasoline to start a fire, and don’t add charcoal lighter fluid once the fire has started.
Open Burning Regulations
- Open burning season runs from Jan. 15 to May 1.
- Please ensure you have a permit for open burning and check with the fire department each day you want to burn. To obtain a burning permit, please call the department at 508-822-7516.
- Fires must be kept 75 feet away from buildings and not cause a smoke nuisance to neighbors.
- Fires must be attended at all times and a hose must be readily available.
- Outdoor burning is only permitted for brush, cane, driftwood, forestry debris, agricultural debris and — under certain conditions — fungus-infected elm wood.
- Burning grass, hay, leaves, stumps, and commercial or industrial land clearing for non-agricultural purposes is prohibited.
Check Smoke Detectors
- If you didn’t check your smoke detectors during Daylight Saving last month, now would be a good time to replace the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms at least once a month using the test button. Replace alarms immediately if they don’t respond properly when tested.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they reach 10 years old. Replace CO detectors according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home, and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- If the CO 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 in that spot until emergency personnel arrive.
- Develop and practice a home escape plan with all members of the household.
As always, if you have an emergency, call 911.