GUEST VIEW: Winter’s wrath requires safety steps

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:34 am on Monday, February 03, 2014

GUEST VIEW | Brian Blomstrom

With Mother Nature’s winter tirade in full effect, the Greenville area has been impacted over the last few weeks with large amounts of snowfall, bitter cold temperatures and wind chills so extreme that just opening your front door to get your newspaper or checking your mailbox is highly unpleasant.

However, no matter how much snow is falling or how low the wind chill readings fall, the Greenville Department of Public Safety is prepared to respond to your fire calls at any moment they are requested.

Moreover, based upon previous, current, and forecasted weather conditions, there are a few things home owners and property owners can do to assist us in providing excellent fire services to everyone in the community during this time of year.

A few of these things include:

• Shovel snow away from your local fire hydrant or dry hydrant and make it accessible to responding firefighters. When public safety officers respond to your fire call, one of the first items they relay to incoming fire apparatus is the location of the closest one or two fire hydrants or water sources to the scene of the emergency. If the hydrant is buried under the snow, the officers will not know it is there or need to shovel around it, directly impacting the necessary time needed to start fire suppression operations.

• Be aware of how or where your vehicle is parked on the roadway. With the enormous amount of snowfall we have received, vehicles parked on the roadway may actually be a foot or two away from the curb or shoulder because the side of the road is covered in deep snow.  The further a vehicle is parked into the roadway lessens the distance firefighters and public safety officers have to navigate large fire apparatus.  These vehicles will  impede a response by a fire truck, increasing valuable time needed to arrive on the scene.

• Ensure portable space heaters are not placed by combustible home items or furnishings. In this intense cold, many people use portable space heaters to supplement necessary warmth in the home. However, if they are placed too close to combustible or flammable objects, the results can be damaging and deadly. Please make sure the heaters are properly positioned so personal items do not ignite inside the home.

• Make sure you have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector in your house. These two devices provide early warning for fire and hazardous conditions that may occur in your home. As always, we will respond to any call regarding fire alarms, smoke alarms, or CO alarms and investigate them appropriately, determining if there is a hazard or not.

The Greenville Department of Public Safety pledge is to provide you with the best fire services possible 24 hours a day.  Additionally, participating in the above listed safety items will contribute to keeping your property safe and positively supports us in our mission of providing these exceptional services for residents and guests of our community.

Brian Blomstrom is a sergeant with the Greenville Department of Public Safety and coordinates all fire operations and services for that agency.

The opinions expressed in the Guest View do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Daily News.

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