Firefighters have responded to dozens of carbon monoxide-related calls from residents who are trying to stay warm and powered up through the fourth day without power in Teaneck.
Running generators indoors can be fatal and has already been linked to the deaths of two sisters in Newark. Using candles and open flames for lighting can also be deadly. A kerosene lamp was cited in a house fire that killed two people in Teaneck during last year's winter storm.
Township Fire Chief Anthony Verley issued the following safety tips for residents struggling to get through the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy:
- Downed wires are still dangerous! Wires that have been dead for three days can suddenly come alive with thousands of volts with no warning.
- Do not use candles or open flame lamps as replacement lighting. In past storms fires from these devices have killed and injured Teaneck residents and destroyed homes.
- As batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors run low, fire danger is increased. Purchase spare batteries now, and replace as needed and when power returns.
- Generators – people using portable generators should remember the exhaust is a poison gas. Never use a generator indoors, outdoors direct the exhaust away from doors and windows of surrounding homes. TFD has gone on dozens of calls where carbon monoxide from generators, candles and stoves operating 24/7 have filled homes with carbon monoxide.
- Heat – Do not use kerosene heaters. Residents using fireplaces or wood stoves should only burn fuels that are designed for those devices, such as firewood. Do not burn cardboard or paper as the increased heat may cause a fire in the wall. Dispose of ashes in closed metal containers outdoors and away from buildings.
- Gas – If you smell gas, get out and call the fire department.
- Phone – If your phone fails use fire alarm boxes to report any emergencies.
- Stoves – Residents are reminded that use of stoves for an extended period is not recommended.
- We understand residents are weary due to this emergency, but do not let your defenses down! Call your Fire Department promptly if you need help.