Winter Safety from GRFD

Posted on: January 23, 2014 | Posted in: News

Winter presents a different set of challenges for the Grand Rapids Fire Department.  The cold weather affects almost everything from your car, to your house, to how GRFD is able to respond to your emergencies.  Living in Eastown, most of you reside in beautiful old homes on narrow side streets. So, from the GRFD perspective, please keep these things in mind:

Space heaters require precautions – First, keep the space around them clear. They can get hot enough to ignite couches, clothes, carpet etc. They use a lot electricity and can cause old wiring in older homes to overheat. Be aware of the age of the wiring in your home, the capabilities of your electrical box, etc.  and NEVER run them through a cheap extension cord.

Maintain your fireplaces – Get them inspected and cleaned regularly. Everybody enjoys a roaring fire in the fireplace on a cold evening, but if your fireplace is not properly maintained, heat and embers can spread into the walls surrounding the fireplace leading to a much larger, much less enjoyable fire.

Shovel out fire hydrants –  Perhaps you heard a recent report on WOODTV 8 about radio traffic at a large house fire on the northwest side (coincidentally caused by a space heater).  Over the radio, one firefighter was telling another to search a pile of snow because that is where the map indicated a hydrant was located.  Think of it this way; GRFD can spend the first 5 minutes on scene at your house fire extinguishing the fire or we can spend it searching for a hydrant.

Observe odd-even parking – We understand that parking is at a premium but during the winter as the snow piles narrow the streets and cars are pushed out away from the curb, contemplate the challenges of getting one of our very large pieces of fire apparatus down your street. If we are forced to park several houses away for YOUR emergency, imagine how is that going to impact our ability to rapidly take care of it.

Shovel your sidewalks – Not for GRFD safety, but for your safety and that of your neighbors.

As we theoretically approach spring, (who can be sure at this point) pay attention to the ice build-up on your roofs.  It can pose quite a threat to you and the wires going from the pole to your house.

Winters seem to last a lot longer than summers.  Be safe. Taking care of these things help you, help your neighbors, help Eastown.

Lt. Sean Murray, GRFD