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Easton Fire Officials Present Home Safety Tips

EASTON, Conn. – In an effort to ensure that a tragedy such as Christmas Day fire in Stamford doesn’t happen in Easton, members of the Easton Fire Department delivered a “Vital Fire Safety” lecture.

The program, which was this week at the Easton Public Library , began with Easton First Assistant Fire Chief Steve Waugh walking out in a full firefighter suit.

“The reason we are all here,” he said, “was because of the Dec. 25th fire at 4:40 a.m. that was responsible for five fatalities. Can it happen in Easton? The answer is yes, it can happen in Easton, and it has happened several times.”

Waugh said the Stamford fire was somewhat of a perfect storm: It was an instance when all the things that could go wrong in a house fire did go wrong. He said it started with incorrectly stored fireplace ashes, combined with nonoperational alarm systems, no escape plan and a delay in calling 911. The tragedy of the Stamford fire, Waugh said, was that all of those things could have been avoided.

The best way to combat a fire in the home, said Deputy Fire Marshal Lucy Crossman, is to be prepared, have a home escape plan ready and practice it with all the members of your family. She said a home escape plan must include:

  • Responsibilities designated to adults;
  • Two safe escape routes out of each room;
  • An established safe meeting place outside of the home.

Residents are also encouraged to draw their safety plans on paper. “Sit down with your whole family and talk about it,” Crossman said.

For rooms on the second floor or higher, Crossman suggested purchasing escape ladders. “This gives you one extra safe way to get out.”

Escape ladders, she warned, are not easy to use, so practice several times with the family. “You don’t want to practice for the first time on the night you need it,” Crossman said.

Waugh also reminded residents to check the batteries of all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every year, generally around the start of daylight-saving time. If you hear chirping, don’t just unplug the battery, change it.

If a resident experiences any type of emergency, including alarms going off or the smell of smoke, call 911 immediately.

“There is absolutely no reason to wait. We want to be able to assist you in any way we can. If you are having a problem, we are here to help,” Waugh said.

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