The West Caldwell Fire Department is advising area residents to stay home and not try to travel should Hurricane Sandy strike Northern New Jersey next week as forecasted.
"We hope all residents will stay home and try not to travel during this very severe storm," West Caldwell Fire Chief James Alvine stated in a release.
The fire department provided the following tips for staying safe during the storm.
1. Try not to use candles if you loose power, as they are a fire hazard. The best item you can use are the battery powered candle lights.
2. If you have a generator, make sure it is a safe distance from the house or any open doors or windows. When the generator is running it creates Carbon Monoxide gases which can collect in your house and be a serious health risk. Also use the properly rated power cords with your generator and never fill the generator with gasoline inside a building or near a gas fired appliance.
3. It is not a good idea to use your fireplace if you have not had it checked for leaks prior to the season. Many people haven't used their fireplaces in years and decide to use them for heat when the power is out. This can be very dangerous and also cause a fire as combustion gases can leak into the wood structure from a hole in the firebox or chimney.
4. If your basement gets flooded past the gas burners or pilot light on your hot water heater or furnace, your pilot light may be extinguished by the flooding waters. When these waters recede you will have natural gas leaking into your home from the appliances. There should be a shut off valve on the incoming gas line to the appliance which you can shut off to prevent this or call your local fire department if you smell gas.
5. If you have oil heat and your basement gets flooded, the flooding water will affect the material the firebox is constructed of. Do not use the burner and heating system unless you have a qualified technician examine it after the water subsides.
6. If you are outside and observe a downed wire or burning wire on the ground and it stops burning, NEVER approach it as it may spark up again. Call the police and fire departments for this incident and stay inside. Public Service will be contacted.
7. NEVER run through or over a downed wire in the street as it may be live and can result in serious injury.
"We try to keep our residents safe," Alvine stated. "However, if there are any problems with gas, electric or fire, do not hesitate to call your local fire department as we are experienced in dealing with these problems."