As Temperatures Drop…

…instances of fatal fires and carbon monoxide poisoning go up.  Don’t add to these dreadful statistics — be proactive and keep your family safe. Photo of the Baltimore City Fire Department at a fire on Ward Street in Pigtown, 2013

Baltimore City residents can call 311 or go online to request smoke detectors. The fire department will bring and install them — for free. You should have one on every floor of the house, and make a plan for what happens should one go off in the middle of the night.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly. The biggest sources of carbon monoxide in the home are the furnace, cars left running in an attached garage, boilers, and dirty/blocked chimneys. Before using your fireplace, have your chimney checked for debris or cracks! You should also have a CO detector/alarm on every floor of the house. They can be purchased online or in stores for not a lot of money — and they save lives.

If you cannot afford your energy bills this winter, please don’t wait until your BGE is turned off for nonpayment.  Go here to get more information on energy assistance in Maryland. Using a kerosene heater increases your chances of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning exponentially, and using candles for lighting your home could result in a fatal fire. Your life, and that of your family and pets, is precious — don’t wait until you have an emergency to look for help.

There’s no shame in asking for help when you’ve hit a bump in the road. Job loss, foreclosure, health issues that resulted in astronomical medical bills, unexpected expenses — these things can happen to anyone. It’s better to get the help you need now, before winter comes and your home is unsafe.

Lastly, if you have neighbors who are elderly, particularly if they’re low-income, please check on them from time to time, and make sure they’re safe.