Firefighters ask residents to prepare for deep freeze

STAMFORD - Firefighters in Stamford are preparing for the frigid temperatures and say they have several concerns about the deep freeze expected to hit the area over the next few days.

Officials say they are asking residents to check their smoke detectors because fires are more common during cold spells.

Captain Bill Avalos, of the Stamford Fire and Rescue, advises residents to keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything in the room. In addition, he encourages all residents to install a carbon monoxide detector in their home.

Avalos also says that heaters work twice as hard during these frigid conditions and need to be monitored.

"You should make sure that your stack is completely cleaned out so that there is no blockage in it. With your furnace working twice as hard, it's pushing out more products of combustion. And what can happen is if it can't get outside, it's going to come back into the house,? Avalos says.

Despite the possible risks associated with the use of space heaters, Ray Barrett, the general manager of Keough?s Paint and Hardware Store in Stamford, says he cannot stock them fast enough. Barrett advises customers to choose a heater that has safety features, such as an audible alarm or an automatic shut-off mechanism that is triggered when the heater is tipped over.

Avalos also urges homeowners to be careful when trying to thaw frozen pipes, which may spark a flame inside the walls, and he warns people against using gas ovens for heat.

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