April 22, 2014 at 6:16 AM
MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Fire Department is continuing to offer free fire safety surveys of residents’ homes — and their findings point to a wide variety of potential hazards.
“Based on 50 surveys conducted to date, it is clear that more township residents need to take advantage of our safety inspection service,” said Captain Thomas Pizzano II, the Department’s fire marshal. “All it takes is one overlooked danger to result in tragedy.”
The most common “red flags” encountered by survey personnel included storage items placed too close to heaters and furnaces, improperly installed electrical wiring, families not having a home escape plan, and clothes dryer vents and chimneys not being cleaned annually.
“At one home we surveyed, the dryer vent was 90 percent clogged at the exterior of the home,” Captain Pizzano said. “In other instances, we encountered houses with no smoke detectors, and we found that nine out of ten residents surveyed didn't know how to operate a fire extinguisher without first reading the label.”
“This is a fitting time for the Department to remind residents that our home fire safety survey is available at no cost,” said Millburn Fire Chief J. Michael Roberts. “In many cases, disaster prevention is a matter of common sense — ensuring that smoke alarms have working batteries, storing fireplace ashes in a metal container away from the house, and keeping matches out of reach of children. However, there are numerous hidden dangers as well. We are at the ready to help homeowners identify them.”
The idea to begin offering the safety surveys came after the Stanford, Connecticut fire of Christmas Day 2010, which tragically claimed the lives of three young girls and their grandparents. Millburn-Short Hills residents interested in scheduling a comprehensive fire safety survey can contact the Department, at (973) 564-7043.