Lack of house numbers a firefighting problem

PETEER BOODY PHOTO | Holding a town proclamation designating Fire Prevention Week at the Town Board meeting on Friday were First Assistant Chief John D’Amato (left) and Second Assistant Chief Will Anderson.

Houses without a house number that is visible from the street are a continuing problem for the Shelter Island Fire Department, Chief Daniel Rasmussen said this week.

“This year we have had a number of calls where there was difficulty finding the house quickly due to the lack of a house number,” he wrote in a message noting that National Fire Prevention Week is October 9 to 15. “State and town law require that all homes and businesses be clearly identified from the road by a number.”

The Town Board on Friday officially proclaimed the same period as Fire Prevention Week in the town. Supervisor Jim Dougherty presented the proclamation to First and Second Assistant Chiefs John D’Amato and Will Anderson.

The Shelter Island Fire Department will be hosting educational, family-oriented events at the fire house, including a program for children from pre-K to eighth grade, on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 11 and 12 as part of Fire Prevention Week. The events are aimed at teaching young people about fire prevention. More information can be obtained by calling the Fire Department at 749-0184 or checking class schedules at the school, according to Chief Rasmussen.

The chief offered a list of tips that will help avoid damage and injury as a result of fire:

• Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling food and, if you leave the kitchen, turn off the stove.

• Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from heating equipment such as a furnace, fireplace, wood stove or portable space heater.

• Have a 3-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

• Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.

• Smoke outside if you smoke.

• Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.

• Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in a bedroom or other rooms where people may fall asleep.

Preventing fires in homes on Shelter Island “is always our number-one priority,” the chief said. He added that every homeowner and family should have an escape plan in case of fire and they should practice it regularly. Also, smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed.

The department also offered tips that would help in case of fire:

• Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement, as required by state law.

• Install carbon monoxide detectors outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement, as required by state law.

• Make sure everyone in the home knows how to respond if an alarm sounds.

• Meet with everyone in your home and develop a fire escape plan. Walk through the house and inspect all possible exits. People with children should consider drawing a floor plan showing two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.

• Post your house number so that it is visible from the road.