Alarming rise in fires in New York county prompts action

Westchester County fire

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The Department of Emergency Services in the Westchester County has released a fire safety video following multiple major fires in the county.

In the wake of major fires that caused loss of life or significant property damage, Westchester County Executive George Latimer and the Department of Emergency Services are providing residents with practical tips on how to prevent fires and increase the odds of survival if one occurs.

Latimer said: “In recent months, our County has experienced several major fires, including several that resulted in loss of life. We extend our deepest condolences to those who lost loved ones. The staff at the Department of Emergency Services has prepared an important fire prevention and safety video. It provides practical, valuable information on how you can prevent fires and how to protect yourself and your family should one occur.”

In a newly released safety video, personnel in the DES Fire Services Division focused on three critical safety messages:

  • Get Out, Stay Out, Call 911 immediately. Do not re-enter a burning home or apartment once you are out safely. Fires can double in size every 30 seconds. Stay outside and let responding firefighters know if any persons or pets are still inside. Report any fire, no matter its size, immediately so help is on the way promptly.
  • Close the Door.  The simple act of closing the door to a room where a fire has broken out can save lives and significantly reduce property damage. A closed door limits the supply of oxygen to a fire and prevents the rapid spread of deadly smoke and flames. If you must flee from a fire, close the door as you leave. In apartment buildings or office settings, this includes closing the door from a hallway to a stairwell.
  • Handle Lithium-Ion Batteries Properly. Lithium-Ion batteries that power cellphones, laptops and other devices are an increasing source of fire in Westchester and elsewhere. When these batteries are not charged, stored or handled properly, they can overheat and cause a fire. Do not leave lithium ion-powered devices on fabric surfaces such as pillows, beds or couches.
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