Stay Warm, Stay Safe This Winter in Sullivan County   

Monticello, NY –– In light of recent structure fires and carbon monoxide poisoning concerns, the Sullivan County Division of Public Safety asks residents, property owners and visitors to plan ahead for what will be dangerous and potentially lethal weather conditions.

“This Friday and Saturday, air temperatures will struggle to rise above 0 degrees Fahrenheit, and wind chills will be well into the negatives,” advises Public Safety Commissioner Rick Sauer. “These conditions are intense and serious. Anyone insufficiently prepared when they head outside could suffer frostbite, hypothermia or even death – and those who stay inside also could face life-threatening situations from malfunctioning heaters, burst pipes and improperly maintained fireplaces.”

Here are ten steps from the American Red Cross ( to stay safe during the cold weather:

1. Layer up! Wear layers of lightweight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent losing your body heat.
2. Don’t forget your furry friends. Bring pets indoors. If they can’t come inside, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and that they can get to unfrozen water.
3. Remember the three feet rule. If you are using a space heater, place it on a level, hard surface and keep anything flammable at least three feet away – things such as paper, clothing, bedding, curtains or rugs.
4. Requires supervision – Turn off space heaters and make sure fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
5. Don’t catch fire! If you are using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
6. Protect your pipes. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage.
7. Better safe than sorry. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night. Your heating bill may be a little higher, but you could avoid a more costly repair job if your pipes freeze and burst.
8. The kitchen is for cooking. Never use a stove or oven to heat your home.
9. Use generators outside. Never operate a generator inside the home, including in the basement or garage.
10. Knowledge is power. Don’t hook a generator up to the home’s wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator.

The Sullivan County Bureau of Fire, part of the Division of Public Safety, also urges people to check their smoke/carbon monoxide alarms and replace batteries which are more than six months old.

“Malfunctioning heating systems can feed lethal levels of carbon monoxide into a home or business within minutes,” warns Fire Coordinator John Hauschild. “CO is odorless, painless and undetectable to the human eye. It is a silent killer, depriving victims of oxygen, and unless they have an alarm or other warning, they can fall unconscious and die.”

For those struggling with heat-related issues, the County offers various forms of assistance, including home heating aid and warming centers.

“Keep in mind that Sullivan County has two warming centers open now through Monday, January 8 in Monticello (Ted Stroebele Recreation Center) and Liberty (United Methodist Church),” Sauer states. “If you’re dealing with emergencies like a lack of heat or water, don’t attempt a homemade, unsafe solution. Call the professionals, and come to our warming centers while they make repairs. Be smart, stay safe!”

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