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Vernon Fire Marshal Lays Out Suggestions for the Cold Weather

Vernon OEM offers a few educational handouts.

Vernon Fire Marshal Ray Walker has a knack of turning just about any call into a case study.

Such was the situation on Thursday out at Bolton Lakes, off Hatch Hill Road.

A resident had been using an electric heat gun to thaw out a frozen pipe and he ignited some wood in a wall, he said.

"It was one of those things where the person was heating with wood. The house was generally warm but the bathroom pipes were facing the outside wall three rooms away," Walker said. "In a situation like that, you can have water not moving for hours."

And that is not good when the temperature is in the single digits," he said.

"When it goes below 10, have to check periodically to make sure the water is circulating," he said. "Open the vanity doors if it's a bathroom to get some heat in there. Take away the barriers in other places."

Walker also said wood stoves can make it tempting to turn the heat off.

"Keep it circulating," he said. "Try not to use a temperature setback to save energy because the system will be struggling more to bring temperature back up. It may coast a couple of dollars more in energy costs, but it can help avoid some of the more horrific problems."

As far as space heaters go, Walker said they should not be used as a "permanent heating source."

That means never in a bathroom or a bedroom - only in main living spaces when people are present.

"Never in bedrooms," he said. "You may have a situation where blankets or clothes are dropped onto a heater or kicked onto one."

He added, space heaters are "temporary, short-term, devices."

Walker also said to be careful about "junkie" wood left over from the October 2011 snowstorm.

Attached are three winter educational handouts distributed by the Vernon Office of Emergency Management.

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