Madison County Fire Department: Ice storm fire safety


Due to the potential threat of icing conditions across our region, the Madison County Fire Department would like to provide these basic and simple safety tips that could potentially save a life. A heavy build-up of ice can take a toll on trees and power lines thus causing widespread power outages. Prolonged power outages often increase the risk of residential fires and present several other unique challenges.

Power Lines, if you must venture outside during an ice storm, be alert to the possibility of electrical hazards:

Stay away from downed power lines and be alert to the possibility that tree limbs or debris may hide an electrical hazard.

Treat all downed or hanging power lines as if they are energized. Warn others to stay away and contact the electric utility.

A power line does not need to be sparking or arcing to indicate it is energized, even if it's sagging close to or on the ground.

Other utility lines can also become energized by being in contact with an electrical line.

Lines that appear to be "dead" can become energized as crews work to restore power, or sometimes from improper use of emergency generators.

Loss of Electrical Power, in the event of a power failure these simple tips may help to reduce health and fire related hazards.

Make sure your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in working order.

When electric power is out, many people turn to candles for light, which is dangerous. Candles are meant for effect and smell, not for lighting. They should never be left unattended, placed in areas where children or pets could knock them over, and or placed near combustible materials such as curtains.

Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide could accumulate or uncontrolled burning could cause a fire for fuel-fired portable heaters. Always ensure that fuel burning space heaters are a minimum of 3 feet away from any combustible materials.

• Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Some heaters have very hot surfaces. Children should not be permitted to either adjust the controls or move the heater.

• Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an unvented fuel-burning space heater. This helps to prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Even vented heaters require ventilation for proper combustion.


• Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep or leave the area. For fuel-fired heaters, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide could accumulate or uncontrolled burning could cause a fire.

Never use your stove or oven to heat your home. These devices are not designed to heat the room or home. Misuse of these devices could potentially cause injury through fire or carbon monoxide production.

If you have a fireplace, before using it thoroughly inspect the chimney, flue and damper system. Be sure that there are no obstructions or debris or animal nests in the chimney. These may cause a blockage, allowing smoke to enter the home or cause a fire in the chimney that might damage the home.

Never use a charcoal grill to cook or heat with inside the home. Charcoal grills give off deadly carbon monoxide gas. Grills should be used only outdoors.

Running generators within any enclosed or partially enclosed structure can lead to a dangerous – and often fatal – accumulation of carbon monoxide. Remember, always keep the generator outside in a dry, protected area, away from windows or air intakes where deadly exhaust fumes can enter living spaces.


The Madison County Fire Department stands ready to respond to any emergency issue. We are taking the necessary precautions to ensure the community and our members remain safe during this potential severe weather related event. We will be happy to provide additional information at your request.

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