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Be Prepared for Winter Weather, Fire Department Warns

The recent 'polar vortex' is a reminder of the threat posed by freezing temperatures.

Patch Stock Photo
Patch Stock Photo
Submitted by Millburn Fire Department

As New Jersey and the surrounding regions recover from the recent cold front — which was popularly referred to in the media as a “polar vertex” and which broke low-temperature records throughout the United States — the Millburn Fire Department is reminding residents of the many prudent steps they can take to safeguard against the dangers of winter weather.

“We’ve just experienced some of the coldest weather in recent history, and it’s still only mid-January,” said Millburn Fire Chief J. Michael Roberts.  “In fact, the Department recently responded to a dozen incidents of frozen pipes that resulted in flooding.  While winter preparations are best made before the cold weather sets in, it isn't too late for residents to protect their homes and businesses from damage.”

Among the Department’s recommendations:
  • Ensure that the water to outside faucets is shut off from the inside, and that outside faucets are opened so that trapped water can escape.

  • If underground lawn sprinkler systems have not already been flushed out and deactivated, contact your sprinkler company or landscaper as soon as possible.

  • Heating systems work harder in winter.  Have heating systems checked and serviced, and have chimneys inspected to prevent carbon monoxide buildup from blockages.

  • Carbon monoxide detectors are just as important as smoke detectors — ensure that detectors are installed within ten feet of bedrooms, and that they have fresh batteries.

  • Loose or missing brick lining and the buildup of creosote within chimneys can cause chimney fires that spread within walls and burn undetected until it’s too late.  Make sure that fireplaces and chimneys are professionally checked and cleaned.

  • As temperatures rise again, so does the water table.  Keep sump pumps in working order, and keep discharge pipes free of ice and debris.

“By following these simple recommendations and being prepared, residents can ensure that freezing temperatures pose no danger to their homes, businesses, and families,” said Chief Roberts.  “If anyone needs assistance or has questions about how to prepare for winter weather, we’re here to help.”

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