Sometimes, they just can't quite get everything up to the 68-to-70 degree range we try to maintain as a minimum. If this is the case in your apartment:
- Ask us to install plastic over the inside of some of your windows (those that seem the draftiest); this is a service we provide at no cost to you.
- Wear a sweater or other heavy clothing when you're at home; if you're lounging around in your skivvies and complain to us that you're cold ... well, you won't get much sympathy; a heavy blanket, an electric blanket, or a warm dog or cat might help when you go to bed.
Here's what NOT to do. Do not use any source of auxiliary heat except an enclosed oil-filled electric radiator with a built-in temperature controller. Other devices, such as kerosene heaters or electric heaters with exposed coils, are extremely dangerous. And using your cooking equipment for space heating is hazardous as well.
As we advised everyone in a memo last week, a young lady who worked for the Second Mile Center died in a fire caused by her use of the stove to boost the temperature in her apartment (the furnace was working in the building).
And, here's an item that appeared in the January 30 edition of The Press of Atlantic City:
By CAITLIN DINEEN Staff Writer
A combination of more heating appliances being used and homes not being properly treated and weatherized before winter set in last year has resulted in countless fires throughout southern New Jersey, local fire officials said.
The trend is nothing new, officials said.
“This has been going on forever. Or at least since I’ve been around,” said Atlantic County Fire Marshal Harold “Whitey” Swartz, who has 54 years of fire prevention experience.
The trend seems to ring true for hundreds of southern New Jersey residents who have been displaced by fires that have happened since temperatures began to dip.
More than 330 people were displaced Wednesday from the Metropolitan Plaza apartment building on South Rhode Island Avenue in Atlantic City after an electrical fire forced an evacuation.
Residents were allowed to grab a change of clothes, valuables and medication before they were locked out of the building from Wednesday night to Friday.
Firefighters who responded to the blaze Wednesday said it started after one of the main electrical feeds to the building overheated.
While some fires are the result of electrical errors, Swartz and other fire officials said most of the fires that occur in winter are simply the result of user error.
“There are a lot more appliances generating heat,” Cologne Volunteer Fire Company Chief Dave Elkner said Thursday.
Elkner said his fire company responded to 339 calls for service pertaining to fires last year. That was the second highest number of calls for fire response by the company, he said.
However, Elkner said that while the department is responding to more calls, the areas of Egg Harbor Township they respond to have also expanded in the past several years.
“Our worst fire season starts in November,” Swartz said, adding that the improper use of space heaters, both electric and kerosene, and unchecked and dirty chimneys start fires that are preventable. “They’re safe if used properly.”
Swartz said that between January and February, firefighters have responded to calls for a variety of problems that can occur during the winter.
He said Christmas tree fires used to be common — caused by the combination of dry needles and hot tree lights — but that has declined with the advent of new lights that generate less heat and the increased used of fake trees.