Fire safety tips in wake of Stamford tragedy

December 28, 2011 2:21:32 PM PST
The tragedy in Stamford is a wake-up call for all us and brings home the importance of working smoke alarms and fire safety.

Two minutes. That's how long it took for hot embers tossed into a plastic household garbage can to catch fire.

It's the same kind of plastic pail used by many homeowners to discard their fireplace ashes which is a bad idea.

"A good option is a metal bucket like this. You are going to put your ashes in, put a little bit of water in it and keep it ten feet from the house. You don't to put it on your deck, your porch or in your garage," said Chief Neil Caputo, West County Fire Services.

Another important safety tip is to have an escape plan that includes two exits, and then, practice the plan.

Investigators in Stamford said two of the victims lost their way as they tried to exit the burning home.

"If you come in and out of the back kitchen door of your house, when trouble strikes, you'll walk right past the front door to get to the back door," said Dep. Chief F.J. Spinelli, Hartsdale Fire Department.

Once outside, head to a pre-established meeting place for everyone to gather.

And once you're out, stay out. Do not go back inside for any reason.

"Unfortunately many members of the public don't know how to stay out, because they begin to think about their personal belongings all of which can be replaced," Spinelli said.

Lastly, investigators said hard-wired smoke alarms in the renovated Stamford home had not been hooked up, and it's unclear if battery operated detectors were in place.

It's absolutely essential to remember that smoke detectors save lives.

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