Horseheads, N.Y. (WENY) - According to the US Fire Administration, home fires occur more in the winter than any other season.
Winter conditions can also make it harder for firefighters to get to fires. Town and Country Assistant Chief Dirk Wheeler says, "Driving conditions are worse, so our response times may be a little longer than it would be at other times of the year."
Wheeler says frigid temperatures and icy conditions can also make it slightly more dangerous for firefighters while battling fires. He says,"If our gear gets wet it gets heaver and it gets less protective. So yes, fighting fires in the winter where the gear can't dry out and it stays frozen can be more dangerous."
Icy or snowy conditions can make it easy to lose your footing. Wheeler says to combat this and the cold temperatures, fire fighters are encouraged to wear extra equipment. He says, "We recommend that our people wear strap-on cleats with their boots to help prevent slips and falls. We recommend that people keep an extra set of dry gloves on hand because once your hands get cold, the rest of you gets cold."
Wheeler has advice for homeowners to avoid fire hazards. He says, "Make sure that your heating system is inspected annually by a professional. If you have portable heaters, make sure they have an automatic shut off so if they tip over they shut off. If you have any type of heating device in the home make sure your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are installed properly and tested."
Wheeler also says to keep your pathway clear of ice and snow to avoid slips and falls.