The Commerce Journal

January 4, 2013

Firefighter, sheriff offer winter safety tips

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — After winter weather conditions on Christmas, and steady rainfall and continued cold weather since, Commerce Fighterfighter Gabe Wittkopf and Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks offered safety tips to keep warm during the season.

“Drive wise and slow down,” Wittkopf said. “Know the limits of your vehicle and keep your distance from other cars.”

Wittkopf said it is good to be prepared for the cold weather

“Carry a basket or box of winter items such as blankets, road flares, water, and make sure your cell phone is fully charged,” he said.

Meeks echoed Wittkopf, and added another safe driving tip for the winter season.

“Carry extra blankets, flashlights and other winter materials,” Meeks said. “They definitely need to slow down. And they don’t need alcohol to keep them insulated while driving.”

According to Wittkopf, many house fires could be prevented by taking precautionary measures.

“Make sure your smoke detector works at all times,” Wittkopf said. “Follow the instructions on your space heater. A lot of fires are caused by space heaters that are poorly maintained or put next to something flammable.”

Wittkopf added that houses that have chimneys should be kept clean, and sealing windows and doors would help keep the house or apartment well insulated.

Wittkopf offered one other safety precaution for citizens to take.

“Do not do not do not, use your oven to try and heat your house,” he said. “I walked into a house where a two year old was playing next to an open oven that was set at 500 degrees.”