Mass. Residents Urged to Take Caution During Bitter Blast of Cold | NECN

Mass. Residents Urged to Take Caution During Bitter Blast of Cold



    Worcester fire officials remind people of precautions to take inside and outside in cold weather (Published Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014)

    (NECN: Mike Cronin) - Freezing temperatures made it difficult for Andrew Burrington to work Thursday.

    "It's hard to work, hard to dig," he said. "Trying to stay warm, doing the best you can."

    A construction worker, Burrington was doing work for National Grid on Grove Street in Worcester, Mass. In normal weather, he says this project would take about a week. Because of the cold, it takes a few weeks.

    "It takes forever for the trucks and machines to warm up and start working properly in the morning," he said. "You can gel up the diesel fuel. They won't run at all if that's the case."

    While the cold is tough on equipment outside, inside the fire department's risk and reduction division, it's warm, thanks to space heaters.

    "They need a three-foot radius around them of nothing flammable," said inspector Jeffrey Spring.

    From 2008 to 2012, the state fire marshal's office says space heater fires caused three deaths and more than 20 injuries.

    When using space heaters, Spring says to avoid using extension cords.

    "You don't want to use an extension cord unless it's a heavy duty extension cord, because those can become overloaded," he said.

    With frequent use during cold weather, Spring says heating systems like fireplaces and pellet stoves need to be clean and safe.

    "You want to make sure that all of these things are checked on a yearly basis and make sure that they're cleaned out properly so that you don't get the carbon feedback from these devices," he said.

    Spring says smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are necessary, and when it comes to machines like snowblowers and generators, start and run them outside.

    "If you have a generator, you want to make sure your generator is at least 10 feet away from the house," he said.

    As for Burrington, he's just trying to stay warm anyway he can.

    "I got wool socks on, gloves, three layers of clothes, some handwarmers in the truck if I need them," he said. "Can't wait for summer."