Fire crews ask neighbors to shovel snow for safety's sake

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Now that almost 60-inches of snow has fallen in Eau Claire this season alone, the fire department wants you to take some steps to keep your home safe.

Wednesday morning, Eau Claire Fire and Rescue tweeted, “With the recent heavy snow fall, the Eau Claire Fire Department is asking residents to please clear off their decks and safety egress platforms.”

Fire crews are asking neighbors to beyond shoveling their front door and clear all of the exits, so that if there is a fire, neighbors can get out and firefighters can get in.

Larry Falkner was out shoveling his father’s sidewalk. It’s just one of three places he takes care of, shoveling and salting so that no one slips.

“Oh it’s been so much. I don't think there’s going to be an end to it this year,” said Falkner. “The post office says they won't deliver mail to my father's place i have to move the snow bank and clean up the side walk.”

But it's not just the mail deliverers that need a clear path to do their job.

“You have to think of the firefighters that got to come in and fight the fire. We may not necessarily come through the front door. We may go through that back exit in order to attack and put the fire out,” said Michael Laska, fire inspector with Eau Claire Fire and Rescue.

Laska said to take a few extra minutes to clear out the snow from areas you may not think of: decks, emergency escape platforms, alternate exits and businesses, homes and apartment buildings.

“Just make sure all those doors works for you and even your bedrooms windows for that matter, just to make sure that you know that if your little one can't make it out, you can't get themout, they can get to that window,” said Laska.

And don't forget to keep a three foot clearance around the fire hydrant, because every minute could mean the difference between life or death.

“Every second counts in an emergency to get that water and also for that occupant to make that escape out of that home,” said Laska.

Laska said winter is also the busiest time for fires. He said during this season, people are inside their homes, trying to keep warm and often use alternative heat sources like propane, kerosene and electric space heaters.

It’s important to make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.

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