When strong winds are predicted for our area, the Los Angeles Fire Department reminds Southern Californians to use caution at home, in the workplace and on the road. Strong winds compound wildfire danger. We therefore ask residents - especially those in foothill and wildland communities - to use caution with flame, heat and spark producing equipment, including vehicles, barbecues and power tools.
Those living near flammable vegetation should remain vigilant to the possibility of brush or structure fires, and report nearby smoke and flames immediately by calling 9-1-1.
Additional preparation, such as a fire safety survey of your property and a review of household emergency and neighborhood evacuation plans can help remove the apprehension that many of us feel when winds begin to blow.
With the possibility of downed power lines causing local power outages, drivers should use extreme caution when approaching darkened traffic signals. Whether driving on a main thoroughfare or side street, motorists should treat all non-functioning traffic signals as a four-way-stop.
If you encounter downed wires, assume them to be energized and potentially lethal. Be careful that such wires haven't electrically charged puddles of water, chain link fences or other conductive sources - and report them to authorities.
In many circumstances, but especially during high winds, firefighters strongly discourage the use of candles, lighters, fire pits and fuel-powered lanterns.
If you experience a loss of electrical power, do not use devices designed for outdoor use to light, heat or cook within your home. Before you activate a portable generator, make certain you know how to use it legally and safely to avoid the deadly hazards of electrical shock and carbon monoxide poisoning.
In fact, now is a good time to fully charge your cell phone, check your flashlights, portable radios and spare batteries. Place these items strategically, and make sure others know how to find them.
And finally, please take a moment now to secure household items, such as outdoor furniture, that could cause harm or damage if catapulted by a wind gust, and to remove flammable items from around your home.
When outdoors, wear sturdy glasses to protect your eyes, and be careful for toppling trees, wind-blown debris and high profile vehicles buffeted by turbulent wind. If you must get behind the wheel, Los Angeles Firefighters remind you: "Heads Up, Easy on the Throttle and Expect the Unexpected!"
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