Emergency Response:Seasonal Preparedness:Autumn


Emergency Response
Dana Smith, Commissioner



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Dutchess County Emergency Response Offers Autumn Safety Tips for the Community


With autumn fast approaching, more and more people in the area will be enjoying the change of the leaves and the cooler temperature. Unfortunately, some autumn–related weather activities such as hiking and camping, turning the furnace back on, and cleaning the chimney do present their share of hazards. To help ensure everyone in the community enjoys a safe autumn, the Department of Emergency Response offers the following tips and suggests you post them where they are likely to be seen by your family members and co-workers.

Chimney maintenance is vital to your family’s safety.

  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.
  • When possible, burn seasoned woods (dryness of the wood is more important than hard wood versus soft wood).
  • Smaller, hotter fires will burn more completely and produce less smoke than larger fires.
  • Do not burn cardboard boxes or trash, as they can spark a chimney fire.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers, which help monitor flue temperatures where wood stoves are in use, then adjust burning practices as needed.


As you take in the fall’s beautiful scenery, think ahead, be prepared, and stay safe.

  • Check the weather forecast before heading outdoors for a hike. It is not safe to hike when thunderstorms or heavy snowfall is expected.
  • Carry drinking water. Don’t drink from streams, springs, or lakes without first properly treating the water.
  • Observe wildlife from a safe distance. Don’t try and get too close to wild animals.
  • Stay on the trail — if you leave it, you may get lost.
  • Be aware of tiny deer ticks that carry Lyme disease and know which symptoms to watch out for. When in a potentially infested area, apply insect repellant, wear light-colored, long sleeved-shirts, pants, and socks.
  • Do not build a fire near tree trunks, fallen trees, or over hanging branches.
  • When extinguishing a campfire, let it die down, then break up the coals or logs, spread the pieces, soak them with water, and then cover the area with dirt or sand.

Most important of all, remember to call 911 in the event of an emergency.


Watch out for family pets as you prepare for the cold, festive days of fall.

  • Many brands of antifreeze are highly toxic. Store new and used antifreeze in a sealed container.
  • Chocolate is a special treat for nearly all humans during Halloween and Thanksgiving, but it is toxic to dogs, cats, and birds.
  • Holiday meals can be hazardous to pets. Chicken and turkey bones can get stuck and pierce the digestive tract. Rich foods can cause pancreatitis or bloating.
  • Indoor pets not acclimated to winter temperatures should not be outside in cold weather for long periods. Outdoor pets can withstand fairly cold temperatures, but make sure they have proper shelter from wind and rain, and provide them with good bedding. Frostbite is a winter hazard to pets.



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