Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2011. Fires can strike anywhere – in structures, buildings, automobiles, and the outdoors – but fires that affect our homes are often the most tragic and the most preventable. Over 75% percent of all fire fatalities occur in home fires.
You can protect your family by:
1.Installing smoke alarms on every level of your home,
2.Testing smoke alarms once a month,
3.Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, and
4.Making and practicing a home fire escape plan.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and more than 20,000 are injured. Many of them might be alive today if only they had the information they needed to avoid a disaster. The following life-saving tips could make a big difference to you and your family, because knowledge is the best fire protection.
- Keep an eye on your cooking and stay in the kitchen. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires.
- Wear short or close-fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can catch fire.
- Watch children closely. When old enough, teach children to cook safely.
- Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up.
- Keep curtains, towels and pot holders away from hot surfaces and store solvents and flammable cleaners away from heat sources. Never keep gasoline in the house.
- Turn pan handles inward to prevent food spills.
- Call the fire department immediately.
- Slide a properly fitting lid over the pot or pan to smother the flames of a grease or oil fire, then turn off the heat and leave the lid in place until the pan cools. Never attempt lift, move or carry a burning pan.
- Extinguish other food/cooking fires with an appropriately rated portable fire extinguisher. Never use water or flour on cooking fires. .
- Keep the oven door shut and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire.
- Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Make sure you have the right type and training.
- Install and properly maintain working smoke alarms in your home and test them monthly.
Installing working smoke alarms is an essential, but they don't save lives unless everyone knows how to get out of the home safely. Make sure everyone knows how to escape when the smoke alarm sounds, whether awake or sleeping at the time. In your plan, have two ways out of each room, a prearranged meeting place outside and, most importantly, ONCE OUT – STAY OUT!
Minimizing the amount of time it takes to get out can improve your chances of surviving a hazardous home fire. Having a fire escape plan for you and your family can reduce the amount of time it takes to get out. Practicing the fire escape plan will help everyone understand what to do and where to meet.
Follow these steps when developing a fire escape plan for you and your family:
- Practice escaping from every room in the home.
- The best plans have two ways to get out of each room. If the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out.
- Practice the escape plan with your family during the day and at night. Children, older adults, and the hearing-impaired may sleep through a fire alarm or may need assistance in escaping.
- Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street.
- For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe.
- Designate one person to go to a neighbor's home to phone the fire department.
- Practice the fire escape plan twice a year.
Help us - help you... quicker! Move to the right when you see an emergency vehicle with lights and sirens!
Many people panic or simply don’t adhere to the rules of the road for approaching emergency vehicles. The law is very specific; drivers must yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, and failure to do so can cause serious accidents or delays in ambulances, fire engines and fire trucks arriving at the scene of an emergency. Firefighters are careful to avoid vehicle collisions by driving slowly when traveling against traffic, or coming to a complete stop at intersections. However, the cooperation of ALL vehicles on the roadway is essential.
Completing the following projects will make you safer in your homes and businesses. Don't wait, do them now!
- If you haven’t changed the battery in your smoke alarm in the last 12 months, do it now.
- Develop and practice a home escape plan. Make sure everyone can get out of the house and knows where to meet when the smoke alarm sounds.
- Post your address on your home and business so emergency responders can find you quickly. Make sure that you can easily see your address from the street.
- If you are protected in your place of business by fire protection systems (fire sprinkler system, fire alarm system, fire extinguishers, etc.) that have not been serviced in the last year, call your authorized service provider and make an appointment.
- Fiction: Water can be used to put out any fire.
Facts: Some fires, like those caused by grease, can be spread by throwing water on the fire. If a fire starts in a pot on the stove, you should slide a lid on the pot and turn off the burner.
- Fiction: If a fire starts in my home, I can put it out with my fire extinguisher and not trouble the fire department.
Facts: While home fire extinguishers can put out some small fires, many fires start out small and grow quickly. Each year, hundreds of people die trying to put out fires. Much more damage to homes is caused by delaying a call to the fire department while trying to put out a fire. If you use a fire extinguisher on a small fire and the fire does not die down immediately, get out and call the fire department from outside.
- Fiction: It’s easy—anyone can use a fire extinguisher.
Facts: Only people who have been properly trained should attempt to put out a fire with a fire extinguisher.
- Fiction: I’m a light sleeper and would smell a fire, even if I were asleep.
Facts: Smoke contains toxic substances/poisons that can put you into a deeper sleep. That’s why for new homes, interconnected smoke alarms are required on every level of the home, outside each sleeping area, and inside each bedroom. Although this approach is ideal for all homes, as a minimum, existing homes should have smoke alarms on every level and outside each sleeping area. The best advice is: In case of fire, get out and, once outside, call the fire department right away from a neighbor’s home, cell phone, or public pay phone.
- Fiction: If one fire sprinkler goes off, they all will go off.
Facts: Fire sprinkler heads operate independently and are triggered individually by the heat of a fire.