Fire Prevention Safety Tips, Downloads, Links
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these helpful brochures
Sparky the Fire Dog
The NFPA has put
together a Family Fun site with games, trivia, activities and more.
Check it out , you may even learn about fire prevention and safety.
The U.S. Fire
Administration would like to
remind you of some important fire safety and prevention
- Plan and practice escape
plans several times a year.
- Make sure your whole
family knows when and how to call emergency telephone
- Obtain and learn how to
use a fire extinguisher.
- Install carbon monoxide
- Consider installing
residential fire sprinklers in your home.
Smoke Detectors, Protect Yourself and Your Family Today!
In the event of a fire,
properly installed and maintained smoke alarms will provide
an early warning alarm to your household. This alarm could
save your own life and those of your loved ones by providing
the chance to escape.
- Why Should My Home
Have Smoke Alarms?
- In the event of a fire,
a smoke alarm can save your life and those of your loved
ones. They are a very important means of preventing
house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an
early warning signal -- so you and your family can
escape. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety devices
you can buy and install to protect yourself, your
family, and your home.
- What Types of Smoke
Alarms Are Available?
- There are many different
brands of smoke alarms available on the market but they
fall under two basic types: ionization and
alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast
moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms
are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. There
are also combination smoke alarms that combine
ionization and photoelectric into one unit, called
dual sensor smoke alarms.
- Because both ionization
and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting
distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and
because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire
might start in a home, the USFA recommends the
installation of both ionization and photoelectric or
dual sensor smoke alarms.
- In addition to the basic
types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs
of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may
use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in
alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke
alarms when they sound.
- Okay, Where Do I Put
- Install smoke alarms on
every level of your home, including the basement. Many
fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning.
For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and
outside sleeping areas. Since smoke and many deadly
gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper
level will provide you with the earliest warning
possible. Always follow the manufacturer’s installation
- Where Would I Get
- Many hardware, home
supply, or general merchandise stores carry smoke
alarms. If you are unsure where to buy one in your
community, call your local fire department (on a
nonemergency telephone number) and they will provide you
with some suggestions. Some fire departments offer smoke
alarms for little or no cost.
- Are Smoke Alarms Hard
- If your smoke alarms are
hard wired, that is wired into the electrical system,
you will need to have a qualified electrician do the
initial installation or install replacements. For
battery powered smoke alarms, all you will need for
installation is a screw driver. Some brands are self
adhesive and will easily stick to the wall or ceiling
where they are placed. For all smoke alarm
installations, be sure you follow the manufacturer’s
instructions because there are differences between the
various brands. If you are uncomfortable standing on a
ladder, ask a relative or friend for help. Some fire
departments will install a smoke alarm in your home for
you. Call your local fire department (on a non-emergency
telephone number) if you have problems installing a
Pick a holiday or your birthday and replace the
batteries each year on that day.
If your smoke alarm
starts making a "chirping" noise, replace the
batteries and reset it.
- How Do I Keep My
Smoke Alarm Working?
- If you have a smoke
alarm with batteries:
- Smoke Alarms powered
by long-lasting batteries are designed to replace
the entire unit according to manufacturer’s
- In standard type
battery powered smoke alarms, the batteries need to
be replaced at least once per year and the whole
unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.
- In hard-wired,
battery back up smoke alarms, the batteries need to
be checked monthly, and replaced at least once per
year. The entire unit should be replaced every 8-10
- What if the Alarm
Goes Off While I’m Cooking?
- Then it’s doing its job.
Do not disable your smoke alarm if it alarms due to
cooking or other non-fire causes. You may not remember
to put the batteries back in the alarm after cooking.
Instead clear the air by waving a towel near the alarm,
leaving the batteries in place. The alarm may need to be
moved to a new location. Some of the newer models have a
“hush” button that silences nuisance alarms.
- How Long will my
Smoke Alarm Last?
- Most alarms installed
today have a life span of about 8-10 years. After this
time, the entire unit should be replaced. It is a good
idea to write the date of purchase with a marker on the
inside of your alarm so you will know when to replace
it. Some of the newer alarms already have the purchase
date written inside. In any event, always follow the
manufacturer’s instructions for replacement.
- Anything Else I
- Some smoke alarms are
considered to be “hard-wired.” This means they are
connected to the household electrical system and may or
may not have battery backup. It’s important to test
every smoke alarm monthly and replace the batteries with
new ones at least once a year.
Contact your local fire
department on a non-emergency phone number if you need help
or have questions about fire safety in your home.
In the event of a fire,
remember - time is the biggest enemy and every second
counts! Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly.
In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out
of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes
for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become
engulfed in flames.
- Practice Escaping
From Every Room In The Home
- Practice escape plans
every month. 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. A secondary route
might be a window onto an adjacent roof or using an
Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved collapsible
ladder for escape from upper story windows. Make sure
that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out
quickly and that security bars can be properly opened.
Also, practice feeling your way out of the house in the
dark or with your eyes closed.
Security Bars Require Special Precautions
- Security bars may help
to keep your family safe from intruders, but they can
also trap you in a deadly fire! Windows and doors with
security bars must have quick release devices to allow
them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure
everyone in the family understands and practices how to
properly operate and open locked or barred doors and
- Immediately Leave The
- When a fire occurs, do
not waste any time saving property. Take the safest exit
route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to
crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered.
The smoke contains toxic gases which can disorient you
or, at worst, overcome you.
- Never Open Doors That
Are Hot To The Touch
- When you come to a
closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top
of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the
door and door frame to make sure that fire is not on the
other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape
route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully.
Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly.
If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure
it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape
- Designate A Meeting
Place Outside and Take Attendance
- 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
- Once Out, Stay Out
- Remember to escape
first, then notify the fire department using the 911
system or proper local emergency number in your area.
Never go back into a burning building for any reason.
Teach children not to hide from firefighters. If someone
is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped to
perform rescues safely.
Finally, having working smoke
alarms installed on every level of your home dramatically
increases your chances of survival. Smoke alarm batteries
need to be tested every month and changed with new ones at
least once a year. Also, consider replacing the entire smoke
alarm every ten years, or as the manufacturer guidelines
Each year fires occurring
during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause
over $930 million in damage. According to the United States
Fire Administration (USFA), there are simple life-saving
steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By
following some of the outlined precautionary tips,
individuals can greatly reduce their chances of becoming a
holiday fire casualty.
Preventing Christmas Tree
Christmas Tree Fire Hazards - Movie
segments demonstrating how fast a live Christmas tree
can become fully engulfed in flames. Special fire safety
precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in
the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with
fire and deadly gases.
- Selecting a Tree
for the Holiday
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull
back from the branches, and the needle should not break
if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be
sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by
bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles
fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably
dried out, and is a fire hazard.
- Caring for Your
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including
a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the
tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat,
flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick
cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree
up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks.
Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
- Disposing of
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or
woodburning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it
promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by
taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away
by a community pick-up service.
- Maintain Your
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare
spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked
sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting
them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing
- Do Not Overload
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the
directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of
lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord
into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the
wires - they should not be warm to the touch.
- Do Not Leave
Holiday Lights on Unattended
- Use Only
All decorations should be nonflammable or
flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents.
- Never Put
Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical
buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.
If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make
sure it is flame retardant.
- Avoid Using Lit
If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders
and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down.
Never leave the house with candles burning.
- Never Put Lit
Candles on a Tree
Do not go near a Christmas tree with an open flame -
candles, lighters or matches.
Finally, as in every season,
have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your
home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped
with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call
for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.
Many families gather in the
kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the
most hazardous rooms in the house if you don't practice safe
cooking behaviors. Cooking equipment, most often a range or
stovetop, is the leading cause of reported home fires and
home fire injuries in the United States. Cooking equipment
is also the leading cause of unreported fires and associated
It's a recipe for serious
injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially
hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove,
or leave flammable materials, such as potholders or paper
towels, around the stove. Whether you are cooking the family
holiday dinner or a snack for the children, practicing safe
cooking behaviors will help keep you and your family safe.
Safe Cooking Behaviors
Choose the Right Equipment
and Use It Properly
- Always use cooking
equipment tested and approved by a recognized testing
- Follow manufacturers'
instructions and code requirements when installing and
operating cooking equipment.
- Plug microwave ovens and
other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never
use an extension cord for a cooking appliance, as it can
overload the circuit and cause a fire.
Use Barbecue Grills Safely
- Position the grill well
away from siding, deck railings, and out from under
eaves and overhanging branches.
- Place the grill a safe
distance from lawn games, play areas, and foot traffic.
- Keep children and pets
away from the grill area by declaring a 3-foot "kid-free
zone" around the grill.
- Put out several
long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of
clearance from heat and flames when cooking food.
- Periodically remove
grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot
be ignited by a hot grill.
- Use only outdoors! If
used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents,
barbecue grills pose both a fire hazard and the risk of
exposing occupants to carbon monoxide.
- Purchase the proper
starter fluid and store out of reach of children and
away from heat sources.
- Never add charcoal
starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been
ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible
liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire
- Check the propane
cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first
time each year. A light soap and water solution applied
to the hose will reveal escaping propane quickly by
- If you determined your
grill has a gas leak by smell or the soapy bubble test
and there is no flame:
- Turn off the propane
tank and grill.
- If the leak stops,
get the grill serviced by a professional before
using it again.
- If the leak does not
stop, call the fire department.
- If you smell gas while
cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call
the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
- All propane cylinders
manufactured after April 2002 must have overfill
protection devices (OPD). OPDs shut off the flow of
propane before capacity is reached, limiting the
potential for release of propane gas if the cylinder
heats up. OPDs are easily identified by their
triangular-shaped hand wheel.
- Use only equipment
bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory.
Follow the manufacturers' instructions on how to set up
the grill and maintain it.
- Never store propane
cylinders in buildings or garages. If you store a gas
grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder
and leave it outside.
Watch What You Heat
- The leading cause of
fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
- Stay in the kitchen when
you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave
the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off
- If you are simmering,
baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly,
remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a
timer to remind you that you're cooking.
- Stay alert! To prevent
cooking fires, you have to be alert. You won't be if you
are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken
medicine that makes you drowsy.
Keep Things That Can Catch
Fire and Heat Sources Apart
- Keep anything that can
catch fire - potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils,
paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels, or
curtains - away from your stovetop.
- Keep the stovetop,
burners, and oven clean.
- Keep pets off cooking
surfaces and nearby countertops to prevent them from
knocking things onto the burner.
- Wear short,
close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch
fire if it comes into contact with a gas flame or
If Your Clothes Catch
If your clothes catch
fire, stop, drop, and roll. Stop immediately, drop to
the ground, and cover face with hands. Roll over and
over or back and forth to put out the fire. Immediately
cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes and
then seek emergency medical care.
Use Equipment for Intended
Cook only with equipment
designed and intended for cooking, and heat your home only
with equipment designed and intended for heating. There is
additional danger of fire, injury, or death if equipment is
used for a purpose for which it was not intended.
Protect Children from Scalds
- Young children are at
high risk of being burned by hot food and liquids. Keep
children away from cooking areas by enforcing a
"kid-free zone" of 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove.
- Keep young children at
least 3 feet (1 meter) away from any place where hot
food or drink is being prepared or carried. Keep hot
foods and liquids away from table and counter edges.
- When young children are
present, use the stove's back burners whenever possible.
- Never hold a child while
cooking, drinking, or carrying hot foods or liquids.
- Teach children that hot
- When children are old
enough, teach them to cook safely. Supervise them
Prevent Scalds and Burns
- To prevent spills due to
overturn of appliances containing hot food or liquids,
use the back burner when possible and/or turn pot
handles away from the stove's edge. All appliance cords
need to be kept coiled and away from counter edges.
- Use oven mitts or
potholders when moving hot food from ovens, microwave
ovens, or stovetops. Never use wet oven mitts or
potholders as they can cause scald burns.
- Replace old or worn oven
- Treat a burn right away,
putting it in cool water. Cool the burn for 3 to 5
minutes. If the burn is bigger than your fist or if you
have any questions about how to treat it, seek medical
attention right away.
Install and Use Microwave
- Place or install the
microwave oven at a safe height, within easy reach of
all users. The face of the person using the microwave
oven should always be higher than the front of the
microwave oven door. This is to prevent hot food or
liquid from spilling onto a user's face or body from
above and to prevent the microwave oven itself from
falling onto a user.
- Never use aluminum foil
or metal objects in a microwave oven. They can cause a
fire and damage the oven.
- Heat food only in
containers or dishes that are safe for microwave use.
- Open heated food
containers slowly away from the face to avoid steam
burns. Hot steam escaping from the container or food can
- Foods heat unevenly in
microwave ovens. Stir and test before eating.
How and When to Fight
- When in doubt, just get
out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help
contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency
number after you leave.
- If you do try to fight
the fire, be sure others are already getting out and you
have a clear path to the exit.
- Always keep an oven mitt
and a lid nearby when you are cooking. If a small grease
fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully
sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing
the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the
pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on
until the pan is completely cool.
- In case of an oven fire,
turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent
flames from burning you or your clothing.
- If you have a fire in
your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep
the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is
completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely
reach the outlet.
- After a fire, both ovens
and microwaves should be checked and/or serviced before
being used again.
Nuisance Smoke Alarms
- Move smoke alarms
farther away from kitchens according to manufacturers'
instructions and/or install a smoke alarm with a pause
- If a smoke alarm sounds
during normal cooking, press the pause button if the
smoke alarm has one. Open the door or window or fan the
area with a towel to get the air moving. Do not disable
the smoke alarm or take out the batteries.
- Treat every smoke alarm
activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely
to the alarm.
A longtime food favorite in
the southern United States, the delicious deep-fried turkey
has quickly grown in popularity thanks to celebrity chefs
such as Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse. While some people
rave about this tasty creation, Underwriters Laboratories
Inc.'s (UL) safety experts are concerned that backyard chefs
may be sacrificing safety for good taste.
"We're worried by the
increasing reports of fires related with turkey fryer use,"
says John Drengenberg, UL consumer affairs manager. "Based
on our test findings, the fryers used to produce those
great-tasting birds are not worth the risks. And, as a
result of these tests, UL has decided not to certify any
turkey fryers with our trusted UL Mark."
Here's why using a
deep-fryer can be dangerous:
- Many units easily tip
over, spilling the hot oil within the cooking pot.
- If the cooking pot is
overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit
when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may
hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the
- Partially frozen turkeys
placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This
too, may result in an extensive fire.
- With no thermostat
controls, the units also have the potential to overheat
the oil to the point of combustion.
- The sides of the cooking
pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing
severe burn hazards.
If you absolutely must use a
turkey fryer, here are some tips for safer use:
- Turkey fryers should
always be used outdoors a safe distance from buildings
and any other material that can burn.
- Never use turkey fryers
on wooden decks or in garages.
- Make sure the fryers are
used on a flat surface to reduce accidental tipping.
- Never leave the fryer
unattended. Most units do not have thermostat controls.
If you don't watch the fryer carefully, the oil will
continue to heat until it catches fire.
- Never let children or
pets near the fryer when in use. Even after use, never
allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil
inside the cooking pot can remain dangerously hot, hours
- To avoid oil spillover,
do not overfill the fryer.
- Use well-insulated
potholders or oven mitts when touching pot or lid
handles. If possible, wear safety goggles to protect
your eyes from oil splatter.
- Make sure the turkey is
completely thawed and be careful with marinades. Oil and
water don't mix, and water causes oil to spill over,
causing a fire or even an explosion hazard.
- The National Turkey
Federation recommends refrigerator thawing and to allow
approximately 24 hours for every five pounds of bird
thawed in the refrigerator.
- Keep an all-purpose fire
extinguisher nearby. Never use water to extinguish a
grease fire. Remember to use your best judgement when
attempting to fight a fire. If the fire is manageable,
use an all-purpose fire extinguisher. If the fire
increases, immediately call 9-1-1 for help.
- Even after use, never
allow children or pets near the turkey fryer. The oil
inside the cooking pots remains dangerously hot, hours
UL is providing video
footage/still images of turkey fryers under test. The
following file is in MPEG format, and is approxomately 13Mb
In addition to
working smoke detectors, every household should have
UL Listed fire extinguishers strategically placed in
rooms such as the kitchen, garage or workshop.
Don't just hang your
extinguisher on the wall or in the cupboard! Plan
ahead, read the instruction manual and know your
extinguisher's capabilities before trying to fight a
fire. Portable fire extinguishers are useful for
putting out small fires, but recognize your limits
and the limits of the extinguisher.
Using the wrong type
of extinguisher on a fire can actually make it
spread so it's important to plan ahead when
purchasing and placing fire extinguishers.
There are four types
of household extinguishers:
use and care booklet provides guidance on the type
and size of fire with which your extinguisher may be
used. The booklet also provides tips on how to
properly use and maintain your extinguisher.
For use on fires
involving combustible materials such as
wood, cloth and paper.
For use on flammable liquid fires, including
kitchen grease. Never use water on this type
For use in fires involving energized
Works on all three types of fires listed
Here's some basic
rules to keep in mind when dealing with household
- If a fire breaks
out, your first step is to call the fire
department and get everyone out of the house. If
the fire is not spreading and is confined to a
small area, use the appropriate type
extinguisher for the fire. Know both your limits
and the fire extinguisher's limits.
inspect your extinguishers to determine if they
need to be recharged or replaced. Extinguishers
need to be recharged or replaced after each use
-- even if you haven't used all the
- When using a
portable extinguisher, keep your back to an
unobstructed exit that is free from fire.
manufacturer's instructions for operating
guidelines, including proper distance between the
extinguisher and fire. Always aim at the base of the