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 photoelectric.
Ionization 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 Them?
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 instructions.
Where Would I Get Smoke Alarms?
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 to Install?
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 smoke alarm.
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:
1. Smoke Alarms powered by long-lasting batteries are designed to replace the entire unit according to manufacturer’s instructions.
2. 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.
3. 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 years.
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 Should Know?
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.
The U.S. Fire Administration would like to remind you of some important fire safety and prevention information.
• Plan and practice escape plans several times a year.
• Make sure your whole family knows when and how to call emergency telephone numbers.
• Obtain and learn how to use a fire extinguisher.
• Install carbon monoxide detectors.
• Consider installing residential fire sprinklers in your home.
Contact your local fire department on a non-emergency phone number if you need help or have questions about fire safety in your home.
From: U.S. Fire Administration/FEMA
Carbon Monoxide Safety (CO2)
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless deadly gas. Because you can't see it, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it's there.
Who is at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Medical experts believe, however, that individuals with greater oxygen requirements such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with coronary or respiratory problems are at greater risk.
What makes carbon monoxide so dangerous?
The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream. When inhaled, carbon monoxide bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing the oxygen which cells need to function. When CO is present in the air, it rapidly accumulates in the blood, forming a toxic compound known as carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). Carboxyhemoglobin causes symptoms similar to the flu, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion and irritability. As levels of COHb increase. vomiting, loss of consciousness and eventually brain damage or death can result. * Source: Journal of American Medical Assn.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete combustion, present whenever fuel is burned. It is produced by common home appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens, water heaters or un-vented space heaters, fireplaces, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves. Fumes from automobiles also contain carbon monoxide and can enter a home through walls or doorways if a car is left running in an attached garage.All of these sources can contribute to a CO problem in the home. If a home is vented properly and is free from appliance malfunctions, air pressure fluctuations or airway; venting or chimney blockages, carbon monoxide will most likely be safely vented to the out side. But energy efficient insulation meant to keep warm air in during winter months and cool air in during summer months could cause carbon monoxide to be trapped inside.Furnace heat exchangers can crack, vents and chimneys can become blocked, disconnected or corroded. Inadequate air supply for combustion appliances can cause conditions known as down drafting or reverse stacking, which force CO contaminated air back into the home.
How can I guard my family from carbon monoxide poisoning?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends installing at least one carbon monoxide detector with an audible alarm near the sleeping area. A detector on every level and in every bedroom provides extra protection. Remember, a carbon monoxide detector is a purchase that could help save your life. Select an Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) listed detector. For an extra margin of safety, chose a self powered, extra sensitive unit that responds to lower levels of carbon monoxide and protects even during a power outage. In addition to installing carbon monoxide detectors, have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.
What do I do if my Carbon Monoxide detector alarms?
• Get every one, including your self out of the house.
• If anyone is feeling ill, acting strange, or unconscious Call 911 Immediately.
• Call your local fire department and tell them you have a carbon monoxide detector alarm
• Check your grill thoroughly for leaks, cracking or brittleness before using it.
• Check the tubes leading to the burner regularly for blockages. Check with your specific grill manufacturer's instructions.
• Make sure the grill is at least 10 feet away from your house, garage or trees.
• Store and use your grill on a large flat surface that cannot burn (i.e.- concrete or asphalt).
• Don't use grills in a garage, porch, deck or on top of anything that can catch on fire. Never use a propane barbecue grill on a balcony, terrace or roof. It is both dangerous and illegal.
• Keep children away from fires and grills. It is a good idea to establish a safety zone around the grill and instruct children to remain outside the zone. A chalk line works great for this purpose.
• Have a fire extinguisher, a garden hose attached to a water supply, or at least 16-quarts of water close by in case of a fire.
• Before getting a propane cylinder filled, check for any damages to it.
Never transport or store propane cylinders in the trunk of your automobile.
• Don't wear loose clothing that might catch fire.
• Use long handled barbecue tools and/or flame resistant mitts.
• Never use any flammable liquid other than a barbecue starter fluid to start or freshen a fire.
• Never pour or squirt starter fluid onto an open flame. The flame can easily flashback along the fluid's path to the container in your hands.
• Keep alcoholic beverages away from the grill, they are flammable!
• Never leave the grill unattended.
• When lighting your propane barbecue, make sure all the connections are secure and open the lid and strike your match or lighter BEFORE turning on the gas.
• ALWAYS shut off the propane fuel at the grill and at the bottle after you have finished barbecuing. Otherwise, this will lead to fire hazards, such as leaks and faulty regulators.
• Store your BBQ and propane cylinder outdoors.
• Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the safe use, cleaning and maintenance of your BBQ.
• Test your cylinder for leaks on a regular basis. When testing for leaks, never use matches or an open flame. Use soapy water or a leak detector.
• Store your cylinder away from heat and insert a safety plug on the valve.
• Always follow the manufacturer's cleaning and storing instructions that accompany the grill.
• Keep your grill clean and free of grease buildup that may lead to a fire.
• Never store liquid or pressurized fuels inside your home and/or near any possible sources of flame.
IN CASE OF A BARBECUE FIRE
• For PROPANE Grills - turn off the burners. For CHARCOAL Grills - close the grill lid. Disconnect the power to ELECTRIC Grills.
• For PROPANE Grills - if you can safely reach the tank valve, shut it off.
• If the fire involves the tank, leave it alone, evacuate the area and call the fire department.
• If there is any type of fire that either threatens your personal safety or endangers property, ALWAYS DIAL 911.
• NEVER attempt to extinguish a grease fire with water. It will only cause the flames to flare up. Use an approved portable fire extinguisher.
Propane barbecue grills and no more than two (2) 20-pound propane tanks are allowed on the grounds of a one or two-family home, but be sure to follow the fire safety precautions above.
Only use a charcoal barbecue on a balcony or terrace if there is a ten-foot clearance from the building and there is an immediate source of water (garden hose or four (4) gallon pail of water).
OUTDOOR FIREPLACE SAFETY
You should always keep safety in mind whenever an outdoor fireplace is in use so that a ‘good time’ doesn’t become a ‘tragic one’ instead.
Outdoor fires are permitted only in “Approved” burn devices. These types of stoves and fire pits can be found in most garden and home improvement stores. Nassau County Fire Ordinance requires that a screen be used to keep sparks from jumping out of the fireplace. Stray sparks could land on someone and cause painful and serious burns, or land on the roof of the house and cause the roof to catch fire.
When cooking with an outdoor fireplace care should be taken to avoid injuries. Make sure to use skewers that are at least 6 in. or more in length when roasting marshmallows and wieners to keep everyone at a safe distance from the heat and flames of the fire in the fireplace. Remember to caution against immediately biting into food that has been cooked over a fire. The food may be cool to the touch while the internal temperature could be hot enough to cause an injury to the mouth if eaten too soon. Better to let the food cool for a few minutes before eating.
Children should be supervised at all times when an outdoor fireplace is in use. Children should also be cautioned against horseplay around the fireplace to prevent falling into the fire if your outdoor fireplace is a bowl or ring shape or bumping- up against the very hot surfaces in other outdoor fireplace designs. Children should never be allowed to “play” with the fire in the fireplace with sticks. A child could set themselves on fire or drop a stick on the ground and catch the nearby grass on fire. All children should be taught the stop-drop-and roll method of putting out a fire should their clothes happen to catch on fire.
You should never wear clothing that has strings or anything that hangs from the clothing whenever you’re near an outdoor fireplace. A string from a jacket could fall into the fire “unnoticed” and set your clothing on fire. The furniture used around an outdoor fireplace should be made of fire-resistant materials to prevent them from catching on fire should a stray spark escape from the fireplace.
A water supply such as a garden hose or fire extinguisher should be readily available should it be needed. Never leave the fire un-attended, and always ensure the fire is extinguished prior to going to bed. Hot coals could re-ignite and spread the fire.
If the fire does get out of control, contact the fire department immediately. Don’t wait until its too late.
By observing these and other rules of safety, an outdoor fireplace can be a wonderful addition to your backyard that the whole family can enjoy. Be safe and have fun with your outdoor fireplace.
Instructions For Use
(Instructions are on the Extinguisher)
• Pull the pin
• Stand 6 to 8 feet away from the fire
• Aim (point) extinguisher at the base of the fire
• Squeeze lever and sweep side to side until flames are out
Types of Extinguisher's
• Class A - ordinary combustibles (anything that will leave an ash)
• Class B - Flammable liquids (gas, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint)
• Class C - Energized electrical equipment (wiring, fuse boxes, circuits)
• Class D - Combustible Metals
Where To Keep The Fire Extinguisher?
• Best if kept in high traffic locations
• Always keep in plain sight (not under drapes, in closets, etc.)
• Place extinguisher in wall brackets no more than five feet off the floor
• Place near exits and in all hazard areas
Unfortunately, it takes just seconds for a child to drown. Drowning is the leading cause of death in many states for children under the age of five. Most of these children drown in their own backyard swimming pool, but others drown in buckets, bathtubs, toilets, dog water bowls, canals and ponds. Small children are top-heavy, and they don't have the upper body strength to lift themselves out of one of these dangerous situations. Even if the child survives the incident, they are often left with permanent brain damage.
Drowning and near drowning can be prevented, and you can help! Anyone involved with the supervision of children needs to be aware of the dangers associated with any body of water. Below are important tips to prevent needless tragedies.
• Know where your children are at all times
• Use an approved barrier to separate the pool from the house
• Never allow children to be alone near a pool or any water source, no exceptions!
• Have life-saving devices near the pool, such as a pole/hook, or flotation device
• Keep large objects such as tables, chairs, toys, and ladders away from pool fences
• Post the 9-1-1 number on the phone
• Do not allow children to play near the pool and store all toys outside the pool area
• If you leave the pool area, always take the children with you
• Always have a “designated child watcher”
• Learn to swim
• Never swim alone, or while under the influence of alcohol or medications
• Never swim when thunder or lightning is present
• Never dive into unfamiliar or shallow bodies of water
HOME FIRE ESCAPE PLANNING
Family members must know what to do in the event of a fire in their home. Unless a small fire can be easily controlled, it is recommended that fighting the fire be left to professional firefighters and that family members escape safely from the home.
A home escape plan must be created and practiced so that each person knows exactly what to do. It also is important to practice Exit Drills in the Home.
Most residential fires occur between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Deaths from residential fires occur in greater numbers between midnight and 4 a.m. when most people are asleep. An average of 800 fires strike residential buildings each day in the United States. More than 6,500 persons die each year from fire - more than half of them children and senior citizens. The majority of these deaths are in home fires.
Regardless of the cause of the fire, a home may be filled with smoke. This is a very dangerous situation. Family members may be unable to see very well. The smoke and toxic gases may cause dizziness and disorientation. In the confusion, one can easily become lost or trapped in the home. Family members must understand that their safety depends upon quickly leaving the home. It has been proven that exit drills reduce chance of panic and injury in fires and that trained and informed people have a much better chance to survive fires in their home.
The first step in escaping a fire in the home is to plan ahead. Installing smoke detectors in the home and being sure they are in good working order can alert family members alerted to the presence of smoke or fire before it is too late. Together, family members can decide on an escape plan in the event of a fire in the home.
Bedroom doors should be closed while people are sleeping. It takes fire 10 to 15 minutes to burn through a wooden door. That's 10 to 15 minutes more for the inhabitant to escape. Next, family members should visit each bedroom and figure out two escape routes:
1. The normal exit
2. The other exit through a door or a wind
Plan an Escape Route
Each member of the family should know how to get safely outside by at least two routes. Family members should practice opening their windows to become familiar with their operation. Jammed windows should be identified and repaired. If, during a fire, a window is jammed, it may be broken out with an object and a blanket or towel placed over the frame to cover shards of glass. However, it is much safer to open a window than it is to break the glass out. Never put locks or bars on windows or doors that cannot be opened from the inside.
Realize the Danger of Smoke
Each member of the family should understand the importance of crawling low under smoke. Smoke and heat rise so the best place to find fresher, cooler air is near the floor. When a person is caught in a building filled with smoke, they should drop on hands and knees and crawl to the nearest exit. Test all closed doors before opening them. Feel the back of the door. If it is hot, don't open it. Turn and go to the second route of exit. If the door is not hot, open slowly but be prepared to slam it closed if there are flames.
Practice what to do if you become trapped. Since doors hold back smoke and firefighters are adept at rescue, the chances of survival are excellent. Close doors between you and the smoke. Stuff the cracks and cover vents to keep smoke out. If there is a phone, call in your exact location to the fire department even if they are on the scene. Wait at the window and signal with a sheet, flashlight or something visible.
Establish a Safe Meeting Place
A special meeting place should be established a safe distance from the house. It could be a mailbox, the neighbor's driveway or a large tree in the yard. Whatever it is, it must be something that is stationary and won't be moved (such as a car). This is where everyone meets in the event of a fire. It also prevents family members from wandering around the neighborhood looking for one another, or worse, being tempted to re-enter the burning house for one thought to be trapped inside. Once outside at the special meeting place, a person can be sent to the neighbor's to call 911. If anyone is missing, give that information to the fire department immediately and tell them where the probable location of the missing person could be. Under no circumstances should anyone re-enter the burning building.
Practice Your Fire Escape Plan
One very good step in the planning of a home fire escape plan is to make a floor diagram of the house. Mark the regular and emergency escape routes, as well as windows, doors, stairs, and halls.
A good way to practice the effectiveness of a home fire escape plan is to position each family member in his or her bed, turn all the lights off, and activate the smoke detector by depressing the test switch. Each family member should help "awaken" the others by yelling the alert. Family members should exit their rooms according to the plan, crawl low under smoke, practice feeling doors for heat, and meet in the designated location outside the home.
Not all "homes" are single residential structures but include apartments and other types of buildings. Some additional discussion may be helpful in the home escape plan.
Most high-rise or multi-story apartment complexes post fire escape plans for all residents to see and follow. However, these plans seldom include escape routes for each apartment. Family members must develop and practice an evacuation plan for their individual apartment.
Exit Safely From a Structure
Jumping from upper floors of a building should be avoided. However, it is possible to hang from a second story window and drop feet first to the ground without significant injury. A sprained ankle or broken leg is better than dying. Parents can purchase fire ladders for the bedrooms, or instruct children to use an adjacent porch or garage roof to await rescue by the fire department. When exiting such a structure, do not use the elevator. Elevators are notorious for stopping at the fire floor and killing the people inside. A power failure may cause them to stop in between floors. Use the fire escape or an enclosed fire resistive stairwell to exit.
As a family, explore the building so that every exit is familiar, including those from storage, laundry and recreation rooms. If the hallways become smoke-filled as the result of a fire, memory can help in finding the exits.
Look for these important features in the building - enclosed exit stairways, clearly marked exits, clean hallways and lobbies, automatic sprinklers, fire alarm systems and smoke detectors.
Remember, Plan Ahead!
Remember, the first step toward escaping a fire is to plan ahead. Practice a home fire escape plan throughout the year and be sure that if anything should change around the home, it is included in the home fire escape plan.