Fire Safety at Home
Most fatal home fires start when you are asleep and least prepared. Family members die when discovery of a fire is delayed and exits from the home become blocked by smoke and heat. If you plan ahead, you can save your family from disaster. By following these simple recommendations, you may give yourself or your family the chance to escape tragedy. Install smoke detectors in your home One or more smoke detectors should be installed in your home. Generally smoke detectors should be installed outside of sleeping areas and near areas which may be likely sources for fires (near kitchens, appliance rooms, garages). Smoke detector batteries should be changed every year.
Two Means of Escape:
Tips For a Friendly Fireplace
Your fireplace is a source of warmth and relaxation. Yet, like any home appliance, it should be safe, properly maintained, and good for the environment, inside and out.
THINK "CLEAN" Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned annually by a National Chimney Sweep Guild Certified chimney sweep. A dirty fireplace can cause chimney fires or contribute to air pollution. A certified chimney sweep will diagnose your fireplace and recommend what it needs in order to burn cleanly and safely. Choose the right fuel. In general, hardwood firewood ( oak, madrone, hickory, ash, etc.) burns cleaner than softwood firewood ( fir, pine, cedar, etc.) . Seasoned wood, wood with a moisture content of less than 20%, burns much cleaner than green ( high moisture content) wood. Check with your cord wood supplier to make sure that the wood you purchase is seasoned. Burn smartly. Good fireplace habits can decrease fuel consumption in the home while maintaining the same level of warmth. Make sure the fire gets enough air to burn properly. Close the damper when the fire is out to keep warm room air inside.
THINK "FIRE PREVENTION" Being good to the environment also means making sure your fireplace habits are safe and will not pose a danger to your home or your neighborhood.
Stop, Drop, and Roll
Each year more than 15,000 people are seriously burned when their clothes catch on fire. In more than half of the incidents, flammable liquids or vapors were present on or around the person's clothing. But it can happen in many ways. A person's loose sleeve may catch fire on a hot stove. Someone may be working with gasoline or some other flammable liquid and then light a cigarette. They might spray lighter fluid on a smoldering barbecue fire and the resulting flames could catch their clothes on fire. When a person's clothing catches on fire, action must be instinctive and immediate. There is no time to think. The one thing you should never do is run.
To minimize a burn injury when your clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL. Burns are among the most painful of injuries and the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. The hands, groin, face and lungs are at particular risk because they are delicate structures and easily injured. The healing process is slow and painful, resulting in enormous personal suffering.
Certain types of clothing are less flammable and resist flames more than other types of clothing. Heavier clothing and fabrics with a tight knit weave burn more slowly compared with loose knit clothing. Fabrics with a loose fit or a fluffy pile will ignite more readily than tight-fitting, dense fabric clothing. Synthetic fibers, such as nylon, once ignited, melt and burn causing severe burns. Natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, tend to burn more slowly than synthetic fibers. However, fibers that combine both synthetic and natural fibers may be of greater hazard than either fabric alone. Curtains and draperies can be sprayed with flame retardant to reduce their rate of burning. However, these chemicals should not be applied to clothing.
The principles of STOP, DROP and ROLL are simple:
Home Cooking Safety
Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Most cooking equipment fires start with the ignition of common household items (e.g., food or grease, cabinets, wall coverings, paper or plastic bags, curtains, etc.).
Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths and the third leading cause of fire injuries in the United States. Roughly one of every four fire deaths in the 1999 was attributed to smoking materials. Facts & figures in 1999, there were 167,700 fires associated with smoking materials, resulting in 807 deaths, 2,193 injuries and $559.1 million in property damage. Of the fire deaths, 776 occurred in residential properties.
In Canada there were 3,800 fires in 1999 associated with smoking materials. These fires caused 119 civilian deaths, 258 civilian injuries and direct property damage of $58.3 million Canadian ($39.2 million U.S.).
The most common material first ignited in residential smoking material-related fires was mattresses and bedding, followed by trash and upholstered furniture.
*From NFPA's The Smoking-Material Fire Problem, May 2003, by John R. Hall, Jr.
Fire Safety in Apartments and Cottages
Apartment complexes are simply a series of small, connected homes. It's important to remember that what you do in your apartment can affect people living six-doors down, or even in the next building. Special hazards that affect people who live in apartments: ? Often, there is only one way in or out---no back door.