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​Household Safety Tips

 

See below for important Safety considerations at home.

 

  • Drowning is 100% Preventable

    Drowning is Preventable - FACTS: Children drown without a sound. Drowning is a quiet event. There is no splashing, no screaming, and no noise at all. What can you do to prevent drowning incidents? more info

     
    Children Drowning Prevention
     
    ABC’s of water safety:

    A = Adult Supervision.  Assign an adult Water Watcher to keep their eyes on the water at ALL times.

    B = Barriers such as fences, self-closing and self-latching gates, pool motion sensors, window and door alarms.

    C = Classes.  Parents and Caregivers should take CPR and First Aid, and swimming courses that are available for both children and adults. ...

  • Candle Safety

    Many people enjoy burning candles in their homes. In fact, the National Candle Association indicates that 7 out of 10 homes in the US have candles. People have safely enjoyed using candles for centuries. However, if certain precautions are not taken by the consumer, candles can also become a factor in a chain of events that can result in unnecessary injury and even death. more info

    Candle statistics:
     
    According to the National Fire Protection Agency , from 2006-2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 11,640 home structure fires that were started by candles.
     
    These fires caused 126 deaths, 953 injuries and $438 million in direct property damage. Candles caused 3% of reported home fires, 5% of home fire deaths, 7% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage from home fires in 2010. 
     
    Also from the NFPA, facts and figures during the five-year period of 2006-2010:
    • Roughly one-third (35%) of home candle fires started in bedrooms. These fires caused 42% of the associated deaths and 45% of the associated injuries.
    • On average, 32 home candle fires were reported per day.
    • Falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 43% of the associated deaths.
    • More than half (56%) of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle.
    • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
     
     
    The following simple candle safety tips are important when using candles:
     
    NEVER leave a burning candle unattended.
     
    NEVER place a burning candle near something that can catch fire.
     
    KEEP BURNING CANDLES OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN OR PETS. 

     
    Additional Candle Safety Tips:
     
    Keep candles away from drafts and vents

     

    Trim wicks to ¼""prior to each use.  Normally don’t burn candles more than four hours at a time
     
    Extinguish taper or pillar candles when they get within 2""of their holders.
     
    Always use containers that have been made for candle usage.

     

    Discontinue use of a container candle when ½ inch of wax remains. 
     
    Keep matches, wick trimmings and foreign objects out of the candle wax.

     


  • Electric Space Heater Safety

    Portable electric heaters, while seemingly harmless, are responsible for many fires annually. These heaters are not substitutes for central heating. Nor are they designed for extended use. more info

    Tips for improving Space Heater Safety: 

    All types must be kept at least 36 inches from anything that can burn, including furniture, bedding, clothing, pets and people.

     

    Space heaters must not be left operating when you are not in the room, or when you go to sleep.
     
    Children should be supervised at all times when space heaters are in use.  Make sure the heater has an element guard that prevents little fingers from straying onto hot coils.
     
    Do not put drying clothing or combustibles over heaters.
     
    Be certain your home wiring is designed to handle your space heater. If you have any doubts, contact a licensed electrician.
     
    Make sure the heater has a 3-prong grounded plug and used in a 3-hole wall outlet.
     
    Check for fraying or splitting wires, or overheating. Have problems repaired by a professional before operating the space heater.

     

    Make sure your space heater has an automatic switch that turns off the electric current if the unit is tipped over.

     


  • Kid Safety

    Check out the Kids Fire Safety Site for information and games regarding fire safety.


  • Top Ten Fire Safety Tips

    Improve your knowledge of household Fire Safety by reviewing the Top Ten Fire Safety Tips more info

    Top Ten Fire Safety Tips:


     1. Install Smoke Detectors. 
     
    WORKING SMOKE DETECTORS can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.
     
    Test detectors every month, following the manufacturer's directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector ""chirps"" to signal low battery power. Never ""borrow"" a smoke detector's battery for another use - a disabled detector can't save your life. Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old.
     
    2. Plan Your Escape From Fire.

    IF A FIRE BREAKS OUT in your home, you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits - doors and windows - from every room. (If you live in an apartment building, do not include elevators in your escape plan.) Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet after they escape. Have your entire household practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
     
    3. Keep An Eye On Smokers.
    Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be deadly. Provide smokers with large, deep non-tip ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes. 
     
    4 . Cook Carefully.
    Never leave cooking unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short, rolled-up or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can't bump them and children can't grab them. Enforce a ""Kid-Free Zone"" three feet (one meter) around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until cool.
     
    5. Give Space Heaters Space.
    Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) from anything that can burn. keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.
     
    6 . Remember: Matches And Lighters Are Tools, Not Toys.
    In a child's hand, matches and lighters can be deadly. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where small children can't see or reach them, preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach your children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys, and should be used only by adults or with adult supervision. Teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches or lighters to an adult immediately.
     
    7. Cool A Burn.
    Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or any grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately. Never use ice.
     
    8. Use Electricity Safely.
    If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don't overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Dont' tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.
     
    9. Crawl Low Under Smoke.
    During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor. If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternate escape route. 
     

     

    10. Stop, Drop And Roll.
    If your clothes catch fire, don't run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames.

     


  • Smoke Detectors

    Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. more info

    The USFA Fema Site provides important recommendations Regarding Smoke Detectors

    Key Points:

     

    1.  Install your smoke alarms correctly

    Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Make sure there is an alarm in or near every sleeping area. 

    Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings—remember, smoke rises. Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.  If you have pitched ceilings, install the alarm near the ceiling's highest point.

    Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.

    Hard-wired smoke alarms operate on your household electrical current. They can be interconnected so every alarm sounds regardless of the fire's location. This is an advantage in early warning because it gives occupants extra time to escape if they are in one part of the home and a fire breaks out in another part. Hard-wired alarms should have battery backups in case of a power outage, and be installed by a qualified electrician.

    Don't paint smoke alarms; paint, stickers or other decorations could keep them from working properly.

    Keep your smoke alarms working properly.
     

    2.  Keep your smoke alarms working properly

    Test smoke alarms at least once a month, following manufacturer instructions.   Replace batteries in your smoke alarm once a year, or as soon as the alarm""chirps,"" warning that the battery is low. HINT: schedule battery replacements for the same day you change your clock from daylight to standard time in the fall.

    Never "borrow" a battery from a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms can't warn you of fire if batteries are missing or have been disconnected.


    Don't disable smoke alarms even temporarily – you may forget to replace the battery. If your smoke alarm is sounding""nuisance alarms,"" it may need dusting or vacuuming. If that doesn't work, try relocating it further away from kitchens and bathrooms, where cooking fumes and steam can cause the alarm to sound.

    Regularly vacuuming or dusting your smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions can help keep it working properly.


    Smoke alarms don't last forever. Replace your smoke alarms once every 10 years.

    Make sure everyone in your home can identify and awaken to the sound of the alarm.

     

    3.  Hold Fire Drills

     

    Plan regular fire drills (twice a year is best) to ensure everyone knows what to do when the smoke alarm sounds.


    Hold a drill at night to make sure that sleeping family members awaken at the sound of the alarm.


    If you are building a new home or remodeling your existing home, consider installing an automatic home fire sprinkler system. Sprinklers and smoke alarms together cut your risk of dying in a home fire 82 percent relative to having neither – a savings of thousands of lives a year.


  • Escape Routes and Home Fire Drills

    Develop and practice home fire drills - Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safely. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms, and advance planning: A home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced. more info

    ​  

      
    The information below was reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week Web site, ©2003 NFPA.

      
    Basic fire escape planning


    Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.  Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
     
    For easy planning, download the FPW escape plan grid (PDF*, 464 KB). This is a great way to get children involved in fire safety in a non-threatening way.
     
    Make sure that you have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
     
    Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. 
     
    When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
     
    Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
     
    Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that emergency personnel can find your home.
     
    Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor's home or a cell phone once safely outside.
     
    If there are infants, older adults or family members with mobility limitations make sure someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency.
     
    If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure the bars have quick-release mechanisms inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Quick-release mechanisms won't compromise your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
     
    Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people's homes, ask about their escape plan. If they don't have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend""sleepovers"" at friends' homes.
     
    Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately.  
     
    Residents of high-rise and apartment buildings may be safer ""defending in place.""
     
     
    Once you're out, stay out!
     
    Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
     
    Putting your plan to the test
    Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.
     
    Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
     
    It's important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.
     
    If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. Review the manufacturer's instructions carefully so you'll be able to use a safety ladder in an emergency. Practice setting up the ladder from a first floor window to make sure you can do it correctly and quickly. Children should only practice with a grown-up, and only from a first-story window.
     
    Store the ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don't want to have to search for it during a fire.
     
    Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape through toxic smoke if necessary.
     
    When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice crawling low on their hands and knees, one to two feet above the ground. By keeping your head low, you'll be able to breathe the ""good"" air that's closer to the floor.

    It's important to practice crawling on your hands and knees, not your bellies, as some poisons produced by smoke are heavier than air and settle to the floor.
     
    Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
     
    In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice""sealing yourself in for safety"" as part of your home fire escape plan.  Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in.
     

     


  • Natural Gas Safety

    Natural gas is a fuel which is completely safe when it is transported within sealed pipes and used as intended. However, dangerous situations may occur when natural gas leaks from pipes or is not properly burned within appliances. more info

    The information below was reproduced from NFPA's Fire Prevention Week Web site, ©2003 NFPA.
     
     
    What everyone should know about Natural Gas
     
    Natural gas is a fuel which is completely safe when it is transported within sealed pipes and used as intended. However, dangerous situations may occur when natural gas leaks from pipes or is not properly burned within appliances.
     
    Natural gas is flammable 
     
    A single flame or even a spark in the area of a leak, could cause an explosion. Fortunately, natural gas leaks are very rare. Explosions are even more uncommon - the mixture of natural gas and oxygen in the air must be at a precise proportion for a spark to set it off.  
     
    Carbon Monoxide
     
    An additional danger of natural gas is the production of carbon monoxide    This invisible, odorless gas is produced when natural gas appliances aren't vented correctly or improper combustion occurs. One quick way to tell if a natural gas appliance is getting enough oxygen and is adjusted properly is to check the color of the flame on the pilot light.
     
    Appliance Safety
     
    A pilot or burner flame light should be about 90 percent blue. A yellow flame indicates the appliance isn't working right and could be giving off harmful fumes - have it checked by a service technician right away. Keep in mind that not all problems with gas appliances will have the symptom of a yellow pilot light - and not all pilot lights are visible. Look for excessive ash or soot around a pilot light opening or air ducts, lengthy ""warm-up"" times and strange noises or odors.  
     
    Natural gas is colorless and odorless in its natural state.

    A chemical called""Mercaptan"" is added to give the gas an odor so you can smell a leak immediately.
     
    If a slight odor of rotten eggs is observed, check range burners and the pilot lights on your gas appliances. This may be an indicator that the gas pilot light has gone out. The pilot light can be relit by turning off the appliance and following the manufactures steps. If the pilot light won't relight, call your local gas company.
    A strong odor means you should leave the home immediately, and then call your local gas company from a neighbor's home. Don't turn electrical switches on or off, or use a flashlight or telephone.
    Keep the kitchen range clean. Also rinse and dry burners before reinstalling.
     
    Never use a gas stove for heating. If you do, this can damage your stove and produce dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
     
    Keep small children away from the gas stove and all gas-burning appliances.
     
    Avoid wearing loose clothing when cooking. This type of clothing can accidentally be ignited by flames when you cook in them."

     


  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

    The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood and to the rest of the body. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels. About 200 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with home fuel-burning heating equipment. Even more die from CO poisoning produced by idling cars and motorized equipment. more info

     

     
    Carbon Monoxide

     

     

    Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels:
    Coal
    Wood
    Charcoal
    natural gas
    Fueld Oils
     
    Carbon monoxide can be emitted by combustion sources such as not properly vented kerosene and gas space heaters, furnaces, woodstoves, gas stoves, fireplaces and water heaters, automobile exhaust from attached garages, barns, and sheds.
     
    Problems can arise as a result of improper installation, maintenance, or inadequate ventilation. If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result.

    Carbon monoxide interferes with the distribution of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can impede coordination, worsen cardiovascular conditions, and produce fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and dizziness. Infants, elderly people, and people with anemia or with a history of heart or respiratory disease can be especially susceptible. 
     

    You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at high levels it can kill a person in minutes. The symptoms are sometimes confused with the flu or food poisoning. Very high levels can cause death. Don’t ignore symptoms, especially if more than one person is feeling them. If you think you are suffering from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, you should: 
     
    1. Get fresh air immediately.

    2. Open doors and windows.
    3. Turn off combustion appliances and leave the house.
    4. Go to an emergency room.
     
    5. Be sure to tell the physician that you suspect CO poisoning.
     
    6. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
    Is anyone else in your household complaining of similar symptoms?
    Did everyone’s symptoms appear about the same time?
    Are you using any fuel-burning appliances in the home?
    Has anyone inspected your appliances lately?
    Are you certain they are working properly?
     
    Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
     
    Ensure that appliances are properly adjusted and working to manufacturers’ instructions and local building codes.

    Have annual inspections for heating system, chimneys, and flues and have them cleaned by a qualified technician.
    Open flues when fireplaces are in use.

    Use only approved fuel as specified by the manufacturer for space heaters.

    Do not use ovens and gas ranges for heating rooms.

    Do not burn charcoal inside a residence, cabin, recreational vehicle, or camper.

    Make sure stoves and heaters are vented to the outside and that exhaust systems do not leak.

    Do not use gas or kerosene space heaters in enclosed spaces without proper ventilation.

    Never leave a car or lawn mower engine running in any enclosed space, garage or sheds.

    Insure adequate intake of outside air for appliances.

    Carbon Monoxide Detectors
     
    Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors can be used as a backup but not as a replacement for proper use and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances.
     
    CO detector technology is still being developed and the detectors are not generally considered to be as reliable as the smoke detectors found in homes today.
     
    You should not choose a CO detector solely on the basis of cost; do some research on the different features available.
     
    Carbon monoxide detectors should meet Underwriters Laboratories Inc. standards, have a long-term warranty, and be easily self-tested and reset to ensure proper functioning.

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that consumers purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors with labels showing they meet the requirements of the new Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) voluntary standard (UL 2034). The UL standard, published in April 1992, requires detectors to sound an alarm when exposure to carbon monoxide reaches potentially hazardous levels over a period of time. Detectors that meet the requirements of UL 2034 provide a greater safety margin than previously-manufactured detectors. 
     
     
    What if the CO detector alarm goes off ?
     
    Make sure it is your CO detector and not your smoke detector.

    Check to see if any member of the household is experiencing symptoms of poisoning.

    If they are, get them out of the house immediately and seek medical attention. Tell the doctor that you suspect CO poisoning.

    If no one is feeling symptoms, ventilate the home with fresh air, turn off all potential sources of CO -- your oil or gas furnace, gas water heater, gas range and oven, gas dryer, gas or kerosene space heater and any vehicle or small engine.

    Have a qualified technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to make sure they are operating correctly and that there is nothing blocking the fumes from being vented out of the house.

    Additional information:
     

    CO Poisoning Brochures are available in English and Spanish.
    To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, you can go to CPSC's forms page and use the first on-line form on that page. Or, you can call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit the CPSC website (see Links).

    Consumers can obtain this publication and additional publication information from the Publications section of CPSC's web site. 
     
     

     


  • Home Security Bars

    To feel safe, many people install security bars on their doors and windows. Some security bars; also known as burglar bars; can trap you in a fire. They can also prevent firefighters from getting in to rescue you.


  • Safety - Bees

    For safety concerning bees, visit the information provided through the following links.


  • Kitchen Safety

    Cooking is the main cause of home fires and fire injuries. Click on the links below for helpful tips on staying safe.


  • Matches and Lighters

    Matches and Lighters are tools not toys. Make sure to keep them out of sight and reach of children. more info

    Match and Lighter safety

    Teach your children that matches and lighters are tools for adults.  Don't be one of the many families whose home burns down because of children playing with lighters or matches.

    Never use matches or lighters, or smoke, while in bed.

     


  • Crawl low under the smoke

    Smoke inhalation can be fatal. Make sure to take the correct steps to stay safe. more info

    Statistics about Smoke and Fires:

    More than four thousand Americans die every year in fires.

    Most are killed by the smoke, rather than the flames. In a fire, the cleanest air is low, near the floor.

    While escaping to safety, crawl low, under the smoke.


  • Earthquake Safety

    Earthquake safety is of particular concern in California. more info

    For earthquake safety and preparedness be sure to check out  our  Emergency Preparedness links.


  • Stop, Drop, and Roll

    If your clothes ever catch on fire always remeber to STOP, DROP, and ROLL on the ground by covering you face. more info

    Know When to Stop, Drop, and Roll

    Stop, drop, and roll is used when clothing catches fire. Children often get confused about when to stop, drop, and roll. Stress the importance of knowing when to do this behavior. This should only be done when clothing catches fire.

    Children who do not have a good understanding of stop, drop, and roll will sometimes do this if they burn a finger or need to get outside if the smoke alarm sounds. Using stop, drop, and roll under the wrong circumstances could be very dangerous.

    If your clothing catches fire:

    ​1. STOP - Stop what you are doing.

    2. DROP - Drop to the ground.

    ​3. ROLL - Cover your face with your hands, keep your legs straight and roll over and over and back and forth to put the fire out.