Tips For Fire Safety
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1. Install Smoke Alarms
- Smoke alarms can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping.
- Install alarms on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and in each sleeping area.
- Portland Fire & Rescue also recommends sleeping with your door closed.
- Test each alarm every month, following the manufacturer’s directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever an alarm “chirps” to signal a low battery.
- Newer units with the 10-year long-life batteries, should also be tested monthly.
- Never “borrow” a smoke alarm battery for another use — a disabled alarm can’t save your life. Replace alarms that are more than ten years old.
2. Plan Your Escape From Fire
- If a fire breaks out in your home, you have to get out fast.
- To prepare, sit down with your family and agree 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.
- Never smoke in bed or when you are drowsy.
- 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.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don’t use the stove or stovetop.
- If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short sleeves when you cook.
- Turn pot handles inward on the stove, where you can’t bump them and children can’t grab them.
- Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
- If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat source. Keep lid on until pan is completely cooled.
- If in doubt about fighting a small fire just get out. Close the door when you leave to contain the fire and call 9-1-1 from a safe location outside the home.
5. Give Space Heaters Space
- Keep portable and space heaters at least three feet away 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.
- Plug directly into an outlet and do not use extension cords.
6. Portable Air Conditioner Safety
- Portable air conditioner units can cause fires if plugged into an extension cord or surge protector. They are not rated high enough to safely power a portable unit.
- This can cause even a new cord in good condition to overheat and catch fire.
- Plug directly into a wall outlet.
- Do not run the cord from the unit under a rug or through a wall. This can also lead to overheating and put the electrical cord in contact with flammable materials.
7. Matches and Lighters are Tools Not Toys
- In a child’s hand matches and lighters can be deadly.
- Buy childresistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where kids 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 small children to tell an adult if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.
8. 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.
9. Use Electricity Safely
- If an electric 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. Don’t tamper with your fuse box or use improper-sized fuses.
10. Crawl Low Under Smoke
- During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat.
- The air is cleaner near the floor.
- If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees to the nearest exit, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor.
11. Install Home Sprinkler Systems
- If you install sprinklers in your home, the fire will be out over 96% of the time before firefighters arrive!
- They can be installed even after your home has been built.
- The average cost is about $1 per sq. ft. The chances of a home sprinkler accidentally going off are about 1 in 16 million.