Tips for Fire Safety

smoke alarm
Tips For Fire Safety
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1. Install Smoke Alarms

smoke alarm
  • 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

escape plan
  • 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

cigarette burning
  • 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.
  • Do not discard cigarettes in potted plants, landscaping vegetation or bark dust - they can easily catch fire.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, or smoke while using oxygen therapy.  Smoking is extremely dangerous when using oxygen therapy.

4. Cook Carefully

cooking fire
  • 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

space heater
  • 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

matches lighters
  • 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

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

electrical safety
  • 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

crawl 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

home sprinkler system
  • 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.