Fire safety: You can’t afford to wait until it is too late
Posted at: 02/24/2012 7:39 AM
The most effective way to protect yourself and your home from fire is to identify and remove fire hazards. Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths occur in homes with no working smoke alarms. During a home fire, working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan that has been practiced regularly can save lives.
“Each year, our Red Cross volunteers respond to hundreds of fires,” said John Buttrill, Chief Executive Officer of the Finger Lakes NY Region of the American Red Cross. “It is critical that families are conscious of fire hazards in the home and practice emergency procedures in case of a fire.”
While many of us are conscious of fire safety, often times we forget some basic tips. Read over these tips for a fresh reminder on fire safety.
Prevent home fires
• Keep items that can catch on fire at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, such as space heaters.
• Talk to children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches, and lighters and keep them out of reach.
• Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep.
• Stay in the home while simmering, baking, roasting or boiling food. Check it regularly and use a timer to remind you that food is cooking.
Practice fire safety
• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.
• Teach children what smoke alarms sound like and what to do when they hear one.
• Replace batteries in smoke alarms at least once a year. Immediately install a new battery if an alarm chirps, warning the battery is low.
• Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Never disable smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
• Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms. Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
• Ensure that all household members know two ways to escape from every room of your home.
• Practice escaping from your home at least twice a year and at different times of the day. Practice waking up to smoke alarms, low crawling, and meeting outside. Make sure everyone knows how to call 9-1-1.
• Teach household members how to stop, drop, and roll.
In case of a fire
• Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency phone number.
• If closed doors or handles are warm, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
• Crawl low under smoke.
• If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or 9-1-1. Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
• Use a portable fire extinguisher ONLY if you have been trained by the fire department and the following conditions:
o The fire is confined to a small are, and is not growing.
o The room is not filled with smoke.
o Everyone has exited the building.
o The fire department has been called.
• Remember the word PASS when using a fire extinguisher.
o Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.
o Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
o Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
o Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
If you experience a home fire or any disaster, register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well Web site available through RedCross.org to let your family and friends know about your welfare. If you don’t have Internet access, call 1-866-GET-INFO to register yourself and your family.
The American Red Cross, Greater Rochester Chapter needs your help!
Help us by nominating a friend, co-worker or family member that has performed a heroic act: an ordinary citizen, an emergency responder, a family pet, someone who helped support the Red Cross blood program, or a veteran or member of the military—working “under the radar” because for them, it is the right thing to do.
These are our Hometown Heroes—let’s take this opportunity to thank them for their selfless deeds and nominate them for special recognition. Nominations will be reviewed by a volunteer judging panel and award winners will be honored at the Red Cross Festival on June 16, 2012.
Please review the enclosed nomination form and festival overview. For more information about the Red Cross Festival or to fill out your nomination online, visit rochesterredcross.org/festival.aspx.