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Fire Safety
Dec 23, 2008

Fire Safety

Would you know what to do if a fire started in your home? Would your kids? Take the time now to review fire safety facts and tips so your family will be prepared in the event of a fire emergency in your home.

Fire Prevention

Of course, the best way to practice fire safety is to make sure a fire doesn't break out in the first place. That means you should always be aware of potential hazards in your home. Start by keeping these tips in mind.

Check all electrical appliances, cords, and outlets

  • Are your electrical appliances in good condition, without loose or frayed cords or plugs?
  • Are your outlets overloaded with plugs from the TV, computer, printer, video game system, and stereo?
  • Are you overusing an extension cord?
  • Do the light fixtures in your home contain bulbs that are the correct wattage?
  • Does your home contain GFCIs (ground-fault circuit interrupters) and/or AFCIs (arc-fault circuit interrupters), which prevent electrical shock and fire by shutting off faulty circuits?

Look around your house for potential problems. And unless you're a trained electrician, be careful about do-it-yourself electrical projects. Studies have shown that many home fires are caused by improper installation of electrical devices.

Other tips:

  • Replace or professionally repair any appliances that spark, smell unusual, or overheat.
  • Don't run electrical wires under rugs.
  • Make sure lamps and night-lights are not touching bedspreads, drapes, or other fabrics.
  • Use caution when using electric blankets.
  • Don't let kids use kitchen appliances by themselves and supervise any art or science projects that involve electrical devices.
  • Cover any outlets that are not in use with plastic safety covers if you have toddlers or young children in your home.

Be especially vigilant about portable heaters

The number of residential fires always goes up during colder months, peaking between December and February. Portable space heaters substantially contribute to this increase. Before plugging in your space heater, make sure you know how to use it safely:

  • Carefully read the directions for its use.
  • Never place a space heater where a child or pet could accidentally knock it over.
  • Never place a space heater too close to a bed, especially a child's bed.
  • Keep newspapers, magazines, and fabrics from curtains, clothes, or bedding away from space heaters, radiators, and fireplaces.
  • Heaters should be at least 3 feet from anything flammable.

Be careful in the kitchen

Did you know that cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the United States? The kitchen is rife with ways for a fire to start: food left unsupervised on a stove or in an oven or microwave; grease spills; a dish towel too close to the burner; a toaster or toaster oven flare-up; a coffee pot accidentally left on.

Always supervise kids while cooking and practice safe cooking habits — like turning all pot handles in so they can't be accidentally knocked over and not wearing loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire around the stove.

Check the fireplace

Fireplaces should be kept clean and covered with a screen to keep sparks from jumping out. Only wood should be burned in the fireplace — paper and other materials can escape while burning and ignite nearby items. Never leave a fire burning unattended and make sure a fire is completely extinguished before leaving the house or going to bed. Have the chimney professionally cleaned once a year.

Beware of cigarettes

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), cigarettes are the No. 1 cause of fire deaths in the United States and Canada, killing about 1,000 people per year. Most are started when ashes or butts fall into couches and chairs. If you smoke, be especially careful around upholstered furniture, never smoke in bed, and be sure cigarettes are completely out before you toss them into the trash.

Never let kids play with matches and lighters

You've heard it again and again, but children playing with matches are still the leading cause of fire-related deaths and injuries for kids younger than 5. Always keep matches and lighters out of children's reach. Store flammable materials such as gasoline, kerosene, and flammable cleaning supplies outside of your home and away from kids.

Use candles safely

As decorative candles become more popular, candle fires are on the rise. If you light candles, keep them out of reach of kids and pets, away from curtains and furniture, and extinguish them before you go to bed. Make sure candles are in sturdy holders made of non-flammable material that won't tip over. Don't let older kids and teens use candles unsupervised in their rooms.

Be aware of holiday dangers

Around the holidays, there are even more potential fire hazards to think about. If you use a real Christmas tree in your home, make sure to water it daily — electric lights strung on a dried-out tree are a recipe for disaster. All lights and lighted window ornaments should be inspected every year to make sure that cords are not worn or frayed, and all candles should be used with care. According to the NFPA, the number of fires started by candles nearly doubles during the month of December.

Household Tips

Make sure all smoke alarms are in working order

It's a fact — having a smoke alarm in the house cuts your risk of dying in a fire in half. Almost 60% of all fatal residential fires occur in homes that don't have smoke alarms, so this may be the single most important thing you can do to keep your family safe from fires.

If your home doesn't have smoke alarms, now is the time to install them on every level of your home and in each bedroom. If possible, choose one with a 10-year lithium battery. If your smoke alarm uses regular batteries, remember to replace them every year (hint: change your batteries when you change your clock back from Daylight Saving Time in the fall). Test your smoke alarms monthly, and be sure your kids are familiar with the sound of the alarm.

Because smoke rises, smoke detectors should always be placed on ceilings or high on walls. If a smoke detector near the kitchen goes off while you're cooking, do not take the battery out of it — you may forget to replace it. Open the doors and windows instead. Or you might consider installing a rate-of-rise heat detector for places like the kitchen, where smoke or steam from cooking are likely to cause false alarms. These alarms can sense when the temperature reaches a set critical point or when it rises by more than a certain number of degrees a minute.

If you're having a new home built or remodeling an older home, you may also want to consider adding a home sprinkler system. These are already found in many apartment buildings and dormitories.

Keep fire extinguishers handy

Be prepared for any accidents by having fire extinguishers strategically placed around your house — at least one on each floor and in the kitchen (this one should be an all-purpose extinguisher, meaning it can be used on grease and electrical fires), the basement, the garage, or workshop area. Keep them out of reach of children.

Fire extinguishers are best used when a fire is contained in a small area, like a wastebasket, and when the fire department has already been called. The NFPA says to remember the word PASS when operating an extinguisher:

  • Pull the pin. Release the lock with the nozzle pointing away from you.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side to side.

The best time to learn how to use the fire extinguisher is now, before you ever need it (if you have any questions, the local fire department can help). Fire extinguishers have gauges on them indicating when they need to be replaced and should be checked regularly to make sure they're still functional.

If you're ever in doubt about whether to use an extinguisher on a fire, don't try it. Instead, leave the house immediately and call the fire department.

Plan escape routes

Planned escape routes are a necessity, especially if a fire were to occur during the night. Go through each room in your house and think about the possible exits. You should have in your mind two escape routes from each room, in case one is blocked by fire. Inspect the room to make sure that furniture and other objects are not blocking doorways or windows. Make sure that the windows in every room are easy to open and are not painted over or nailed shut — remember, these may be your only way out in a fire.

If you live in an apartment building, make sure any safety bars on windows are removable in an emergency. Be sure to know the locations of the closest stairwells or fire escapes and where they lead.

If your house is more than one story tall or if you live above the ground floor of an apartment building, an escape ladder is an important safety feature. You should have one escape ladder made of fire-safe material (aluminum, not rope) in each upper-story bedroom that is occupied by a person who is capable of using it.

Like fire extinguishers, escape ladders should be operated by adults only. The ladder must be approved by an independent testing laboratory, its length must be appropriate for your home, and it must support the weight of the heaviest adult in the house.

Be sure any babysitters in your home know all escape routes and plans in case of a fire.

Teach children the facts about fire

Unfortunately, many kids will try to hide from a fire, often in a closet, under a bed, or in a corner. But if taught basic fire facts, they'd be better able to protect themselves. Teach your kids that fires spread quickly, that most fire-related deaths are not from burns but from smoke inhalation, and that dangerous fumes can overcome a person in just a few minutes.

Kids should learn to:

  • cover their mouths and noses with a moist towel or an article of clothing to keep out dangerous fumes while evacuating
  • crawl under the smoke to safety, staying as low to the ground as possible (smoke always rises)
  • touch any door (not the doorknob) to see if it is hot, and if it is, not to open it — find another exit
  • locate the nearest stairway marked "Fire Exit" if they live in an apartment building, or a fire escape if the stairway isn't accessible — kids should know to always avoid elevators during a fire
  • never stop to take personal belongings or pets or to make a phone call (even to 911) while evacuating
  • never go back into a burning building once safely outside
  • stop, drop, and roll to extinguish flames if an article of clothing catches on fire

Kids should also always be dressed for bed in flame-retardant sleepwear.

Practice fire drills at home

Kids have fire drills at school and adults have them at work. Why shouldn't you have them at home, too? Fires are frightening and can cause panic. By rehearsing different scenarios, your family will be less likely to waste precious time trying to figure out what to do. Discuss and rehearse the escape routes you've planned for each room of your home. Designate a meeting place outside your house or apartment building that is a safe distance away (a mailbox, a fence, or even a distinctive-looking tree will do) where everyone can be accounted for after they escape.

Then, every so often, test your plan. Use your finger to set off the smoke detector and let everyone know it's time for a fire drill. See if everyone can evacuate your home and gather outside within 3 minutes — the time it can take for an entire house to go up in flames.

Being prepared is the best way to protect your family from a fire. So know the rules of fire prevention, stock your home with fire-safety items, and make sure your kids know what to do in a fire. A few minutes of planning now may save lives later on.

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2008

Information from KidsHealth.org

Dec 23, 2008

Smoke Alarm Safety


Smoke Alarms Save Lives!


When fire strikes you may have less than one minute to safely get out of the building.

  • Having working smoke alarms in your home can double you chances of survival if a fire occurs.
  • Home fire deaths have been cut in half since the early 1970’s when smoke alarms were first marketed.
  • 50% of the fire deaths that occur each year in the U.S. take place in the 5% of homes without smoke alarms!

Fires produce heat, smoke and toxic gases.

Smoke alarms warn residents in the event of a fire. They give you time to leave the building before your escape route is blocked by deadly smoke, heat and toxic gases.

Special smoke alarms are available for the hearing impaired.

The alarm can be wired to a light, which flashes when the detector is in alarm. A vibrating alert unit can also be used under a pillow while the person is asleep.

Plan and practice a home fire escape route.

  • Have two ways out of every room.
  • Discuss the plan so each member of the family understands what to do in case of emergency.
  • Choose a place outside the home where family members can meet to be sure everyone is safely out of the building.

Practice, practice, practice…Conduct drills frequently so actions become automatic behaviors.

  • Hold a family fire drill during the day, while everyone is awake and another one at night while children are asleep to see how they respond.
  • Following the drill, make adjustments to the plan.
  • Does someone in the family, who may be too young or physically impaired, need assistance?
  • An adult can go to their room and help that person to an alternate escape route.
  • If a child sleeps through the alarm they may need to be awakened by an adult.
  • Consider purchasing a folding escape ladder as a secondary means of exit from upper floors.

Click here for more information on Planning and Practicing Home Fire Drills

When the alarm sounds:

  • Leave the building.
  • Get out, Stay out!
  • Go to the family meeting place.
  • Dial 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s home.

All newly built homes are required to have smoke alarms. MGL c.148 s.26F External Link requires that all homes sold or transferred in Massachusetts have working smoke alarms.

General guidelines for smoke alarm placement:

  • On every level of your home.
  • In hallways outside the bedroom.
  • At the top of open stairways.
  • At the base of cellar stairs.
  • Inside the bedroom for sound sleepers or smokers.

Contact your local fire department for exact locations.

Maintenance

  • Once a month vacuum or blow out dust from the alarms.
  • Push the test button.
  • Change batteries at least once a year. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you change your clocks. A “chirping” sound indicates that it’s time to change the batteries.
  • Don’t paint smoke alarms!

Lifespan
If your smoke alarms are 10 years old or more it’s time to replace them with new ones. There’s a label on the alarm with the date of manufacture. If it doesn’t have a label, it’s already more than ten years old. If you don’t know how old they are it’s best to install new ones.

 

This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

Smoke alarm safety tips  
 
Smoke alarms save lives. Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms at all or no smoke alarms that work. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.

Safety tips

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each separate sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or a combination alarm (photoelectric and ionization) should be installed in homes.
  • Test alarms at least monthly by pushing the test button.
  • Smoke rises; install smoke alarms following manufacturer's instructions high on a wall or on a ceiling. Save manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenance.
  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms at least once a year. If an alarm “chirps”, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
  • Replace all smoke alarms, including alarms that use 10-year batteries and hard-wired alarms, when they are 10 year old or sooner if they do not respond properly.
  • Be sure the smoke alarm has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Alarms that are hard-wired (and include battery backup) must be installed by a qualified electrician.
  • If cooking fumes or steam sets off nuisance alarms, replace the alarm with an alarm that has a "hush" button. A "hush" button will reduce the alarm’s sensitivity for a short period of time.
  • An ionization alarm with a hush button or a photoelectric alarm should be used if the alarm is within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
  • Smoke alarms that include a recordable voice announcement in addition to the usual alarm sound, may be helpful in waking children through the use of a familiar voice.
  • Smoke alarms are available for people who are deaf or hard of hearing . These devices use strobe lights. Vibration devices can be added to these alarms
This information is from NFPA.org

Dec 23, 2008

Practicing Home Fire Drills


Planning and Practicing Home Fire Escape Drills

Pamphlet on Planning and Practicing Home Fire Drills PDF

When fire strikes…you may have less than one minute to safely get out of the building.
Knowing what to do can mean the difference between life and death!

Most fatal fires occur in the home. Having working smoke alarms and planning and practicing home fire escape drills can reduce your risk of injury or death.

Children practice fire drills in school at least four times each year. Do you practice how to react to fire in your home? You should!

Fires are fast.

Fires double in size every minute.

Fires are dark.

They are not like what you see on television or in the movies.
Fires create thick, black, choking smoke which makes it impossible to see and breathe.

Fires produce heat, smoke and toxic gases.

Smoke alarms warn residents in the event of a fire. Smoke alarms give you time to leave the building before your escape route is blocked by deadly smoke, heat and toxic gases.
When the smoke alarm sounds… Get Out, Stay Out!

Plan a home fire escape route.

Image of a hand drawing a plan on graph paper.

Draw a floor plan of your home.

  • Locate all doors, windows, halls and stairways that can be used to exit the building.
  • Make sure that each family member can open door locks and window latches.
  • Check to see if any windows have been painted shut.
  • If your home has security bars they should have a quick-release feature that everyone can operate from inside.
  • Keep exits and exit paths clear of obstacles such as furniture, toys, etc.

Have two ways out of each room.

Image of an escape plan drawing showing bedrooms, bathroom, living room, kitchen, stairs, windows and doors.

Your primary exit should be the fastest, safest route outdoors.

Crawl low beneath smoke.

Heat and smoke tend to rise.
The freshest, coolest air will be down low by the floor.
Roll out of bed, onto the floor and crawl to the bedroom door.

Check doors for heat with the back of your hand.

If the door is cool, open it slowly.
If the door is hot, keep it closed.

If the primary exit is blocked by smoke or fire, close any doors between you and the smoke, and use your secondary exit.

The secondary exit can be another doorway, stairway or window.
Never use an elevator as a means of escape!
If you must go to a window don’t jump. Turn on the room lights, open the window and signal for help.
Consider purchasing an escape ladder and training family members on how to use it.

Choose a meeting place.

Choose a place outside the home where family members can meet to be sure everyone is safely out of the building.

Call 911 from a neighbor’s house.

Never go back inside a burning building.

Leave the firefighting to the trained professionals. They have the protective equipment and training to perform search, rescue and fire extinguishment.

Discuss the plan with each member of the family so everyone understands what to do in an emergency.

Image of parents and child looking at the escape plan drawing.

Practice, Practice, Practice!
Conduct home fire escape drills frequently, at least twice a year, so actions become automatic behaviors.

  • Hold a family fire drill during the day, while everyone is awake and another one at night while children are asleep to see how they will respond.
  • Following the drill, make adjustments to the plan.
  • Does someone in the family, who may be too young or physically impaired, need assistance?
  • An adult can go to their room and help that person to an alternate escape route.
  • If a child sleeps through an alarm they may need to be awakened by an adult.
  • Infants will need to be carried to safety.


Remember…When the alarm sounds:

  • Leave the building.
  • Get out, stay out!
  • Go to the family meeting place.
  • Dial 911 from a neighbor’s house.
  • Wait at the meeting place for the fire department to arrive. Let them know if everyone is safe.

Be sure to have your street address posted on your home, in numbers clearly visible from the street. This will help emergency personnel to locate your house quickly.

This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

Dec 23, 2008

Carbon Monoxide Safety



 
  • Heating equipment is the leading cause of CO incidents. -40% of CO calls occur between the months of November and February when home heating systems are in use.
  • Most CO calls occur between 5 p.m. and 10 a.m. - This is the time when most heating equipment is being used at home.
  • 97% of all CO incidents occur in residential buildings.
 Nicole’s Law:
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as the Odorless Killer because it is a poisonous gas that has no visible color, taste, or odor. Each year many people die or are injured from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. CO alarms are intended to provide the early warning signs that smoke alarms provide in fires. Nicole’s Law was passed to protect the people of Massachusetts from the danger of carbon monoxide gas and to prevent carbon monoxide related deaths and injuries.
  • Since the enactment of Nicole’s Law in March 2006, between 2005-2006 there was a 93% increase of CO related calls to fire departments.

Main Components of the law:

  • The law requires carbon monoxide alarms be installed on every level of the home, including habitable portions of basements and attics, in most residences.
  • On levels with sleeping areas, carbon monoxide alarms should be installed within 10-feet of bedroom doors.
  • Levels of the home that do not have habitable living spaces are not required to have CO alarms.
  • Nicole’s Law also requires landlords to install and maintain CO alarms in every dwelling unit that has a source of carbon monoxide.
  • Large apartment buildings, where there is no source inside the individual apartments, may use an alternative method to detect CO near the furnace or boiler rooms.
  • When purchasing a CO alarm, be sure to look for the approval label of an independent testing company, such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or International Approval Service/Canadian Standards Association (IAS/CSA). Most CO alarms that are sold in Massachusetts meet these standards, but it is a good idea to check before purchasing your CO alarm.
  •   The CO alarms may be:
    • Battery operated with battery monitoring or;
    • Plug-ins with battery back-up; or
    • Low voltage system; or
    • Wireless; or
    • Qualified combination (smoke/carbon monoxide alarm)
 
Last heating season there were many stories of lives saved because of carbon monoxide alarms and we are expecting .
The Department of Fire Services has long suspected that the true number of non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning cases has been underestimated. People who may have felt unwell or thought they had the flu in the past, may find out now that they had been exposed to unhealthy levels of CO.

This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

Dec 23, 2008

Cooking Fires and Burn Safety


Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries in Massachusetts

In 2006, there were 8,166 fires in Massachusetts involving cooking. These incidents resulted in zero deaths, 58 civilian injuries, 42 firefighter injuries and caused $9.6 million in property damage.

Cooking liquids are the number one cause of scald burns in Massachusetts.

Children under age 5 were most likely to suffer scald burns in Massachusetts.

  • Put the coffee down when you hold the baby. A wiggling baby can jiggle your arm and spill the drink all over himself.
  • Put drinks and soups toward the center of the table away from curious fingers. Babies like to grab things.
  • Consider replacing table clothes with place mats to prevent your child from pulling everything on the table onto her.

Cooking Safety Tips

  • Put a lid on a grease fire to smother it and then turn off the heat. Baking soda will also work.
  • Never move a burning pan. You can be badly burned or spread the fire.
  • Never throw water on or use a fire extinguisher on a grease fire. Water will only spread the fire and the force of the extinguisher can splash flaming grease out of the pan.
  • Stand by your pan. Don’t leave food, grease, or oils cooking unattended. This is how most cooking fires start.
  • Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking. Loose fitting clothes can easily catch fire.
  • If your clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP & ROLL to put out the flames. Cool burns with water. Call 9-1-1 for help.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward to prevent spills of hot contents.
  • Create a 3-foot “child free zone” around the stove. Keep children and pets away from the stove while cooking to prevent burns and scalds.
  • Keep combustible objects such as potholders, towels, paper or plastic bags away from heating elements.
  • For fires inside an oven or microwave, keep the door closed, turn off the appliance and call the fire department.
  • Don’t place any metal inside a microwave. Utensils, aluminum foil or twist-tie wraps can arc and cause fire.
  • Microwaved foods and liquids can become very hot. Use caution to avoid scalds.
  • Don’t use the oven to store items.
This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire services

NFPA Safety Tips

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. It’s important to be alert to prevent cooking fires.

Safety tips

  • Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
  • Keep the stovetop, burners and oven clean.
  • Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking. Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and can catch fire if it comes in contact with a gas flame or electric burner.
  • Have a "kid-free zone" of at least 3 feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.
  • Always use cooking equipment that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions and code requirements when installing, cleaning, and operating cooking equipment.
  • Plug microwave ovens or other cooking appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
  • Check electrical cords for cracks, breaks, or damage.

If you have a cooking fire

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. 
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are already getting out and you have a clear path to the exit.
  • Always keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan. Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed. After a fire, the oven should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.

Dec 23, 2008
Fire extinguishers  
 
A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Safety tips:

  • Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
  • To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
      - Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle
        pointing away from you, and release the locking
        mechanism.
      - Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
      - Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
      - Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
  • For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
  • Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
  • Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape planand working smoke alarms.
This information is from the NFPA.org

Dec 23, 2008

Dryer Fire Prevention


 NFPA Dryer Fact Sheet

 Prevent Dryer Fires flyer PDF

In Massachusetts in 2007  there were 117 clothes dryer fires that caused two civilian injuries, two firefighter injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $641,032. More than 60% occurred in 1 & 2 family homes.

 

Clean the Lint Filter After Every Load

The public should be reminded to clean the dryer filter screen after each load of laundry, to clean the outside vents twice a year and to occasionally vacuum the motor area of the dryer. If materials such as cooking oil, solvents and other combustible or flammable liquids were not removed completely during the laundry cycle, heat from the dryer may cause them to ignite. This is the reason that mop heads should not be put into the dryer. An adult should be at home whenever the dryer is in use and the home should have working smoke alarms.

Dryer Fires Prevention Tips At-A-Glance:

  • Clean the filter screen after each load to prevent lint buildup, which can cause fires.
  • Stay home when the dryer is in use.
  • Clean the vents to outside twice a year to clean out any accumulated dust and lint.
  • Vacuum the motor area. The dust and lint in the vent area can ignite if it gets hot. You may need to remove a panel in order to get to the motor area.
  • Commercial dryers should be cleaned out regularly because of their frequent use and shared venting system.
  • Don’t dry mop heads in the dryer! The dryer’s heat can ignite the chemical residue on mop heads.
  • Keep the surrounding area clean. The dryer’s heat may ignite anything left too close to the dryer.

Vent Check International’s website http://www.vcisafety.org/dryer_vent_fires.cfm has useful information about dryers and how to prevent a fire in your home. The site also provides vent check products and companies that clean vents in your area. Vent Check International is approved by the USFA.

Information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.


Dec 23, 2008
Electrical safety in the home  
 

OutletU.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 20,900 reported home structure fires involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment in 2005. These fires resulted in 500 civilian fire deaths, 1,100 civilian fire injuries, and $862 million in direct property damage.


Facts & Figures

  • Lamps, light fixtures and light bulbs accounted for the largest share of the 2002-2005 home structure fires involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
  • Cords and plugs accounted for the largest share of the 2002-2005 home structure fire civilian deaths involving electrical distribution or lighting equipment.
  • Some type of electrical failure or malfunction was cited as factor contributing to ignition for 73% of electrical distribution or lighting equipment home structure fires.

Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Electrical Distribution or Lighting Equipment," by John R. Hall, Jr., March 2008.


NFPA Safety Tips

dot Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
dot Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
dot In homes with small children, unused wall sockets and extension-cord receptacles should have plastic safety covers.
dot Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
dot

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet.

dot Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
dot If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
dot

When possible, avoid the use of "cube taps" and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.

dot

Place lamps on level surfaces, away from things that can burn and use bulbs that match the lamp's recommended wattage.

Information is from the NFPA.org

 

 


Dec 23, 2008

Safety Tips for Open Burning Season

FireFactors on Open Burning – a 1-page educational hand-out. PDF

Open Burning Season Starts January 15 and ends May 1


Open burning season is from January 15 through May 1 in communities where is it allowed. 

A Permit is Required from Local Fire Warden/Fire Chief

Open Burning is allowed in Rockland with a Permit from the Fire Chief. The Permits must be obtained by going to the Fire Station. Permits are $20 and only valid for that season. Each day that you wish to burn you must call the Fire Station and request permission to burn. Please call 781-878-2123 for permission or other questions.

Weather conditions can change rapidly, especially in the spring, and fire wardens will determine on a daily basis when it is safe to conduct open burning. If winds kick up or other atmospheric conditions change suddenly, making it unsafe to burn, permits can be rescinded (cancelled).

The open burning must be a minimum of 75 feet from all buildings and must be conducted between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and must take place on the land closest to the source of material to be burned, according to Department of Environmental Protection regulations (310 CMR DEP 7.07).

People conducting illegal burning, or who allow a fire to get out of control, may be held liable for costs of extinguishing a fire, fined, and even imprisoned (MGL c.48 s.13).

With A Permit, Burning of the Following Materials is Allowed:
  • Brush, cane, driftwood, and forestry debris from other than commercial or industrial land clearing operations
  • Materials normally associated with the pursuit of agriculture such as, fruit tree prunings, dead raspberry stalks, blueberry patches for pruning purposes, and infected beehives for disease control.
  • Trees and brush resulting from agricultural land clearing.
  • Fungus infected elm wood, if no other acceptable means of disposal is available.

Burning of the Following Materials is Prohibited Statewide:

  • Brush, trees, cane and driftwood from commercial and/or industrial land clearing operations.
  • Grass, hay, leaves and stumps, and tires.
  • Construction material and debris

How to Safely Ignite the Fire

  • An adult should always be present during open burning and children and pets should be kept at a safe distance away.
  • Use paper and kindling to start a fire and add progressively larger pieces of wood. Parts of a leftover Christmas tree may also be used.
  • Never use gasoline, kerosene or any other flammable liquid to start a fire! The risk of personal injury in these cases is very high.
  • Burn one small pile at a time and slowly add to it. This will help keep the fire from getting out of control.
  • Select a location away from utility lines.

Fires Must be Attended Until Completely Extinguished
Do not leave your fire burning unattended. This is a reason to revoke your burning permit.

Fire Control Tools and Water Supply Must Be Present
The water supply can be a pressurized fire extinguisher, a pump can or garden hose, and be sure to test it out before igniting the fire to be sure it works properly. Also, if relying on a garden hose double-check that the water supply is turned on and that there are no cracks in the hose itself. You are required to have a water supply and fire control tools on hand.

Watch the Wind: Be Prepared to Extinguish All Open Burning
It is unsafe to burn during high winds. Use common sense and don’t wait for the fire department to contact you that is has become unsafe to burn. Sudden wind change is the how most open burning gets out of control.

Don’t Delay a Call for Help
If for some reason, the fire should get out of control, call the fire department immediately. Use the utmost caution to prevent injury to yourself or family members or any damage by fire to your home.

April is the Cruelest Month
April is usually the worst month for brush fires. When snow pack recedes, before new growth emerges, last year’s dead grass, leave and wood are dangerous tinder. Winds also tend to be stronger and more unpredictable during April. Unfortunately many people wait until the warmer weather to conduct open burning.

Prevent Wildfires by Burning During Wet Snowy Conditions
Prevent permit fires from becoming wild land fires by burning early in the season. Wet and snowy winter conditions hinder the rapid spread of fire on or under the ground. Weather conditions and increased fire danger may lead to many days when burning cannot be allowed to take place.

Open Burning Alternatives
Open burning releases large amount of carbon dioxide, other gases and solid substances directly into the air, which can contribute to respiratory problems. Disposal of natural materials is best for the environment when they are used again in a different form. Try chipping or composting tree limbs, brush or forestry debris to use as landscaping materials. Check with your local public works or highway department; many have chippers at their municipal recycling center or transfer station, and with process debris for homeowners.


Dec 23, 2008
Portable Electric Generator Safety Tips

Portable electric generators offer great benefits when outages affect your home. Below are guidelines for safely connecting and operating portable generators. 

Don't connect your generator directly to your home's wiring.
Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home's wiring can 'backfeed' onto the power lines connected to your home.

Our portable electric generator safety tips can help you avoid personal injury and expensive damage.

Utility transformers can then "step-up" or increase this backfeed to thousands of volts—enough to kill a utility lineman making outage repairs a long way from your house. You could also cause expensive damage to utility equipment and your generator.

The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator.

Never plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet.
Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize "dead" power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers. Connect individual appliances that have their outdoor-rated power cords directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator, or connect these cord-connected appliances to the generator with the appropriate outdoor-rated power cord having a sufficient wire gauge to handle the electrical load.

Don't overload the generator.
Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.

Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage.
Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.

Use the proper power cords.
Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. Don't use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding. Make sure the cords from the generator don't present a tripping hazard. Don't run cords under rugs where heat might build up or cord damage may go unnoticed.

Read and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.
Don't cut corners when it comes to safety. Carefully read and observe all instructions in your portable electric generator's owner manual.

To prevent electrical shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded.
Consult your manufacturer's manual for correct grounding procedures.

Do not store fuel indoors or try to refuel a generator while it's running.
Gasoline (and other flammable liquids) should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. They should not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is in the garage. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or electric arcs caused by turning on the lights. Avoid spilling fuel on hot components. Put out all flames or cigarettes when handling gasoline. Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located near the generator. Never attempt to refuel a portable generator while it's running.

Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.

Avoid getting burned.
Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation.

Keep children away from portable electric generators at all times.

This information is from Dominion Electrical


Dec 23, 2008

Candle Fire Safety


 
Information on candle fires available on-line:

Candle Safety Day- December 8, 2008
The second Monday in December has been established as Candle Safety Day by MGL C.6: S.12XX to promote the safe use of candles in the Commonwealth and recommending that said day be observed in an appropriate manner by the people.

146 Candle Fires Caused 2 Civilian Deaths
In 2007, candles caused 146 fires of all types. These fires caused two civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, seven firefighter injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $5.1 million in damages. There was a 20% decrease from the 182 fires of all types started by candles in Massachusetts in 2006.

Candle Fires Happen Most During the Holidays
Between 2003 and 2007, the day of the year the most candle fires occurred was December 24, Christmas Eve with 11 reported candle fires. December 20  also had 11 reported candle fires during the same time period. Halloween had the third most candle fires with 10. November 28 had the fourth most candle fires during any one day of the year during the past five years with nine.

Most Candle Fires Happen at Home – Many in the bedroom.
Over 94% of candle fires occurred in homes. Nearly half, 45%,  of candle fires in homes occurred in the bedroom. Smoke detectors operated in 60% of candle fires in homes.

Candle Safety Tips
  • Burn candles in the center of a 1-foot Circle of Safety, free of anything that can burn.
  • Stay in the same room with burning candles; do not leave unattended.
  • Burn candles on a non-combustible surface such as a ceramic saucer, or plate.
  • Be sure to snuff out candles before falling asleep, going out, or leaving the room.
  • Teach everyone in the family the rules of safe candle use.
  • Keep candles out of reach of small children and pets.

This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

Dec 23, 2008

Space Heater Fire Safety



Space Heater Fires Between 2003-2007
61 space heater fires were reported to the Office of the State Fire Marshal between 2003-2007. While these fires are not frequent, they are deadly. One of every 10 space heater fires causes a fatality. These fires caused 6 civilian deaths, 10 civilian injuries, 14 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $3 million. 30% of these fires were caused when combustible materials such as bedding, magazines, newspapers or furniture were too close to the heater, and another 8% were caused when rugs, carpets or mats were under or too close to the heater.

 

If you must use a space heater, use it as safely as possible!

On March 20, 2007,at 4:04 a.m., the Lanesborough Fire Department was called to a fire in a manufactured home (trailer). The fire was started by an electric space heater that was placed too close to a couch in the living room. The occupant was using the space heater to heat the entire home. The occupant received minor burns to her arms while she exited the trailer. There were no smoke detectors present in the home. Damages from this fire were estimated to be $40,000.

Safety Tips
When buying a heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company, such as, Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL).

  •  Keep the heater away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials. Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump it and knock it over.
  • If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is a heavy duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
  • Never leave a space heater unattended or running while you sleep.
  • Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
  • The sale and use of unvented kerosene heaters is illegal in Massachusetts.
This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services
 

Dec 23, 2008


  The winter holidays are a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire due to heating equipment.

Facts & figures

  • During the four-year period of 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 240 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 16 deaths, 25 injuries, and $13.1 million in direct property damage annually.
  • During 2005, an estimated 15,600 home structure fires started by candles were reported to local fire departments. These fires resulted in an estimated 150 civilian deaths, 1,270 civilian injuries and an estimated direct property loss of $539 million. Homes include dwellings, duplexes, manufactured housing and apartments.
  • Three in 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen -- more than any other place in the home.
  • Nearly half (44%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February in 2002-2005.

 
Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.

Safety tips

Holiday decorating

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
Holiday entertaining
  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to
  • Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.

Christmas tree fires
 
 

Christmas tree

Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer. Note:  The statistics on this page are based on fires that started with Christmas trees and do not include fires starting with other products. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can very quickly become large.

Facts & figures

  • During the four-year period of 2003-2006, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 240 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 16 deaths, 25 injuries, and $13.1 million in direct property damage annually.
  • Fortunately, these fires are not common, but when they do occur, they are likely to be serious. On average, one of every 15 reported fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in death. 
  • Fifty-nine percent of the home Christmas tree fires occurred in December; 24% occurred in January.

Christmas tree safety tips  
 
Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.

Safety tips

Picking the tree
  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1–2” from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
This information is from NFPA.org

Dec 24, 2008
 
 
 
Tricks,
            Treats, Costumes & Safety
Red Cross Halloween Safety Tips for Kids and Adults


ghost With witches, goblins, and super-heroes descending on neighborhoods across America, the American Red Cross offers parents some safety tips to help prepare their children for a safe and enjoyable trick-or-treat holiday. Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment, and following some common sense practices can keep events safer and more fun.

  • Walk, slither, and sneak on sidewalks, not in the street.
  • Look both ways before crossing the street to check for cars, trucks, and low-flying brooms.
  • Cross the street only at corners.
  • Don't hide or cross the street between parked cars.
  • Wear light-colored or reflective-type clothing so you are more visible. (And remember to put reflective tape on bikes, skateboards, and brooms, too!)
  • Plan your route and share it with your family. If possible, have an adult go with you.
  • Carry a flashlight to light your way.
  • Keep away from open fires and candles. (Costumes can be extremely flamable.)
  • Visit homes that have the porch light on.
  • Accept your treats at the door and never go into a stranger's house.
  • Use face paint rather than masks or things that will cover your eyes.
  • Be cautious of animals and strangers.
  • Have a grown-up inspect your treats before eating. And don't eat candy if the package is already opened. Small, hard pieces of candy are a choking hazard for young children.

pumpkins


Halloween Fire Safety  
Ghost and pumpkinPlanning ahead can help make this Halloween a fire-safe one. Taking simple fire safety precautions, like making sure fabrics for costumes and decorative materials are flame-resistant, can prevent fires.

During 2000-2004, decoration fires accounted for an estimated 1,610 reported home structure fires per year, the majority involving candles as the heat source, and causing seven civilian deaths, 60 civilian injuries and $24.9 million in direct property damage per year.  

Source:  NFPA´s " Home Structure Fire that Began with Decorations," November 2006.

NFPA Safety Tips

dot Purchase only costumes, wigs and props labeled flame-resistant or flame-retardant. When creating a costume, choose material that won't easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Avoid billowing or long trailing features.
dot Provide children with lightweight flashlights to carry for lighting or as part of their costume
dot Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper are highly flammable. Keep these and other decorations well away from all open flames and heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc.
dot Use the proper grade of the proper fuel for your liquid-fueled space heater, and never use gasoline in any heater not approved for gasoline use.  Refuel only in a well-ventilated area and when the equipment is cool.
dot Use flashlights or battery-operated candles when illuminating Jack-o-lanterns. Use extreme caution when decorating with candle lit Jack-O-Lanterns, and supervise children at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-O-Lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches and be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn including doorsteps, walkways and yards.
dot Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, ensuring nothing blocks escape routes.
dot

Use flashlights as alternatives to candles or torch lights when decorating walkways and yards. They are much safer for trick-or-treaters, whose costumes may brush against the lighting.

dot Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources. Be sure children know how to stop, drop and roll in the event their clothing catches fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish flames.) Cool the burn.
dot

Make sure fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, that the venting is kept clear and unobstructed, and that the exit point is properly sealed around the vent, all of which is to make sure deadly carbon monoxide does not build up in the home.

dot Instruct children who are attending parties at others' homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency.

Dec 23, 2008

Ice and Cold Water Safety


 
 

The Dangers of Ice and Cold Water

 

  • Here in New England ice and cold water safety is an important issue each winter when too many residents are injured from exposure to cold water. Skaters and ice fishermen fall through the ice; boaters and canoeists overturn their crafts. Unleashed pets run onto the ice and people chase after them.

Cold Water Dangers

  • Cold water is any water below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cold water robs the body of heat 25-30 times faster than air.
  • Safety experts estimate that half of all drowning victims die from the fatal effects of hypothermia, not from water in the lungs.

What is Hypothermia?[1]

Hypothermia is severe lowering of the body’s internal temperature. This occurs when the body loses more heat that it can produce, which as a result, prevents the heart and lungs from functioning properly. Hypothermia is caused when the body is exposed to cold, chilling winds or by getting wet. Hypothermia can happen on land or in water and progresses quickly.

 

Symptoms of Hypothermia:

  • Absentmindedness or confusion
  • Lack of coordination and weakness
  • Difficulty speaking or slurred speech
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Semi-consciousness or unconsciousness

To Prevent Hypothermia:

  • Wear layers of warm clothing.
  • Protect your head and hands from the elements by wearing winter hats and gloves/mittens.
  • Keep as dry as possible.
  • Always wear a personal floatation device (PFD) when around cold water.
  • Carry matches in a waterproof container.

How to Help Someone with Hypothermia:

  • First call for medical help immediately!
  • If the situation is safe for you to do so, remove the person from the cold water or cold air.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Keep the victim as dry as possible.
  • Wrap the victim in blankets or in a sleeping bag.
  • Build a fire to warm the victim.
  • Give the victim warm fluids to drink (no alcohol or caffeinated drinks).
  • Seat the victim in a warm shower or warm bath with the arms and legs of the victim out of the water. This allows the core of the body to warm first.

 

 

How thick is "safe" ice?

  • Ice on moving water in rivers, streams and brooks is never safe. The thickness of ice on ponds and lakes depends upon water currents or springs, depth and natural objects such as tree stumps or rocks. Daily changes in temperature cause the ice to expand and contract, which affects its strength. Because of these factors, no one can declare the ice to be absolutely “safe”.

Ice Safety Tips [2] from MEMA

  • Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to rescue you or go for help if you fall through the ice.
  • Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your pet, go for help.
  • New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As the ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
  • Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing. Snow can also hide cracks, weaken and open ice.
  • Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
  • Ice formed over flowing water (rivers or lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally 15% weaker.
  • Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only one inch thick 10 feet away.

What To Do If Someone Falls Through Ice

  • Reach-Throw-Go. If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.  
  • If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction you came from. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.

 This information is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

[1]American Red Cross’ Whale Tales Water Safety Education


[2] Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, February 27,2006, Retrieved online November 13, 2007 from http://www.ci.chilmark.ma.us/Pages/ChilmarkMA_BBoard/memaicesafetytips.pd
Dec 24, 2008
Grilling Safety

Fire in the grill, under hot dogs and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your summer kick-off barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Facts & figures
  • In 2005, gas and charcoal grills caused 3,400 structure fires and 4,900 outdoor fires in or on home properties, resulting in a combined direct property loss of $137 million.
  • Gas grills have a higher fire risk than charcoal grills; leaks and breaks are the leading cause, accounting for two-fifths (41%) of the gas grill structure and outdoor fires.
  • Gas-fueled grills caused an estimated 2,800 home structure fires and 4,400 home outdoor fires in 2005.
Grilling safety tips  
 
Fire in the grill, under hot dogs and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your summer kick-off barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Safety tips

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills must only be used outdoors. If used indoors, or in any enclosed spaces, such as tents, they pose both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
  • Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Place the grill a safe distance from lawn games, play areas and foot traffic.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three-foot "safe zone" around the grill.
  • Put out several long-handled grilling tools to give the chef plenty of clearance from heat and flames when flipping burgers.
  • Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below grill so it cannot be ignited by a hot grill.

Charcoal grills

  • Purchase the proper starter fluid and store the can out of reach of children, and away from heat sources.
  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited, and never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid to get the fire going.

Propane grills

  • Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles. If you determine your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. I f the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Use only equipment with the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturers’ instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it.
Information from the NFPA.org

Dec 23, 2008

Dec 23, 2008

Dec 23, 2008



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