SYLVANIA FIRE – EMS DEPARTMENT – SAFETY EDUCATION

The fire department can provide information and help on various fire safety topics as well as other home hazards. Here is a list of the most common asked for information.

  • Smoke Detectors
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Escape Plans
  • Candle Safety
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Vehicle Refueling Safety
  • Open Burning Regulations
Smoke Detectors

Household smoke detectors can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a fire. They will alert and wake you, if sleeping, so you can safely escape before being overcome by smoke. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that smoke detectors be installed by all sleeping areas of a home, and on every level of a structure.

  • Test your detector monthly to assure proper operation.
  • Battery powered detectors should have their batteries changed on an annual basis. To make it easy to remember, change them on the last Sunday in October when you change your clocks back to Standard time.
  • Smoke detectors have a life expectancy of about 10 years. Any detector that is older than 10 years should be replaced.
  • Newer homes have the detectors hard wired into the building electrical system. A qualified electrician should do any maintenance or replacement.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that kills more than 250 people in the United States each year. You cannot taste, smell, see, or hear it. Because of these properties it is nicknamed the “silent killer”. CO is produced by incomplete combustion. Usually, CO in homes is produced by malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves or water heaters. It can also be caused by inadequate ventilation of these appliances. Prevention is the best step in avoiding CO poisoning. Have all of your fuel-burning appliances inspected regularly. Underwriter Laboratories recommends at lease once a year.

When selecting a CO Detector select one that is listed as a “single station carbon monoxide detector.” These detectors will detect elevated levels of carbon monoxide and sound an audible alarm.

  • Follow the installation instructions that the manufacturer recommends.
  • Proper installation is an important factor for optimum performance.
  • Maintain your detector in accordance to manufacturer’s requirements.

If your CO detector activates you should follow the recommended procedure that is included in your detector’s use and instruction booklet. Normally, you should contact your fuel supplier (Gas Company) and a fuel-burning appliance maintenance company.

If any occupants are experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning the fire department should be contacted for emergency medical care. Symptoms include nausea, fatigue, headaches, confusion and breathing difficulty.

Portable Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are designed to put out small contained fires. They are not to be used on large or spreading fires. Having a small portable fire extinguisher in your home can increase home fire safety and sometimes lower your home insurance rates.

Fire extinguishers are rated by the size and the type of fire they would be able to extinguish.

  • Type “A” – Fires involving ordinary combustibles, such as paper, wood, cloth rubber or plastics.
  • Type “B” – Fires involving flammable liquids, Gasoline, grease, oils and some paints.
  • Type “C” – Fires involving energized electrical equipment.

A Multi-Purpose – Type ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher is a good type to have in your home.

Before using a fire extinguisher you should make sure everyone in the home has been alerted and is leaving the building, and make sure you call the fire department before attempting to extinguish a fire. You can ask the following questions to help you determine if you should attempt to extinguish a fire.

  1. Is the fire small and contained?
  2. Do I have the proper type of extinguisher for the type of fire?
  3. Is the fire located in an area that is structurally stable?
  4. Is the area free from any other hazards?
  5. Can I safely escape if my extinguishing effort is not effective?
  6. Am I physically and mentally able to use a fire extinguisher?

If you answer, “Yes” to the above questions you should be able to safely attempt to put out the fire with an extinguisher.

Remember the term P.A.S.S. when using a fire extinguisher.
  • P – Pull the safety pin from the top of the extinguisher.
  • A – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • S – Squeeze the trigger handle.
  • S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side at the base of fire until fire goes out.
Fire Escape Plan
Knowing how to escape in the event of a fire in your home or another building could mean the difference between safely getting out of a burning building or sustaining serious injuries or even causing death from being trapped. Each home should have a fire escape plan prepared and practiced on a regular basis. This will assure that everyone living in the home will know how to escape safely in the event of a fire. Here are some guidelines to follow when preparing your Home Fire Escape Plan.
  • Draw a diagram of your home, showing all rooms, doors and windows.
  • Draw a primary escape route from each room. Also show a secondary escape route in the event the primary one is blocked.
  • Identify a safe meeting place outside for family members.

Once a plan is made, it should be practiced so everyone becomes familiar with it. Once all family members know the plan they will be able to react quickly during a fire and safely escape.

Candle Safety

Candle use is very popular. With the increase of use comes an increase of risk for fire. Here are some tips to keep your use of candles safe.

  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, which will not tip over easily. They should be large enough to collect dripping wax and made of a material that will not burn.
  • Place candles on a study, uncluttered surface. Keep away from edges where they could be knocked over by children or pets.
  • Keep candle wicks trimmed to ¼ inch.
  • Extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of their holder of any decorative material.
  • Keep combustible materials at least one foot away and keep candles away from flammable liquids.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended. Extinguish all candles when you leave the room or go to bed.
  • Use of candles in bedrooms is discouraged. Almost half of all candle fires occur in bedrooms.
Never melt wax in a pan, on a stove, or any other unapproved method. Doing so may create dangerously high temperatures which could cause spontaneous ignition of the melted wax. Wax should be melted using a double boiler, or an approved melting device.
Vehicle Refueling Safety
There are a few simple rules to follow when you go to the gas station to fuel your vehicle.
Remember, gasoline is a very dangerous flammable liquid.
  • Always turn your vehicle off before fueling.
  • Remain at the fueling point during fueling.
  • Do not allow individuals under license age to use pump.
  • Do not smoke or use open flame while fueling.
  • Do not use electronic devices such as cell phones.
  • Do not re-enter vehicle while refueling.

Static electricity poses a fire hazard while fueling. A person can reduce the amount of static electricity created by not re-entering the vehicle. Pump users can also discharge static electricity before fueling by touching a metal surface away from the nozzle.

Portable fuel containers should be removed from the vehicle and placed on the ground before filling. The fuel nozzle should be kept in contact with the container at all times.

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