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Fire Safety Tips
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Fire Safety Tips Smoke Detectors
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 10 Tips for Fire Safety
From NFPA brochure BR-12F

1.  Install smoke detectors
Smoke detectors can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Install detectors on every level of  your home and outside each sleeping area. (If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.) Test detectors every month, following the manufacturer's directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never borrow a smoke detector's battery for another use - a disabled smoke detector can't save your life. Replace smoke detectors that are more than ten years old.


2.  Plan your escape from fire  (See E.D.I.T.H. below)  
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 houshold practice your escape plan at least twice/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 material unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can't bump them and children can't grab them. 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.


 5.  Give space heaters space
Keep portable and space heaters at least three feet (one meter)
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.


 6.  Matches and lighters are tools, NOT toys
In a childs hand matches and lighters can be deadly. Buy child-resistant 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 a grownup if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.


 7.  Cool a burn
Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.


 8.  Use elctricity safely
If an 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.


 9.  Crawl low under smoke
During a fire, smoke and poisonous gas 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 (30 to 60 cm) above the floor.


10. 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. 

Home Smoke Detectors

Smoke Detectors Save Lives

The majority of fatal home fires happen at night when people are asleep. Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. The poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put you into a deeper sleep. Inexpensive household smoke detectors sound an alarm, alerting you to a fire. By giving you time to escape, smoke detectors cut your risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half. Smoke detectors save so many lives that most states have laws requiring them in private homes.


Choosing a Detector
Be sure that the smoke detectors you buy carry the label of an independant testing laboratory, Several types of detectors are available. Some run on batteries, others on household current. Some detect smoke using an "ionization" sensor, others use a "photoelectric" detection system. All approved smoke detectors, regardless of the type, will offer adequate protection provided they are installed and maintained properly.


Is one enough ?

Every home should have a smoke detector outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. The National Fire Alarm Code, developed by NFPA, requires a smoke detector in each sleeping room for new construction.
On floors without bedrooms, detectors should be installed in or near living areas, such as dens, living rooms, or family rooms.
Be sure everyone sleeping in your home can hear your smoke detectors' alarms. If any residents are hearing-impaired or sleep with bedroom doors closed, install additional detectors inside sleeping areas as well. There are special smoke detectors for the hearing impaired; these flash a light in addition to sounding an audible alarm.

For extra protection, NFPA suggests installing detectors in dining rooms, furnace rooms, utility rooms and hallways. Smoke detectors are not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms or garages - where cooking fumes, steam, or exhaust fumes could set off false alarms - or for attics and other unheated spaces where humidity and temperature changes might affect a detectors operation.


Where to install

Because smoke rises, mount detectors high on the wall or on the ceiling. Wall-mounted units should be mounted so that the top of the detector is 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 cm) from the ceiling. A ceiling-mounted detector should be attached at least four inches (10 cm) from the nearest wall. In a room with a pitched ceiling, mount the detector at or near the ceilings highest point.

In stairways with no doors at the top or bottom, position smoke detectors anywhere in the path of smoke moving up the stairs. But always position smoke detectors at the bottom of closed stairways, such as those leading to the basement, because dead air trapped near the door at the top of a stairway could prevent smoke from reaching a detector located at the top.

Don't install a smoke detector too near a window, door, or forced-air register where drafts could interfere with the detectors operation.



Most battery-powered smoke detectors and detectors that plug into wall outlets can be installed using only a drill and screwdriver, by following the manufacturers instructions. Plug in detectors must have restraining devices so they cannot be unplugged by accident. Detectors can also be hard-wired into the buildings electrical system. Hard-wired detectors should be installed by a qualified electrician. Never connect a smoke detector to a circuit that can be turned off by a wall switch.


False alarms

Cooking vapors and steam sometimes set off a smoke detector. To correct his, try moving the detector away from the kitchen or bathroom, or install an exaust fan.
Cleaning your detector regularly, according to the manufacturer's instructions, may also help.
If "nuisance alarms" persist, do not disable the detector. Replace the detector.



Only a functioning smoke detector can protect you.

Never disable a detector by "borrowing" its battery for another use.

Following manufacturer's instructions, test all your smoke detectors monthly and install new batteries at least once a year. A good reminder is when you change your clocks in the spring or fall: change your clock, change your battery.

Clean your smoke detectors using a vacuum cleaner without removing the detectors cover. Never paint a smoke detector.

Smoke detectors don't last forever. Replace any smoke detector that is more than 10 years old.


Plan and practice

  • Make sure everyone is familliar with the sound of the detectors alarm.

  • Plan escape routes. Know at least two ways out of each room. Agree on a meeting place outside your home where all residents will gather after they escape. Practice your escape plan at least twice a year.

  • Remove obstructions from doors and windows needed for escape.

  • Make sure everyone in the household can unlock doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars should be equipped with quick-release devices and everyone in the household should know how to use them.

  • Whenan alram sounds, leave immediately. Go directly to your outside meeting place and call the fire department.

  • Once you're out STAY OUT ! Never return to a burning building.

Test your smoke detectors monthly.


Change smoke detector batteries at least once a year:

Change your clock, change your batteries!

From NFPA brochure BR-4G



Exit Drills In The Home

From NFPA bulletin BR-8F

How to Survive

  • Install and maintain smoke detectors.

  • Make an escape plan and practice it.

  • Consider installing an automatic fire-sprinkler system


Plan Your Escape

  • Draw a floor plan of your home

  • Agree on a meeting place

  • Practice your escape plan

  • Make Your exit drill realistic


Be Prepared

Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark.


If you live in an apartment building, use stairways to escape. Never use an elevator during a fire.


If you live in a two-story house, and you must escape from a second-story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground. People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their sleeping area and, if possible, should sleep on the ground floor. 

Test doors before opening them. While kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up and touch the door, the knob, and the space between the door and its frame with the back of your hand. If the door is hot, use another route.
If the door is cool, open it with caution.

If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out the smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a light colored cloth or flashlight. If there's a phone in the room, call the fire department and tell them exactly where you are.


Get Out Fast ...

In case of fire, don't stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Go directly to your meeting place and then call the fire department from a neighbor's phone or an alarm box. Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department.


Crawl low under smoke. Smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use your alternate escape plan. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor.

... and Stay Out

Once you are out of your home don't go back for any reason. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them.


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