10 Safety Tips

10 Fire Safety Tips From The Harrison Township Fire Department

1. Install Smoke Detectors
WORKING SMOKE DETECTORS can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, 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 twice a year, or whenever a detector "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never "borrow" a smoke detector's battery for another use - a disabled detector can't save your life. Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old.

2. Plan Your Escape From Fire
IF A FIRE BREAKS OUT in your home, you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing 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
Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be deadly. 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 unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short, rolled-up 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. Enforce a "Kid-Free Zone" three feet (one meter) around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until cool.

5. Give Space Heaters Space
Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) 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. Remember: Matches And Lighters Are Tools, Not Toys
In a child's hand, matches and lighters can be deadly. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where small children 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 young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches or lighters to an adult immediately.

7. Cool A Burn
Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or any grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately. Never use ice.

8. Use Electricity Safely
If an electrical 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. Do not tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.

9. Crawl Low Under Smoke
During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor. If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternate escape route.

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.
Carbon Monoxide
The Invisible Killer

What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monixide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, deadly gas. Because you can't see, taste or smell it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it's there. At lower levels of exposure, carbon monoxide may cause numerous health problems. Symptoms of CO poisoning may be as follows:
  • Slight headache and dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness and an euphoric feeling
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Unconsciousness
  • Death
Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Some individuals may be more vulnerable to poisoning though, such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart of lung problems.

Why is it so dangerous?
The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream, which normally carries life-giving oxygen to cells and tissues. As even small amounts are breathed in, carbon monoxide quickly bonds with hemoglobin in the blood, displacing the oxygen that organs need to function. When CO is present in the air, it rapidly accumulates in the blood, forming a toxic compound known as carboxyhemoglobin (COHb).

Where does it come from?
Carbon monoxide is a common by-product of combustion, present whenever fossil fuels are burned. It is produced by malfunctioning or unvented gas or oil home appliances such as furnaces, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens, water heaters and space heaters, as well as fireplaces, charcoal grills and wood burning stoves. Automobile exhaust also contains high levels of carbon monoxide that can seep into a home if a car is left running in an attached garage. All of these sources can contribute to a CO problem in the home.

Usually, carbon monoxide is vented safely to the outside. However, insulation meant to keep indoor air warm during the winter or cool in the summer can help trap CO-polluted air in the home. Furnace heat exchangers can crack; vents and chimneys may reverse direction causing a downdraft, which traps combustion gases in the home.

How can I protect my family?
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) recommends installing at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near the sleeping area. Choose an Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) listed alarm that sounds an audible warning. Look for the UL logo on the package.

Winter Lake Safety
The days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting colder. As the snow falls, and the lakes freeze, and summer yields to old man winter. Many will head out for a day of winter fun and recreation. (Skating, Ice Fishing, Riding Recreational Vehicles, Snowmobiles, and ATVs). The majority of these activities will take place without incident. Unfortunately accidents do happen and in our climate tragedy can strike without warning. To keep a day of fun out on the lake from turning into a nightmare a few simple safety precautions should be followed.
  • DO NOT go out on the Ice alone
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • Wear proper clothing. Items that provide thermal protection as well as floatation. A Personal Floatation Device (PFD) should be included.
  • Carry ice awls and a length of rope.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Using a GPS unit can help to pin point your location for rescuers.
  • Carry a whistle or other audible signaling device.
  • Travel slowly while operating snowmobiles at night so you do not overrun your headlights.
  • Cracks in the ice are common due to expansion. DRY CRACKS do not go all the way through to the water and are relatively safe; WET CRACKS do go through to the water surface and should be avoided. DO NOT cross wet crack and go out further.
  • Large temperature fluctuations require people to stay off the ice.