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Prevent House Fires

3 Key Ways to Protect Your Family From Fire

Install Smoke Detectors

Smoke is responsible for 3 out of 4 fire deaths. Pure and simple, smoke detectors save lives. The loud siren at the first sign of smoke will give your family those extra few minutes to escape safely.

Since smoke rises, smoke detectors should be installed on ceilings or walls between six and twelve inches from the ceiling. Avoid placing detectors high in corners where the wall and ceiling meet. Also, avoid installing detectors within three feet of an air supply register or return. Smoke could be pushed or pulled away from the detector by air flow. For further information, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Test it once a month. Change batteries at least twice a year.

Establish an Escape Plan

Have frequent family meetings to establish escape routes from your dwelling. Every room should have 2 means of escape. Rope ladders are recommended for upper floor windows. Have practice drills every 3 months.

Place Fire Extinguishers Throughout the Home

Type A : to extinguish wood, paper and fabric fires. Keep one in the garage and the workshop.

Type B : to extinguish grease, oil, gasoline, petroleum and other flammable liquid fires. Keep one in the kitchen, the garage and the workshop.

Type C : to extinguish electrical fires. Keep one in the kitchen and the laundry room.

Type ABC : for extinguishing all three types of fires; the most convenient to buy, in that it will cover all three combustible types listed above.

Surviving A Large Fire

How to Get Out Safely

1. Stay calm so you can think clearly.
2. If door is closed, feel it from bottom to top, as well as the knob. If either is cool, you may open the door.
3. Brace foot and shoulder against the door and open slowly. If there is light smoke, crouch low and crawl to the nearest exit with a wet cover over your nose and mouth.
4. Stay low to avoid smoke/toxic gases that collect on ceilings.
5. Close all doors behind you.
6. Never use an elevator.
7. Call the fire department. Never go back and get anything!

If You Are Trapped

1. Don’t panic! If you exert yourself, you will breathe faster and take in more smoke/toxic gases that can burn your lungs or cause you to become unconscious.
2. Feel door from bottom to top and knob. If hot or warm, stuff clothing/towels in the cracks to keep out the smoke/toxic gases.
3. Open a window at the top to let out heat/smoke collecting on the ceiling. Open window at the bottom and bend down to breathe in fresh air. Never open a window if smoke is rising from a lower floor.
4. Stand by the window, waving something, and wait for rescue.

If You Catch Fire

1. STOP where you are. Moving or running feeds air to the flames and worsens the fire.
2. DROP to the floor. If you stand up, the fire can burn your face. Fold your arms high on your chest to protect your face.
3. ROLL slowly on the floor or ground, or in a rug or blanket, if you can.
4. COOL off as soon as possible with water for first and second degree burns. For third degree burns, seek medical attention immediately.

Home Fire Prevention/Extinguishment Tips

Electrical Fire Prevention

Electric Blankets, Heating Pads

Never fold or roll blanket — heat will build up in wires, igniting blanket and rest of bed. Unplug and smooth flat when not in use. Don’t leave a heating pad on for more than 30 minutes. Never fall asleep with it on. Set alarm clock to awaken in 30 minutes, if necessary.

Wires, Plugs & Extension Cords

Keep down the number of cords in one outlet or cord will overheat, causing sparks. Never run cords under rugs, behind radiators or across doorways where they can become worn. Have broken cords, switches making sparking sounds, and hot plugs professionally repaired. Don’t mask problem with electrical tape. Be sure to use proper gauge extension cord — especially with power tools and high wattage appliances.

Fuses, Light Bulbs

Use only proper size fuse, or circuit will be overloaded, wiring will overheat, deteriorate, and start a fire. If bulb is too large, overheating can occur in cord, shade, socket, wiring or fixture, igniting combustibles.

Portable Space Heaters

Use one with thermostat (not just switch) that shuts off by itself when tipped over. Plug directly into own outlet. Use in area free of combustibles and well ventilated for heat escape. Never leave on overnight.

Clothes Dryers

Never leave synthetic fabrics, plastics, rubber or foam in the dryer for longer than the manufacturer’s recommended time. Clean lint screen before and after use. Keep area free of combustibles. Dryers must be vented to outside and plugged into own outlet.

Personal Grooming Appliances

Hair dryers, curling irons, hot rollers, makeup mirrors, and electric razors must be away from combustibles while in use. Disconnect after use. Never fold/crimp cords or insulation will be ruined, exposing wires which can short out and spark.


Never leave vaporizer unattended or near combustibles. Keep water level ample. Check that cord at the plug is not too hot. If it is, disconnect immediately. Use in own outlet or with heavy-duty extension cord.

How to Fight Small Electrical Fires

Switch off appliance and pull out plug. Smother fire with blanket or Type C extinguisher. Never try to cool with water because water conducts electricity and can give you an electrical shock.

Cooking Fire Prevention

Greasy Pan

Never heat cooking oil and leave room. A flame can ignite spontaneously! Keep combustibles away from stove, especially loose sleeves or scarves. Hot grease can spatter and ignite any paper, cloth, or wood materials nearby.

Fire In Oven

Avoid letting grease build up in any part of oven. A greasy broiler can catch fire even during preheating. If there is too much fat on a piece of meat, the grease can flare up and start a fire.

How to Fight Small Cooking Fires

Shut off stove or oven, smother pan with lid/Type B extinguisher or baking soda. Smother fire in oven by keeping door closed and/or throwing baking soda on food. Never move pan; it will fan the fire or spatter grease. Never turn on the exhaust fan or use water; fan will draw up flames. Let fat cool in oven or else contact with air may make fire flare up again.

Gas Fire Prevention

Leaking Gas

Never enter an area with a lighted match or cigarette if you smell gas from a pipe, heater or stove. The smallest spark or flame could ignite gas in the air and cause an explosion.

How to Fight Small Gas Fires

Shut off gas supply. Smother with rug, blanket or Type B extinguisher or cool with water. Ventilate the area to let gases out. Always call fire department to have the area pipes checked for further hazards. Then call the gas company. Note: If there is a gas fire, it may be better to let the gas burn rather than extinguish the fire which would let the gas fill the room or house creating the potential for an explosion. Therefore, the primary key is to shut off the gas supply and call the fire department.

Storage Fire Prevention

Oil Soaked Rags

Dry out by spreading in a well-ventilated room so heat can escape, then wash. Never put oily rags in a pile because they can ignite themselves. Store in labeled metal containers sealed with a tight lid.

Barbecue Charcoal

Store unused coal in a cool, dry place because damp coal can ignite itself. Use metal pail/garbage can with tight lid and place in open space where heat can escape if self-ignition should occur.

Flammable Liquids

Never use or store in room with pilot light, or too close to hot light bulbs because vapors in air can easily be ignited. Store in cool, dry room in labeled metal containers with tight lid.

Stacks of Newspaper

Avoid storing in a damp, warm place because newspapers generate heat and can ignite themselves. Store in cool, dry place at least 3 feet away from any heat-generating source, such as a pilot light.

How to Fight Small Storage Fires

Smother with blanket or rug to cut off air supply. Use Type B extinguisher for rags, charcoal, liquids/solvents, hair spray/glue and Type A extinguisher for newspapers.

Heating Fire Prevention

Fireplace Wood Stoves

Use only dried woods (less smoke, dirt), never flammable liquids. Dispose of cool ashes in lidded metal container. Never leave fire unattended. When burning, keep damper open, keep flammable material away and glass door/screen closed.

Furnaces, Radiators, Water Heaters

Install properly and safely away from walls and ceilings. Never put combustibles on or near units. Keep ducts and filters dust-free by cleaning several times a year with unit shut off.

How to Fight Small Heating Fires

Call the fire department if stove pipe is red or fire is visible in or at top of chimney. For furnaces, radiators, water heaters, immediately shut off. Smother if electrical, only use water/Type A extinguisher if gas fired. Drown fire in fireplace with baking soda, water or Type A extinguisher up chimney.

If you have any questions concerning fire prevention, contact us at 828-5528.