Safety Tips

Fire Safety & Evacuation

  • Do not use elevators during a fire evacuation.
  • Familiarize yourself to the location of the fire alarm, pull stations, and locations of portable fire extinguishers. Know how to use portable fire extinguishers. Know which type of fire extinguisher to use depending on the type of fire.
  • If you discover a fire, immediately alert the building occupants of the fire and do not re-enter the building. Dial 911 from a nearby location.
  • Install and maintain smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Smoke detectors should be located on each level of your home and outside every bedroom.
  • Know two ways to get out of every room in your house.
  • Know whether your children will wake up to the sound of the smoke detector. If they don't, install a smoke detector closer to their bed or have a plan in place to wake them in case of fire.If you discover a fire, immediately alert the building occupants of the fire and do not re-enter the building. Dial 911 from a nearby location.
  • Plan and practice fire drills with all family members using alternate means of escape, including not being able to use the main exit.
  • Upon the activation of the smoke detector or the detection of a fire:
    1. Begin evacuation procedures immediately.
    2. Dial 911.
    3. Assist or direct others to the exit.
    4. Close doors behind you when leaving the building.
    5. Assemble in a designated area, away from the building.
    6. Take a head count to assure that everyone has exited the building safely.

Don't Get Burned

  • Always turn pot handles in towards the stove. Keep young children away from the oven door.
  • Coal, wood, and pellet stoves need space. Keep curtains, furniture, and paper away from the stove. Never leave a child alone near a stove.
  • Keep children, especially crawlers and toddlers, away from furnaces and heating vents.
  • Many fires are started by children playing with matches or lighters. These are tools not toys. Remember, children are no match for fire.
  • Never hold a child while you drink or handle hot beverages. Keep cups of coffee or tea out of children's reach.
  • Portable kerosene heaters can be dangerous. Never refuel a heater while it is still hot and only refuel outdoors. Only use kerosene as a fuel. Watch children closely. It is easy for a child to fall into or against a portable heater.
  • To avoid scalds and save money on utility bills, turn down the temperature of the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Always test the water before getting into the tub. Never place a child or infant into the tub without first placing your hand in the water to make sure it is not too hot.

Holiday Fire Safety

  • Always unplug the tree lights before leaving the house or before going to bed.
  • Any artificial tree should be flame-retardant.
  • Any type of paper or combustible decorations should be kept away from heat sources such as lights.
  • Candles should be placed on a non-tipping stand.
  • Do not place cords under doorways or beneath rugs.
  • If you have decorative lights outside, use only those bulbs designed for outdoor use.
  • If you plan to hang stockings on the fireplace, do not start a fire in the fireplace.
  • Keep the tree fresh by checking the water daily and adding more when necessary.
  • Keep the tree three (3) feet away from exits or heating sources. Place the tree near an outlet so cords are not running across hallways and rooms. This prevents a tripping hazard.
  • Look for worn, frayed or broken cords.
  • Never allow candles to burn unattended or while everyone is sleeping.
  • Never leave candles burning when leaving the house for any reason.
  • Place the Christmas tree in a sturdy base or tree stand. If you have pets, secure the tree or tie the tree to prevent it from tipping.
  • REMEMBER: Dry wood is a fire hazard!
  • When the tree becomes dry, remove the tree from the home. Do not place the tree in a garage or next to the house.
  • When selecting a Christmas tree, shake the tree or run your fingers through the branches. If the needles fall off the tree, the tree is too dry.
  • When decorating the tree, use only approved lights. Follow directions and do not use more than the recommended number of sets.

Keep Your Summer Cool

  • Fans and air conditioners should not be used with electrical extension cords. They should be plugged directly into an outlet.
  • When going swimming, always supervise your children. Never leave the pool area for even a moment.
  • Be sure to store the gasoline that you use for the lawnmower, in an all metal safety-type can, outside of the house or in a garage or shed.
  • Never store gasoline or propane indoors. They should be stored outside the home.

Grilling Fire Safety

As grilling season approaches, remember recipes for fire safety.

  • People with gas grills should take extra precautions. In 2003-2006, gas-fueled grills were involved in 81 percent of reported home grill fires and were involved in 6,400 home fires, including structure and outside fires. The leading cause of gas grill fires was a leak or break in hoses. 
  • Although gas grills are used approximately one-and-a-half times more often than charcoal grills, they were involved in five times as many fires. Charcoal or other solid-fueled grills were involved in 1,300, or 16 percent, of home grill fires. The leading cause of these fires was something that could burn being located too close to the grill. 
  • In 2007, approximately 9,600 people went to hospital emergency rooms because of thermal burns caused by grills. About one-third of the burns from gas grills happened while lighting the grill. Gasoline or lighter fluid was involved in roughly one-quarter of charcoal or wood grill burns. Children under five accounted for roughly one-quarter of thermal grill burns. Most of these burns occurred when the child bumped or touched the grill.

Grill Safety Tips

  • Use propane and charcoal grills in outdoor areas only.
  • Make sure the grill is located well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eavesand overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area: declare a three foot "kid-free zone" around the grill.
  • Use long-handled grilling tools to give plenty of clearance from heat and flames.
  • Remove grease or fat build up from the grills and in trays below the grill so it cannot ignite.
  • Never leave the grill unattended.

Gas Grills

  • Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year by applying a light soap and water solution to the hose. If there is a propane leak, it will release bubbles. If you do find a leak and there is no flame, do the following:
    • Turn off the gas tank and grill.
    • If the leak stops, have the grill serviced by a professional before using it again.
    • If it does not stop, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas at any point while cooking, get away from the grill immediately and call the fire department.
  • Use only equipment with the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to set up the grill and maintain it. 
  • Never store propane gas tanks in buildings or garages. If you store a gas grill inside during the winter, disconnect the cylinder and leave it outside. 

Charcoal Grills

  • If you use a "charcoal chimney" to start charcoal for cooking, use a long match to avoid burning your fingers when lighting the paper.
  • If you use starter fluid, only use charcoal starter fluid and never add charcoal fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited.
  • Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquid to get the fire going.
  • Keep charcoal fluid away from children and heat sources.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals cool completely before disposing of them in a metal container.

First Aid for Burns

  • Burns often cause shock. Shock can include: loss of consciousness, convulsions, reduced blood pressure and shivers. If the person is in shock:
    • Lay the person flat
    • Keep warm with a clean sheet
    • Take to the hospital
    • Do not give food or drink
  • Call your doctor for any burn except those that are red, sore, and not blistered.
  • Do not open blisters.
  • Do not put butter, greasy ointments, or other home remedies on the burn.
  • Do not remove clothing stuck to the wound.
  • For burned skin that is blistered white, charred, or brown, cover with a clean, wet cloth and see your doctor.
  • Place the burned area in cool water immediately to reduce pain.