Fire Safety Tips
Fire requires three things to start: fuel, heat, and oxygen. The fire begins when the fuel reaches its ignition temperature. Fire extinguishers put out fires by removing one of the three elements from the equation.
There are different types of fires:
Class A - Ordinary combustible materials (wood, paper, clothing, etc.). Can be put out by water, which removes the heat from the fire.
Class B - Flammable liquids and gas. Water will not stop these fires. In fact water can cause them to spread.
Class C - Energized electrical equipment (appliances, switches, panel boxes). Water is dangerous with these types of fire because it can increase the risk of electrical shock.
Class D - Specific combustible metals (i.e. magnesium, titanium, potassium). These materials react violently with water. They require special handling.
FIRE HAZARDS IN THE HOME
Check you home for the following:
- Frayed electrical cords.
- Overloaded extension chords.
- Electrical cords under carpet or furniture.
- Matches or lighters in children's reach.
- Fireplaces without screens.
- Combustible material (i.e. paper, fabric) left too close to heat source (i.e. hot water heater, stoves).
- Curtains too close to bulbs in torch-style halogen lamps.
- Pot holders or kitchen towels left too close to stoves.
- Candles left burning with no one in room.
- Material over lamps.
- Smoking in bed.
- Never leave cooking unattended.
- Keep cooking areas clean.
- Always turn pot handles toward the center of the stove.
- Wear short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking.
- Heat cooking oil slowly.
- Teach children to cook safely.
IF A FIRE STARTS
What children should know:
- Fires are scary, loud and confusing.
- Fires can burn very fast.
- Smoke can make a room very dark.
- Never hide or take time to get pets, toys or any belongings.
- Follow you escape plan.
Don't crawl on your belly, because some heavier poisons from the fire could settle on the floor. Check doors to see if they are hot before opening them. If a door feels hot, go to your second escape route. Always get out of the building as fast as you can. Meet outside to make sure everyone is safe and accounted for then call 911. NEVER GO BACK IN THE BUILDING.
If your clothes catch fire:
Stop, Drop and Roll.
Only use a fire extinguisher if:
- The fire department is being called (911).
- The fire is small and is not spreading past its starting point.
- The exit is clear, you are in no danger.
- You can fight the fire with your back to the exit.
- You can stay low to avoid smoke.
- You have the appropriate extinguisher for the type of fire.
- You know how to properly use the extinguisher.
Winter Fire Safety Tips.
Adding insulation to your home can save energy, but it could also lead to a fire. Have your electrical system checked and have deficiencies corrected by a qualified electrician, especially before installing insulation. Always, make sure insulation is kept away from ceiling light fixtures and other heat sources.
2. Fuel-burning furnace
Your furnace gives off heat as well as carbon monoxide - the "silent killer". Clear, colorless and tasteless, it is difficult to detect. If your furnace flue is clogged or loose, or your furnace is malfunctioning, carbon monoxide could be going into your living area instead of up the chimney. Have your flue and furnace inspected regularly by a qualified workman.
3. Wood burning appliances
Wood burning stoves should be air-tight and have a controlled airflow. Be aware of a heavy buildup of creosote in your chimney or stovepipe. If the creosote catches fire, your roof could catch fire too. Clean out creosote build-up! Fireplace chimneys should be inspected and cleaned at least once a year, stovepipe chimneys once a month.
4. Smoke Detectors
Approved-type properly installed and maintained smoke detectors are critical life saving devices. Smoke detectors are designed to warn of fire danger in time to allow for escape or call for help - especially at night (when most fires occur).
Installing smoke detectors:
1. Install at least one smoke detector in the hall leading to the bedrooms.
2. Consider installing additional smoke detectors, especially if your home has more than one level.
3. Make sure smoke detectors are of a type approved by Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada or other recognized testing laboratories.
4. If your detectors are battery operated, check the batteries often to make sure the units are operational.
5. Fire Drills
Practicing fire safety can be fun. Here are some fire safety rules that the whole family can practice together.
- Sketch the layout of each floor, including windows, doors, and stairways. Make sure that every family member is familiar with the layout.
- Work out TWO escape routes from each room and mark them clearly on the sketch.
- Hold frequent fire drills, including some at night, so everyone will know what to do and be able to act quickly in an emergency.
- Assign a member of the family to be responsible for the elderly or the very young to help them escape. A "buddy system" should be organized to ensure their safety.
- Designate a meeting place outside of the home and instruct everyone to go there at once in case of fire.
- COUNT heads, stay together and DO NOT go back into the house for personal belongings.
Now, have someone call the fire department from the nearest available phone by dialing 911.
6. Fire Hazard Prevention
The elimination of all fire hazards is the key to any effective fire safety program.
- Keep trash in covered containers and dispose of it regularly.
- Store paints and other flammable materials in their original containers and in a well ventilated area, away from all fire sources.
- Clean work areas of paint, sawdust, or trash after every do-it-yourself project.
- Don't overload circuits or use frayed electrical extension cords.
- Have all electrical wiring checked by a competent electrician periodically.
- Use only fuses and circuit breakers which bear the labels of nationally recognized certification and testing agencies.
- Never run an extension cord under a rug or behind curtains.
- Do not let large amounts of trash accumulate either indoors or outdoors.