To receive one training credit, please read the article below and answer the following questions.
The United States has one of the highest fire death and injury rates in the world. Fire, in the form of flames and smoke, is the second leading cause of accidental death in the home. Fire experts agree that a key to fewer fires is a greater awareness of how accidents can be prevented.
Sources of Fire
Supplemental Home Heating The use of supplemental room heaters, such as wood and coal burning stoves, kerosene heaters, gas space heaters and electrical heaters can be a source of fire in your home, if used improperly.
Wood Stoves Recommendations
- Do not use wood burning stoves and fireplaces, unless they are properly installed and meet building codes.
- Follow label instructions on the stove, which recommends an inspection twice monthly.
- Have chimneys inspected and cleaned by a professional regularly.
- Use a code-specified or listed floor protector. It should extend 18 inches beyond the stove on all sides. This will reduce the possibility of the floor being ignited.
- Never burn trash in a stove because this could overheat the stove.
- Gasoline and other flammable liquids should never be used to start wood stove fires. Gasoline will ignite and explode.
Kerosene Heaters Recommendations
- Check with your local fire marshal regarding local and state codes and regulations for using a kerosene heater.
- Never use gasoline. Even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire. Use properly labeled containers. It will reduce the chance of mistaking gasoline with kerosene.
- Place heater so it cannot be knocked over or trap you in case of fire.
- Use 1-K kerosene because grades other than 1-K contain much more sulfur and will increase sulfur dioxide emissions, posing a possible health problem.
- Never fill the heater while it is operating.
- Keep the room in which the heater operates ventilated. This will prevent an indoor air pollution problem.
- Keep flammable liquids and fabrics away from open flames.
- Never try to move the heater or try to smother the flames with a rug or blanket if a flare-up occurs. Activate the manual shut-off switch and call the fire department.
Portable Electric Heaters Recommendations
- Operate the heater away from combustible materials. Do not place heaters where towels or fabrics could fall on the appliance and start a fire.
- Avoid using extension cords unless absolutely necessary. If you must use an extension cord, make sure it is marked with a power rating at least as high as that of the heater itself. Keep the cord stretched out. Do not permit the cord to become buried under carpeting or rugs. Do not place anything on top of the cord.
- Never place heaters on top of furniture, cabinets, or tables.
Cooking Equipment Recommendations
- Never place or store pot holders, plastic utensils, towels and other non-cooking equipment on or near the range because those items can be ignited.
- Roll up or fasten long loose sleeves with pins or elastic bands while cooking. Do not reach across the range while cooking. Long loose sleeves can catch on fire and can catch on pot handles, overturning pots and pans, causing scalds.
- Do not place candy or cookies on the top of ranges. This will reduce the attraction kids may have for climbing on cooking equipment, thus reducing the possibility of their clothing catching on fire.
- Do not leave your stove unattended for long periods of time, while cooking
Cigarette Lighters and Matches
Each year, more than 200 deaths are associated with fires started by cigarette lighters. About two thirds of these result from children playing with lighters. Most of the victims are under five years old.
- Keep lighters and matches out of sight and out of the reach of children. Children as young as two are capable of lighting cigarette lighters and matches.
- Never encourage or allow a child to play with a lighter or to think of it as a toy. Do not use it as a source of amusement with a child.
- Always check to see that cigarettes are extinguished before emptying ashtrays. Stubs that are still burning can ignite trash.
Materials That Burn
Your home is filled with materials and products that will burn if ignited. Upholstered furniture, clothing, drapery fabrics, and liquids, such as gasoline and volatile solvents are involved in many injury-causing fires each year. Most of these fires could be prevented.
- Look for furniture designed to reduce the likelihood of furniture fire from cigarettes. Furniture manufactured today has greater resistance to ignition by cigarettes than upholstered furniture manufactured 10 or 15 years ago.
- Always check furniture where smokers have been sitting for improperly discarded smoking materials. Ashes and lighted cigarettes can fall unnoticed between cushions or under furniture.
- Do not place or leave ashtrays on the arms of chairs, where they can be knocked off.
- Do not smoke in bed. Smoking in bed is a major cause of accidental fire deaths in homes.
- Locate heaters or other fire sources three feet from the bed to prevent the bed catching on fire.
- Consider purchasing clothing and sleepwear made of fabrics such as 100% polyester, nylon, wool and silk that are difficult to ignite and tend to self-extinguish.
- Consider purchasing garments that can be removed without having to pull them over the head. Clothes that are easily removed can help prevent serious burns.
Early Warning and Escape
Many fire deaths and fire injuries are actually caused by smoke and gasses. Victims inhale smoke and poisonous gasses that rise ahead of the flames. Survival depends on being warned as early as possible and having an escape plan.
- Purchase a smoke detector if you do not have one. When installing the detector, place it either on the ceiling or 6-12 inches below the ceiling on the wall. Locate smoke detectors away from air vents or registers. At a minimum, smoke detectors should be located near bedrooms and one on every floor.
- Never disconnect a detector. Consider relocating it rather than disconnecting it, if it is subject to nuisance alarms, such as from cooking.
- Replace the battery annually, or when a chirping sound is heard.
- Follow the manufacturer's instructions about cleaning your detector. Excessive dust, grease or other material in the detector may cause it to operate abnormally.
Planning ahead, rehearsing, thinking, and acting clearly are keys to surviving a fire. How prepared are you?
- Establish advanced family planning for escape. It is important to have a plan for your family to escape from your home in addition to having working smoke detectors. Never re-enter a burning building!
- Include small children as part of the discussion and rehearsal. It is especially important to make sure they understand that they must escape; they can't hide under a bed or in a closet.
- Rehearse your escape plan several times a year with your family. Determine a meeting place near your home, but at a safe distance, so everyone can be accounted for once outside.