FIRE – PREPARE NOW
- Know how to respond to different fire types.
- Make ABC extinguishers accessible on every floor (call Fire Department for training).
- Install smoke detectors: test once each month; replace batteries at least once each year.
- Identify 2 escape routes from each room.
- Conduct fire drills.
- Make sure windows are not nailed/painted shut.
- Establish outside meeting place; never go back into a burning building.
- Know where flammable materials are in home/garage; properly dispose.
- Regular inspect/clean chimneys.
- Do not overload electrical outlets.
- Keep folding/chain-style ladder stored in each upstairs bedroom.
- Mark windows of children or others who may not self-rescue.
- Make sure address is clearly visible, and the fire trucks can reach your home.
SMOKE DETECTORS AND FIRE SAFETY: A GUIDE FOR OLDER AMERICANS
- Fire is a Major Destroyer of Property – and Lives
- Each year in the United States fires kill approximately 6,000 people, injure and additional 100,000 and cause more than $7 billion worth of property damage.
- Older people are at greatest risk. The risk of fire death for Americans age 65 and over is three times greater than the risk for adults under 65.
- Hospital stays of more than 40 days are common for elderly burn victims.
There Are Five Leading Causes of Fires at Home
- Heating sources, like furnaces, woodstoves and space heaters
- Electrical distribution
- Careless smoking
A Smoke Detector Can Make The Difference…
…80 percent of all fire deaths take place in residences not equipped with working smoke detectors.
…smoke detectors can provide early warning of fires, allowing time for families to escape and firefighters to arrive before the fire grows.
Buying Your Smoke Detector
- Smoke detectors are inexpensive to buy – many models range in price from $10 to $20, and can be purchased at most hardware and department stores.
- Smoke detectors make thoughtful gifts for friends and relatives
Installing Your Smoke Detector
- Smoke detectors are easy to install. Simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Normally you only have to secure the detector with a few screws… which takes just minutes. If you need assistance, ask a neighbor, relative, or the local fire department.
- Smoke detectors should be installed on each level of your home.
Taking Care of Your Smoke Detector
- Once a month smoke detectors should be tested. Most have a test button to press. Or, you can use the smoke of a candle beneath the detector until you hear the alarm.
- Once a year batteries should be replaced. Take off the smoke detector cover, remove the old battery and insert a new one.
- When you clean your house, don’t forget your smoke detectors. Simply use the vacuum cleaner to clean dust away from the detector’s air vents.
Fire Safety Tips
Fire prevention is still the best method of fire safety, and since some older people have problems moving quickly – and suffer more when injuries and smoke inhalation occur – it is essential to prevent fires from happening at all.
- Plan an escape route from your home or apartment – plan two routes, if possible – and practice this plan.
- Never smoke in bed. Don’t smoke in your favorite, comfortable chair when you feel drowsy or drink alcohol.
- Do not empty ashtrays that may contain smoldering materials until they are completely out.
- Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing when cooking over a stove and never leave your cooking unattended – even for a moment … be sure all the burners are off when you have finished.
- Do not use towels as potholders. They ignite easily if they are placed too near a burner.
- Place a rubber mat in front of your stove, to prevent you from slipping and falling against it.
- A circuit breaker or fuse that constantly trips or blows may be a sign of a possible electrical problem. Call an electrician or other qualified person to check the wiring.
- Keep anything that might burn away from space heaters.
- Check all appliance cords for fraying and exposed wires.
- Sleep with your bedroom door closed. This helps keep any smoke and flames from reaching you.
- Keep a whistle, a flashlight, and your eyeglasses near your bed. In the event of a fire, smoke and heat usually rise so bend low, or crawl if necessary, and get out quickly.
- If your clothes catch on fire, cover your face, drop to the floor and roll until the flames have gone out. Or drape a large blanket or towel around your body to extinguish the flames.
- For additional information on smoke detectors and home fire safety practices, call your local fire department or write to:
United States Fire Administration
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
Your Smoke detector – It’s a Real Protector.
PROTECT YOUR DREAM FROM WILDFIRE
Access to your home
- Driveways and bridges must be strong enough to carry heavy emergency vehicles, including bull dozers hauled on big trucks
- Be sure that dead-end roads and long driveways have turnaround areas wide enough for emergency vehicles. A typical fire truck needs a 45-foot turning radius.
- Identify at least two exits from your neighborhood
- Clear flammable vegetation at least 10 feet from roads and five feet from driveways.
- Cut back overhanging tree branches above roads.
- Make sure your address is clearly visible from the road so firefighters can find your home.
- Remove dead branches overhanging roof.
- Remove any branches within 15 feet of chimney.
- Clean all dead leaves and needles from roof and gutters.
- Cover chimney outlet and stovepipe with nonflammable screen of ½ inch or smaller mesh.
- Install a roof that meets a fire resistance classification of “Class C” or better.
- Build home away from ridge tops, canyons, and areas between high point on a ridge.
- Build home at least 30 feet from your property line.
- Use fire resistive building materials, especially on exterior.
- Limit the size and number of windows that face large areas of vegetation.
- Install only dual-paned or triple-pained windows and shutters.
- Reduce the number of trees in heavily wooded areas.
- Create a “defensible space” by removing all flammable vegetation a minimum of 30 feet from all structures and replacing with fire resistive plants.
- Choose ornamental landscaping plants that are fire resistive.
- Space native trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart.
- On slopes exceeding 55 degrees, remove flammable vegetation out to 120 feet or more.
- On trees taller than 18 feet, prune lower branches within ten feet of the ground.
- Remove stacks of construction materials, pine needles, leaves and other debris from yard.
- Stack woodpiles at least 15 feet from all structures and clear away flammable vegetation within 10 feet of woodpiles.
- Locate Liquid Propane Gas tanks at least 50 feet from any structure and surround with access to your closest emergency water source.
- Contact your local fire department to see if open burning is permitted in your area: if so, obtain a burning permit.
Emergency water supply
- If your water comes from a well, consider an emergency generator to operate the pump during a power failure.
- Maintain an emergency water supply that meets fire department standards: +a community water hydrant system; + a cooperative emergency storage tank with neighbors; + a minimum storage supply of 1,000 gallons on your property, fitted with a fire hose connected so firefighters can use it easily.
- Clearly mark all emergency water sources.
- Create easy firefighter access to your closest emergency water source.