Remember PASS when using a fire extinguisher
- Pull the Pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher.
- Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important - in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.
- Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher. If the handle is released, the discharge will stop.
- Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out.
Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher - different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances.
- Change the batteries in the smoke detectors.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors. It’s the law that carbon monoxide detectors be installed within fifteen feet of every room used for sleeping. Both carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are early warning devices.
- Have the furnace serviced by local professionals.
- Replace the furnace filter. A plugged furnace filter can accelerate carbon monoxide spilling into your home.
We all look forward to the warm feelings, sights, and wonderful smells of the winter holidays. Here are a few holiday and cold weather safety tips for you to consider as you prepare for the upcoming cold months:
- NEVER use the oven as a heating device. Bake the cookies or fruit cake and turn the oven off.
- Never leave cooking of any kind unattended.
- If you use candles, make sure to use them in a safe manner in a fireproof container and away from children, curtains, and pets.
- Follow instructions included with holiday lighting. Use protected power strips in place of extension cords.
- Follow manufacture instruction regarding multiple strings of lights.
- Do not use candles as tree decorations.
- If you have a real tree, keep it watered. Dry trees are a fire hazard.
- Use and maintain supplemental heating devices in accordance with manufacture recommendations.
- Do not leave heating devices unattended or turned on while you are sleeping.
- Provide all heating devices with at least 3 feet of clear space. Keep them away from beds, drapes, furniture, or other combustibles.
- Clean and maintain chimneys, fireplaces, and furnaces regularly. Most fires in wood stoves, fireplaces, and chimneys occur because of lack of regular cleaning.
- Remove ashes from the wood stove or fireplace and place in a noncombustible bucket, even if the fire has been out for what seems like sufficient time. Take the ashes out of the house.
- Check the smoke detectors for proper operation. Change the batteries twice a year.
- Check the carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries twice a year.
- Also, have a family escape plan and practice it.
Exit Drills In The Home (EDITH)
When a fire happens, there is no time for planning. Before an emergency occurs, sit down with your family and make a step-by-step plan for escaping from a fire in your home.
- Draw a floor plan of your home and mark two ways out of every room, especially the bedrooms. Go over these escape routes with every member of your household.
- Agree on a meeting place outside your house where every member of the household will meet after escaping a fire and wait there for the fire department to arrive. This lets you count heads to make sure everyone is there and to tell the fire department if anyone is missing.
- Practice your escape plan at least a couple times a year. Hold a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be a monitor and have everyone take part in the drill.
- A fire drill is not a race, but practice to get out quickly. Remember to be careful.
Each year in the United States almost 3,000 people are killed in home fires. Working smoke alarms increase your chances of surviving a fire by 50%. Smoke alarms are provided to residents based on economic need and/or installed based on a physical need.
What do I do?
- Purchase, install, and maintain smoke alarms in your home.
- Develop and practice a home escape plan with your family.
How many and where?
For minimum protection, install smoke alarms in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, such as the hallway, and on every level of your home. For maximum protection, install additional smoke alarms in each living area of your home.
If an alarm regularly responds to cooking smoke or shower steam, consider the following:
- Replace the alarm with one that has the silence button feature.
- Move the alarm further away to give cooking smoke or steam a chance to dissipate before reaching the unit.
- If ceiling mounted, move unit to a wall.
- If the unit is the ionization type, replace it with a photoelectric detector. This type of alarm is less sensitive to smaller particles and thus less affected by cooking smoke or small amounts of steam. Packaging and/or owner's manual will indicate type of alarm.
Mount smoke alarms in the middle of the ceiling, if possible. For wall-mounted units, place them at least 3' (1 m) from any corner and 4-6" (10-15cm) from the ceiling. Do not install smoke alarms near heating or cooling ducts. In mobile home units, install smoke alarms on inside walls.
- Test smoke alarms every month. For hard to reach units, use a broom handle or stick to press the test button.
- Replace batteries twice a year. Use daylight savings time as your reminder. "Change your clocks... change your batteries."
- If the low-battery signal begins to chirp, replace battery immediately.
- Vacuum the outside covers periodically to remove dust, dirt particles and insects.
Adaptive Smoke Alarms
For more information about adaptive smoke alarms for those with special needs, including talking, strobe (up to 177 candela), vibrating and amplified (up to 90 dB) smoke alarm products, please visit one of the following sites:BRK Electronics
First Alert Gentex
Smoke alarms monitor the air 24 hours a day, every day. After 10 years, it's been on the job for over 87,000 hours. For best protection, replace your smoke alarm units every 10 years.
Do you remember when you installed your smoke alarms or how old they were when you moved in? If you are not sure, it is best to just replace them!
Carbon Monoxide Alarm Failure Predictions
- 1st year: 2 - 3%
- 2nd to 10th year: 16 - 30%
- More than 10 years old: 30 - 50%
- According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 400 unintentional deaths are related to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning each year in the United States. CO is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths. (CDC, 2013)
- An estimated 20,000 people nationwide are treated annually for CO poisoning, but it is believed that many more are misdiagnosed or never seek medical care. (CDC, 2013)
- California law requires new and existing homes to install carbon monoxide alarms. (California Building Code Section 420, 2013)
- Early exposure to CO mimics flu-like symptoms; headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, shortness of breath and fast heart rate.
- CO is a toxic gas that is odorless, tasteless and invisible. CO is produced when fossil fuels burn incompletely due to insufficient oxygen. Fuels include natural gas, propane, kerosene, gasoline, coal, wood and charcoal.
- Sources of CO include the furnace, water heater, gas kitchen range or cooktop, gas clothes dryer, fireplace, space heater, portable generator, charcoal grill, wood-burning stove or an idling vehicle in an attached garage.
- Improper installation or poor maintenance of appliances. Automobile exhaust.
- Inadequate ventilation of appliances, including fuel burning space heaters and portable generators.
- Energy efficient homes that have added insulation, sealed windows and other weatherproofing can become 'airtight' and trap CO inside.
If CO poisoning is suspected, open windows and doors for fresh air. Leave the home and call 9-1-1 immediately!