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Home Fire Safety

Install smoke detectors

A working smoke detector can alert you if there is a fire in your home. This provides early warning in time to escape a fire. Smoke detectors should be on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom. Test your detectors monthly and change the battery twice a year. Any smoke detector that is more than 10 years old should be replaced.

Plan your fire escape

If fire breaks out you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two ways out from every room - doors and windows. Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet after they escape. Practice these plans every 6 months.

Keep an eye on smokers

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed when you are drowsy can be deadly. Provide smokers with ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes. Ashes from cigarettes can retain heat for 48 hrs.

Cook carefully

Never leave food unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short or rolled-up sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you cannot bump them or children cannot grab them. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until it is cool.

Give space heaters space

Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed. Never refill kerosene heaters inside the house. The fumes are combustible and could catch fire.

Playing with matches

Remember, matches and lighters are tools, not toys - in a child's hands, matches and lighters can be deadly. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where small children can't see or reach them. Teach your children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys, and should only be used by adults or with adult supervision. Teach young children that they should always tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters.

Cool a burn

Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or any other grease or ointment on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately. Never use ice.

Use electricity safely

If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cords that are frayed or cracked. Don't overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improper size fuses.

Crawl low under smoke

During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor. If you find smoke while you are escaping from a fire, find an alternate escape route.

Stop, Drop and Roll

If your clothes catch fire, don't run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll side to side, over and over to smother the flames.