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1. If you are able to extinguish the fire, do so thoroughly. Grab a fire extinguisher and remember to PASS: pull the pin, aim at the base of the flames, squeeze the extinguisher handle, and sweep from side to side until the fire is extinguished.
2. If you cannot extinguish the fire, run for safety and call for help. Once you are safely away from the fire, call 911 if you have a cell phone, if not go to a neighbor's house and borrow their phone.
3. Crawl beneath the smoke to the closest exit. Fire produces smoke and poisonous gases that can cause lightheadedness or loss of consciousness if inhaled.
4. Check doors and doorknobs for heat. If they are warm to the touch, there could be a fire burning on the other side, so don't go through it.
5. If you get trapped inside, cover all door cracks and vents with whatever you can find. If you can wet the fabric down, do so.
6. If your clothes catch on fire, immediately stop, drop and roll. Cover your face with your hands as you roll, to protect your face from flames.
3 out of every 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms
Ref: National Fire Protection Association
U.S. Fire Administration
American Red Cross
Consumer Products Commission
-National Fire Protection Association
-Centers for Disease Control
-Chimney Safety Institute of America
-National Safety Council
Inspect annually - All chimneys should be inspected and cleaned by a chimney cleaning professional at least once a year, or about once every 80 fires. A thorough cleaning will remove any buildup of creosote, an oily and highly flammable byproduct of burning wood, giving you a safer fireplace.
Check for cracks and loose joints of the firebricks inside the fireplace, and check the exterior masonry for damage. Hire a professional mason to do any repairs—never try to repair firebrick with regular mortar, as the mixture cannot stand up to high heat.
Make sure the fireplace damper opens, closes and seals properly. It should move easily and be free of debris and ashes. For wood burning fireplaces it is recommended that you have it swept out at least once a year at the beginning of winter. Hiring a chimney sweep is the easiest and safest way to remove soot and debris from inside the chimney that could potentially cause a fire. Sweeping the chimney should be left to a professional, as having the appropriate tools and knowledge is necessary. Lastly, Confirm that the chimney cap is firmly attached and in good condition. The cap should include protective screening to keep birds, squirrels, bats, and other pests from entering the chimney.
Clear away tree limbs - prune any overhanging limbs that may be encroaching on the chimney. The can be a fire hazard, may restrict the proper draft of the chimney and could damage the cap.
Clear out ashes - Clean out the firebox once a week, or whenever ash is more than an inch deep. Coals can remain hot for up to three days, so make sure everything is completely cold. Sweep or vacuum the cold ashes and dispose of them outside—wood ashes are perfect for garden beds and compost piles. If shoveling leftover ash into a bucket, you can avoid a cloud of ash by spraying it down with a little bit of water first.
Consider installing heatproof glass doors to improve the energy efficiency of your fireplace. Doors can prevent sparks from escaping the fireplace and damaging the floor. If your fireplace already has glass doors, clean them with a paper towel and glass fireplace door cleaner.
Stock up on good-quality firewood, and store it away from the house to avoid attracting pests. Hardwoods like oak, maple, and birch burn hotter and longer than soft woods like pine. You can also burn specially made fireplace logs, like Duraflame or Pres-to-Logs. Never burn treated or painted wood, which produce dangerous fumes.
If you have a gas fireplace, check to make sure that the pilot light is on and the vents are all clear and working properly. Check the logs, liners, and burners for cracks, and replace any damaged components.
If you have an electric fireplace, check all the wires to make sure none are frayed or broken and all connectors are securely fastened. Vacuum and dust the fireplace on a regular basis.
Smoke alarms can be interconnected wirelessly so when one sounds, they all sound. This is the best way to notify everyone in a home if there is a fire.
Fireworks are beautiful to watch, but they are also dangerous if handled incorrectly. Always supervise children and keep a bucket of water or charged water hose near by.
No matter the type of grill you use, always use them outdoors in a well-ventilated area and follow all the manufacturer's instructions. Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the grill.
Home fires happen more during the winter than in any other season. As you and your family stay cozy and warm, use these tips to avoid fire danger.
1. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heat sources such as fireplaces, space heaters, wood stoves and radiators
2. Never plug heaters into an extension cord; always plug into a wall socket
3. Never leave heat sources unattended
4. Never use heat sources for purposes other than what they are intended for (drying clothes, etc...)
5. Only plug in one electrical appliance for each socket
6. Don't overload power strips; use power strips that have internal overload protection
7. Keep portable generators outside, away from windows and as far away as possible from your house
8. Have a qualified professional clean and inspect your chimney, vents and heat sources annually
9. Store cooled ashes outdoors in a tightly covered metal container a minimum of 10 feet away from your house and nearby buildings
10. If possible, avoid using lighted candles
11. If you must use candles, make sure to put them in sturdy candleholders that won't tip over easily; extinguish candles after each use; never leave burning candles unattended
12. Never connect more than three strands of holiday lights
13. Water your live Christmas tree daily and get rid of your tree after Christmas or when it's dry
14. Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order with fresh batteries
National Safety Council
United States Fire Administration
National Fire Prevention Association
American Red Cross
Ultimate Guide to Home Fire Safety
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