A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.
Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle. Extinguishers labeled “ABC” work for the majority of fires occurring in homes.
Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out.
Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.
EJFR offers free fire extinguisher training.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Although the popularity of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. At home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
The dangers of CO exposure depend on a number of variables, including the victim’s health and activity level. Infants, pregnant women, and people with physical conditions that limit their body’s ability to use oxygen (i.e. emphysema, asthma, heart disease) can be more severely affected by lower concentrations of CO than healthy adults would be.
A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.
This information was gathered from the NFPA.
Home Fire Sprinklers
Properly installed and maintained automatic fire sprinkler systems help save lives.
Because fire sprinkler systems react so quickly, they can dramatically reduce the heat, flames, and smoke produced in a fire. Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century, protecting commercial and industrial properties and public buildings. What many people don’t realize is that the same life-saving technology is also available for homes, where roughly 85% of all civilian fire deaths occur.
Automatic sprinklers are highly effective and reliable elements of total system designs for fire protection in buildings.
Home Fire Sprinkler Statistics
Home fire sprinklers can control and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.
Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire. In 84% of home fires where the sprinklers operate, just one sprinkler operates.
If you have a fire in your home, the risk of dying is cut by about one-third when smoke alarms are present (or about half if the smoke alarms are working), while automatic fire sprinkler systems cut the risk of dying by about 80%.
In a home with sprinklers, the average property loss per fire is cut by about 70% (compared to fires where sprinklers are not present.)
The cost of installing home fire sprinklers averages $1.35 per sprinklered square foot.
Source: U.S. Experience with Sprinklers
Change Your Clocks / Check Your Batteries
It’s statistically proven that working smoke detectors help save lives. However, the best smoke detector is worthless if the batteries in it are old or have been removed. Please take a moment to check and if necessary, replace the batteries in your smoke detector.
Test the smoke alarm by pushing the test button. Newly released guidance states that you should periodically dust or vacuum your smoke detectors. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.
When purchasing a smoke detector, choose one that has the label of a recognized laboratory. Be sure to position smoke alarms away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should not be closer than 10 feet from a cooking appliance.
Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.
Here’s what you need to know!
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
- Test your smoke alarms every month.
- When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
- Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.
More about staying safe with smoke alarms.
Bicycle Helmet Safety
“Use your head, wear a helmet.” It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes. More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent.
Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.
Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.
When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors. It’s also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility.