Ten Tips for Fire Safety
1. Install Fire Protection
Smoke detectors are your best early-warning system in the event of fire. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.
Change your batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year. The time change that occurs each spring and fall are good reminders for you to change your smoke detector's battery, or whenever an alarm "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never "borrow" a smoke detector's battery for another use - a disabled detector can't save your life. Replace all alarms that are more than 10 years old. For complete home protection, consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system.
2. Plan Your Escape From Fire
If a fire occurs in your home, you have to get out fast. You and your family should work out an escape plan in advance by drawing a lay-out of your home. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed exits - including windows - from every room. (If you live in an apartment building, use the stairs, not the elevator to escape from fire.) Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet after they escape. Have your entire household practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
3. Keep an Eye on Candles and Smokers
Most candle or cigarette fires are the result of careless disregard. Never leave a candle or cigarette unattended, especially with pets or children nearby. Always ensure that candles and cigarettes are completely extinguished before going to sleep or leaving home to prevent re-kindle of those materials. Avoid fire danger by placing candles or ashtrays away from combustible materials (such as bedding, drapes, or papers).
Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be fatal. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays, and soak butts with water before discarding them.
4. Remember: Matches and Lighters are Tools, Not Toys
Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where kids can't see or reach them, preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach children that matches and lighters are tools, for grown-ups only. Teach young children to tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.
5. Cook Safely
Never leave cooking unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles, and wear clothes with short, rolled-up or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can't bump them and children can't grab them. Enforce a "kid-free" zone three feet around your kitchen range. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and remove the pan from the heat source. Never put water on a grease fire, it will only spread the fire not extinguish it.
6. Give Space Heaters Space
Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and turn them off when you leave home or go to sleep.
7. Use Electricity Safely
If an electric appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Plug only one electrical cord into each receptacle. Avoid running any cords under rugs. Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improper-size fuses.
8. Cool a Burn
Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never apply ice, butter or any other ointment on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.
9. Crawl Low Under Smoke
If you encounter smoke while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternative escape route. If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor, where the air will be cleaner.
10. Stop, Drop and Roll
If your clothes catch fire, don't run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cool the burn with water and call for help.