Fire Safety

Fireworks Safety

  • The best way to enjoy fireworks is to visit public fireworks displays put on by professionals who know how to safely handle fireworks.
  • If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal in your area.
  • Never light fireworks indoors or near dry grass.
  • Always have a bucket of water and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while using fireworks.
  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. If a devise does not go off, do not stand over it to investigate it. Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Always read the directions and warning labels on fireworks. If a devise is not marked with the contents, direction and a warning label, do not light it.
  • Supervise children around fireworks at all times.
Barbecue Safety
  • Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - are not blocked.
  • Do not overfill the propane tank.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
  • Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
  • Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
  • Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide could be produced.
    Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.
Campfire Safety
  • Build campfires where they will not spread, away from dry grass and leaves.
  • Keep campfires small, and don't let them get out of hand.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you're done. Stir it and douse it again with water.
  • Never leave campfires unattended.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon
  • buildup.
  • Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  • Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
  • NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel for it may expand in the tank as it warms up.
  • Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep young children away from space heaters--especially when they are wearing night gowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
  • When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Wood Stove and Fireplaces

  • Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard.
  • To use them safely:
  • Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36 inches) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite theses materials.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time.
  • They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.

Furnace Heating

  • It is important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
  • Is the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Other Fire Safety Tips

  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit.
  • Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load.
  • TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a UL-labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.
  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.

Finally . . .

  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean it on a monthly basis.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
  • Contact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on home fire safety.

(Courtesy of the USFA Fire Safety Website)