SMOKE ALARMS are lifesavers--but only if they work. Your fire department reminds you to test your smoke alarms each month by pushing the alarm test button. If you have difficulty reaching your alarms, use a broom handle or a cane to gently press the test button for 30 seconds. If the alarm doesn't sound, replace the battery or the alarm immediately.
Remember, only a working smoke alarm can save your life.
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas produced as a by-product of combustion. Any fuel burning appliance, vehicle, tool or other device has the potential to produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide gas. Examples of carbon monoxide producing devices commonly in use around the home include:
Fuel fired furnaces (non-electric)
Gas water heaters
Fireplaces and woodstoves
Lawnmowers, snowblowers and other yard equipment
The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that approximately 200 people per year are killed by accidental CO poisoning with an additional 5000 people injured. These deaths and injuries are typically caused by improperly used or malfunctioning equipment aggravated by improvements in building construction which limit the amount of fresh air flowing in to homes and other structures.
While regular maintenance and inspection of gas burning equipment in the home can minimize the potential for exposure to CO gas, the possibility for some type of sudden failure resulting in a potentially life threatening build up of gas always exists.
FIRE EXTINGUISHERS They remain your best bet if you're on the spot when a fire begins. Fire extinguishers should be mounted in the kitchen, garage, and workshop. Purchase an ABC type extinguisher for extinguishing all types of fires. Learn how to use your fire extinguisher before there is an emergency. Remember, use an extinguisher on small fires only. If there is a large fire, get out immediately and call 911 from another location.
Over the past few years, the use of candles in the home has greatly increased--and so has the number of fires caused by their misuse. The fire department offers the following tips for the safe use of candles.
Secure your candles in sturdy holders and, if possible, place glass chimneys or shades over them. Keep lit candles out of reach of children and pets, and well away from any combustible materials. An unattended candle is an invitation to disaster, so don't forget to snuff out your candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
Remember, you're deliberately bringing fire into your home; respect it. Use a fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying. Don't store newspapers, kindling, or matches near the fireplace or have an exposed rug or wooden floor right in front of the fireplace. Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season and cleaned to remove combustible creosote build-up if necessary. Install a chimney spark arrester to prevent roof fires. When lighting a gas fireplace, strike your match first, then turn on the gas.
If you actually believe that you're immune from cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other ills, at least worry about burning to death.
Never smoke in bed. Don't smoke when you are drinking or are abnormally tired. Use large, deep ashtrays, and empty them frequently. Never dump an ashtray into the trash without wetting the butts and ashes first.
LIGHTERS AND MATCHESRemember to keep all matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children.One-fourth of all fire-deaths of children are from fires started by children. Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children. Never leave children unattended with fire or space heaters. Children are naturally curious about fire, so keep an eye on them. But if a child repeatedly plays with fire or seems to have a morbid fascination with fire, seek professional help at once. If youngsters live with you or stay overnight occasionally, be sure that they know how to escape from every room and are part of your emergency exit plan.
GASOLINE AND OTHER FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS
Those cans aren't painted red just for the fun of it! Flammable liquids should be stored only in approved safety containers, and the containers should be kept outside the house and garage in a separate storage shed. Gas up lawn equipment and snowthrowers outside, away from enclosed areas and any source of sparks or heat. Start the equipment 10 feet from where you filled it with fuel. Don't fill a hot lawn mower, snowthrower, or other motor; let it cool first. Never clean floors or do other general cleaning with gasoline or flammable liquids.