Fire Protection Tips Gary DuBrueler, retired fi re
chief of the Frederick County Fire and Rescue Department in Winchester, Va., offers these tips for reducing fi re risk in our homes.
1. Have working Smoke De-
tectors in each bedroom, out- side sleeping areas, on each fl oor - including the basement. Test them monthly and change the batteries with each time change (to and from daylight savings). Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. FACT: Roughly two-thirds of fi re deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms! (National Fire Protection Asso- ciation)
2. Develop a Home Fire Es- cape Plan with at least two ways out and practice monthly with all household members, including the kids. If you have a two-story home, have an es- cape ladder stored in a conve- nient place. When exiting, stay low to avoid inhaling smoke. Have a planned meeting spot a safe distance from the home such as the mail box, large oak tree, etc. DO NOT RE-ENTER the
home after you are outside! Call 911 once outside. 3. Burn candles ONLY when you are present. Have candles in a non-combustible holder at least a foot from anything that can burn. Blow them out when you leave the room or go to bed. Use fl ashlights for power failures, NOT candles. FACT: On average, every 40 minutes a candle fi re in the home is reported to a U.S. Fire Depart- ment. (NFPA) 4. If you smoke, keep smok- ing materials, including match- es and lighters out of the reach of small children. Make sure cigarettes are completely out before discarding. Use water or sand to extinguish discard- ed materials. NEVER discard smoking materials in vegeta- tion, mulch, fl ower pots or sim- ilar materials. NEVER smoke where medical oxygen is in use or in bed. FACT: The risk of dy- ing from a smoking material fi re increases with age. 5. NEVER leave cooking food unattended. FACT: cooking fi res are the Number One cause of home fi res. ALWAYS unplug
appliances when not in use. Re- place frayed cords on applianc- es before using again. DO NOT unplug an appliance by pulling on cord, this will cause damage to cord.
6. Keep heating devices, in- cluding wood burning stoves, at least 36” away from com- bustable
materials. Do not
overheat a stove, avoid burn- ing unseasoned wood or soft wood (both high in creosote), and have the chimney cleaned annually. Keep a working fi re extinguisher near your stove. 7. Store fl ammable materi- als in approved containers out- side of the home. Storing large amounts of paper and wood or other fl ammable material can add fuel to a fi re. 8. If your clothes catch fi re, DO NOT RUN! STOP, DROP and ROLL to smother fl ames. Teach your children to do this. 9. Call 911 as soon as you are
safely out of the fi re area. Every second counts as fi re increases exponentially with time.
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