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Prevention Tips  

What Children Need to Know What Seniors Need to Know
Designing a Fire Escape Plan for the Family Urban Wildland Fire Safety Tips
Seasonal Home Fire Safety Questions and Answers About Residential Fire Sprinklers


Never play with matches or with a cigarette lighter; and keep them away from your sister, brother and friends.

Make sure your house has a smoke detector; ask grown-ups in your house to check it often to make sure it's working.

Ask your family if they will help you come up with an escape plan to get everyone out of the house in case of a fire or other emergency.

If you see a fire breaking out, quickly tell an adult and leave right away.

If the smoke is bad, cover your mouth with a cloth; crawl low on the floor until you get to the door or window.

While trying to exit the house during a fire, always touch doors with the back of your hand to see if they are hot before you open them. If the door is hot, don't open it; go out the other way in your escape plan. If the door is cool, open it slowly and check to see whether it's safe and clear.

If your clothes catch fire, stop moving, drop to the floor, and roll around to until the flames go out.

Do not go back in; wait outside at the spot where your family members will meet you.

Know how to call for emergency assistance.

Learn your address and phone number.

For more fire safety stuff for kids visit the United States Fire Administration's Kids Page

For more

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Install a smoke detector on every level of your home and in the garage. Check your smoke detector monthly and change batteries as needed or at least once a year.

Have an electrical inspection done on your home by a licensed electrician.

Keep space heater away from flammable materials.

Never cook in loose-fitting clothing that could catch fire over the stove.

Remember to turn off the stove if you are done cooking or going out.

Never, ever, smoke in bed or in overstuffed upholstered chairs.

Keep your address and direction to your home next to your phone, in case you have to call for emergency assistance.

If the smoke is bad, cover your mouth with a cloth; crawl low on the floor until you get to the door or window.

Talk to other seniors in your community about forming a fire prevention group; invite us to a meeting. You can call 727.787.5974 to schedule a life safety education talk.

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The chances of surviving a fire are greater if you are prepared. A fire escape plan is essential to that preparation.
Here are some tips to help your family design a fire escape plan:

  • Include the entire family in your preparations.
  • Map out two escape routes from every room.
  • Purchase chain ladders for escape from floors above the first.
  • Make sure windows can be opened quickly in the event you must exit a fire.
  • Discuss and agree on what to do with a pet if fire breaks out.

NEVER re-enter a burning house for a pet!

  • Designate a place outside the home where family members can meet after escape.
  • In a fire, crawl low on the floor with your mouth and nose covered with a cloth or towel until you can exit.
  • Go to your designated meeting place and stay put!
  • Hold family fire drills and practice escape. Hold these drill both in the day and in the night, it is amazing how different things look in the dark.

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If you choose to construct a house in a wooded area, please remember:

  • Build with fire-retardant materials from the roof down.
  • Make sure your lot is properly cleared of dead brush and trees and any other natural combustibles.
  • Grow trees and bushes at a safe distance from the house; prune them regularly.

If an urban wildfire threats your home;

  • Don't wait until the last minute to get out. Give yourself plenty of time so there is still an available exit route.
  • Take only what you can safely carry with you.
  • Make sure you know how to call for emergency assistance in your area, and be sure you can provide accurate directions to your home.

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Each season presents its own unique home fire safety concerns. In winter, you depend heavily on your heating appliances.
  • Keep your furnace clean and check that the pilot light is working
  • If you use a space heater, keep it away from flammable materials, never use it when you sleep and make sure the wiring is sound.
  • Have all alternative heating sources such as a wood stove examined by an expert to make sure they are functioning properly.
  • Do not use the oven for heating
  • Clean and check fireplaces and chimneys regularly
A holiday Christmas tree is a source of joy; but if you're not careful, it can also lead to a fire.
  • Buy a tree whose needles haven't dried out.
  • Place the tree away from any heat source such as a space heater or fireplace
  • Buy consumer-inspected Christmas tree lights, and do not overload the circuit with wrong wiring.
  • Turn off the tree lights when you go to bed; never leave them on when you're not home.
  • Discard the tree as soon as the holidays are over, and even sooner if it starts to dry out.
Summer is the time for outdoor barbecues; and its also a time that places heavy demands on appliances that cool the house.
  • When using window air conditioning units, take care not to overload circuitry.
  • Have the units serviced by a technician at the beginning of the season.
  • When barbecuing, keep charcoal burners at a safe distance from the house and from anything else that's flammable.
  • Avoid using high-flame charcoal burning fluids.
  • Don't wear loose-fitting clothing while cooking (Anytime of the year)

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Q: What new technologies are being used to fight residential fires?

A: Residential sprinklers are being introduced to homes all over the United States. Studies conducted by the United States Fire Administration show the combined use of smoke detectors and residential sprinklers can cut the risk of death by fire by approximately 75%.

Q: What are residential sprinklers?

A: Unlike fire sprinklers in commercial buildings, residential sprinklers use narrow plastic piping that requires minimal water pressure from the tap leading to you home to transport water to the source of a fire. Residential sprinklers are recessed instead of prone from the ceiling. They are available in a wide array of aesthetically appealing colors.

Q: Why are residential sprinklers beneficial?

A: Residential sprinklers can contain a fire and prevent it from spreading to other parts of a home. Only the sprinklers in the fire area are activated during a fire.

Q: Who should have residential sprinklers?

A: Everyone. No matter whether you live in an apartment, a townhouse, of a single family residence, a residential sprinkler system can save your life. Just as seat belts have become standard equipment in modern cars, increasingly, new homes often include the option to add residential sprinklers. Older homes can be retro-fitted for residential sprinkler systems.

Q: How much do residential sprinklers cost?

A: Just as construction prices vary from region to region, so do costs associated with residential sprinklers. One rule of thumb is that, in a new home, the cost of a residential sprinkler system is one percent of the total construction cost. Installation requires minimal labor and materials. The cost for retrofitting an existing home with sprinklers may be higher.

Q: Where can people learn more about residential sprinklers?

A: Contact our Fire Prevention Staff at 727.787.5974, or write to:

The United States Fire Administration
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

These messages and recommendations taken in part from Home Fire Safety - Act on it!
Published by the US Fire Administration.

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