October2013 SecurAlert

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Some great information on the "best practices" for fire prevention and fire safety!

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October2013 SecurAlert

  1. 1. This issue of SecurAlert is dedicated to the memory of the more than 300 Chicagoans who lost their lives and the more than 90,000 citizens who became homeless when 3.3 square miles of the city were consumed in an epic conflagration. Fire Facts - 2012: In helping better protect your home and offices consider the facts. The National Fire Protection Association recently released the latest statistics on fires in the US during 2012: n There were 480,500 structure fires in the US resulting in almost $10 billion in property damage. n Over 2,800 persons lost their lives due to fires with nearly 17,000 suffering injuries. n 25% of home fires occurred in a bedroom; 24% occurred in the living room, family room or den; and n n n n n n 16% of all home fires were started in the kitchen 60% of fire-related deaths in a home occurred in homes with either no smoke detectors or where a detector did not operate (usually due to a bad battery). ½ of all fire-related deaths took place between the hours of 11:00 PM and 7:00 AM. Cooking is the leading cause of house fires in the United States. According to the NFPA, 40 percent of house fires and 36 percent of fire-related injuries are caused by cooking fires. Most cooking fires start when an oven or stove is left unattended. Many other cooking fires begin when items are left too close to cooking equipment and begin to burn. Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. The NFPA estimates that nearly one in four people killed in fires in the United States were killed in smoking-related fires. Most smoking fires start when a cigarette, cigar or pipe comes in contact with upholstered furniture, such as couches and chairs, or bedding and mattresses. Many times smokers will fall asleep with a lit cigarette, which then ignites the furniture around them. Heating-related fires are the second most common cause of house fires after cooking fires and the second most common cause of fire deaths after smoking-related fires. Most heating-related fires occur in December, January and February. The majority of heating-related fires are not caused by a home’s furnace but rather fixed and portable space heaters.
  2. 2. Smoke Detecter = Life Saver As noted earlier, the majority of firerelated deaths that occur in the home are due to either a smoke detector not working or where a smoke detector was not installed at all. Here is some important information regarding these life savers! Practice Fire Safety There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire. It’s not a question of luck. It’s a matter of practicing and planning ahead. n Space Heaters Need Space Keep portable space heaters at least 3 feet from paper, curtains, furniture, clothing, bedding, or any thing else that can burn. Never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed, and keep children and pets well away from them. n Have a Home Evacuation Plan If fire breaks out in your home, you must get out fast. With your family, plan two ways out of every room. Fire escape routes must not include elevators, which might take you right to the fire! Choose a meeting place outside where everyone should gather. Once you are out, stay out! Have the whole family practice the escape plan at least twice a year. n Cool a Burn If someone gets burned, immediately place the wound in cool water for 10 to 15 minutes to ease the pain. Do not use butter on a burn, as this could prolong the heat and further damage the skin. If burn blisters or chars, see a doctor immediately. n Crawl Low Under Smoke n Smoke detectors should n n n n n n be placed on every level of your home, including the basement Many detectors are also hard wired to the electri- cal system of your home to ensure they work even if a battery dies Detectors should be installed within 10 feet of bedrooms, as well as inside each bedroom, if possible You should test your smoke detectors monthly to ensure they are in good operating condition You should also change the batteries out of your detectorsevery six month (ideally when yo set your clock back and forward in fall and spring) Purchase detectors that are both IONIZATION and PHOTO ELECTRIC Ionization detectors sense the invisible particles of an early fire but photo electric detectors sense visible smoke, that some times may not be picked up by ionization detec- tors – so purchasing a detector with both types is the best choice If you encounter smoke using your primary exit, use your alternate route instead. If you must exit through smoke, clean air will be several inches off the floor. Get down on your hands and knees, and crawl to the nearest safe exit. n Stop, Drop, and Roll Every one should know this rule: if your clothes catch fire, don’t run! Stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs. n Practice Candle Safety The popularity of candles as home decorations in recent years, has resulted in an increase of candle related fires. Some safe tips include: Never leave a lit candle unattended in any room of the house; Never leave candles burning when you go to bed; and never use candles near combustible materials such as curtains, drapes, bedding and cabinets. Electrical Safety Precautions n Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring. n Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately. n Use electrical extension cords wisely and don’t overload them. n Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen.
  3. 3. n Don’t allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons and hairdryers. n When buying electrical appliances look for products which meet the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) standard for safety. n If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord. n Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker. Use safety closures to “child-proof” electrical outlets. Prevent a Cooking Fire in Your Kitchen n Keep an eye on your cooking n Turn pan handles inward to n How to Put Out a Cooking Fire in your kitchen n n n Cooking is the primary cause of residential fires! and stay in the kitchen. Unattended cooking is the leading cause of cooking fires. Wear short or close-fitting sleeves. Loose clothing can catch fire. Watch children closely. When old enough, teach children to cook safely. Clean cooking surfaces to prevent food and grease build-up. Keep curtains, towels and pot holders away from hot sur faces and store solvents and flammable leaners away from c heat sources. Never keep gasoline in the house. prevent food spills. n Slide a pan lid over flames to smother a grease or oil fire, then turn off the heat and leave the lid in place until the pan cools. Never carry the pan outside. n Extinguish other food fires with baking soda. Never use water or flour on cooking fires. n Keep the oven door shut and turn off the heat to smother an oven or broiler fire. n Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  4. 4. Office Fire Safety Tips Most office buildings are protected with state-of-the art fire protection systems including sprinklers, smoke detectors and pull stations. Large buildings are required to conduct annual evacuation drills each year. Although major fires in modern office buildings are infrequent, being prepared and knowing what to do if a fire alarm sounds is critical! So here are some actions you can take: n When a fire alarm sounds, stop Grill Safety Now a days, outdoor grilling occurs at all times of the year – not just during the summer months Household grills cause approximately 1,000 structure fires and 3,400 outdoor fires every year Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used out doors. The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Keep children and pets away from the grill area. Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill. Never leave your grill unattended. Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill. n n n n n n n all work IMMEDIATELY – hang up phones and cease meetings. Assume the alarm is real and not a drill. Calmly proceed to the nearest exit and down the nearest exit stairwell. Bring your car keys, cell phone, purses and outerwear in case you are not allowed to re-enter the building. Do Not use cell phones, Black berries, IPODs, etc. while evacuating; DON’T bring food or beverages in stairwells. Never use an elevator! It is not meant for evacuation and could stall due to fire, smoke or over loading. Proceed to your designated assembly area. Walk – DO NOT RUN. If an alarm sounds and you are in another part of the building, DO NOT GO BACK TO YOUR OFFICE FIRST…. evacuate through the nearest exit to you and walk to your assembly area.
  5. 5. n Always let your receptionist, fire n Know the location of the nearest warden or supervisor know where you are at all times (daily and travel schedules) so you can be accounted n in an evacuation. n Never re-enter a building unless instructed by the Fire Department, n Property Manager, Fire Warden or authorized representative. n Inform your company of any change to your telephone numbers (home, pager, cell, etc.). These are critical in trying to locate you during an emergency. fire alarm pull station and fire extinguisher. If you smell smoke or see fire, call 911 and alert property management. Never use space heaters. These often short out and cause hundreds of office fires each year. Always participate in a fire drill; it’s the law and you will have an opportunity to learn where to exit in a fire and where to assemble once outside. Kids and Fire: A Bad Match At home, children usually play with fire - lighters, matches and other ignitables - in bedrooms, in closets, and under beds. These are “secret” places where there are a lot of things that catch fire easily. n Children of all ages set over 35,000 fires annually. n Between 500 and 700 children lose their lives annually in house fires. n Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children. Check under beds and in closets for burnt matches, evidence your child may be playing with matches. n Teach your child that fire is a tool, not a toy. n Let them know they can be burned by touching a lighted match, candle and stove
  6. 6. Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed the Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit to help you and your loved ones effectively implement a smoke alarm installation and fire safety education program targeting older adults. The tool kit includes: n An implementation guide with helpful information for planning and running a comprehensive fire safety program for seniors. n Three different training curricula. n Tools for conducting home assessments, education, smoke alarm installations, and process evaluation. Check it out at www.cdc.gov How to Use A Fire Extinguisher Office buildings have installed small (usually 20 pounds) dry chemical fire extinguishers near fire exits, break rooms and throughout tenant spaces. In the event you need to use one… just P.A.S.S. it!!! Pull the pin out in a twisting motion Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire in front of you Squeeze the handle Sweep from side to side If you need to use one, first call 911 or building management. Only use an extinguisher on a small fire and never place you between the fire and an exit. Never put yourself in danger and never place a used extinguisher back on the hook. Websites: n www.cdc.gov n www.firesafeftytips.com n www.nfpa.org

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