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
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.
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
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
n Crawl Low Under Smoke
n Smoke detectors should
be placed on every level
of your home, including
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
You should test your
smoke detectors monthly
to ensure they are in good
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
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
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
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
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
How to Put Out a Cooking
Fire in your kitchen
Cooking is the
primary cause of
and stay in the kitchen.
Unattended cooking is the
leading cause of cooking fires.
Wear short or close-fitting
sleeves. Loose clothing can
Watch children closely. When
old enough, teach children to
Clean cooking surfaces to
prevent food and grease
Keep curtains, towels and pot
holders away from hot sur
faces and store solvents and
flammable leaners away from
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
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
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
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
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.
all work IMMEDIATELY –
hang up phones and cease
Assume the alarm is real and
not a drill.
Calmly proceed to the nearest
exit and down the nearest exit
Bring your car keys, cell phone,
purses and outerwear in case
you are not allowed to re-enter
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
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
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
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
If you smell smoke or see fire,
call 911 and alert property
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
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
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
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.
n www.cdc.gov n www.firesafeftytips.com n www.nfpa.org