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FIRE SAFETY AND PREVENTION PAGE
The information and videos on this page are very important fire safety tips that can make a difference between life and death for your family and pets.. The right type of smoke alarms, photoelctric / heat smoke alarms should be placed in every room and hallway and CO - carbon monoxide alarms should also be installed near to gas stoves, water heaters and furnaces for non heat and non flame hazardous gas leaks which can cause death from carbon monoxide poisoning and also lead to major explosions if fumes reach an ignition source. Check batteries every month by pressing the test button on alarms and change the batteries before the expiration date or if battery warning beep occurs.
In Case of a Fire Emergency evacuate immediately and CALL 911 If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll and use a blanket or jacket if possible to smother the fire. When evacuating, if door handles are hot, pick an alternate route if possible but if no safer escape route is possible use a towel or rag etc to grasp door knob and stand to the side and stay as low as possible when opening the door in case of flash over. Do not crawl out if possible but try to stay crouched and under the smoke if possible and cover your head and upper body with wet towels or blankets if possible and cover mouth and nose to prevent breathing the toxic smoke. Crawling will slow you down and in some fires the temperature at ground level can be scorching hot and floor can burn your hands and knees.
Learn how to use your fire extinguisher for if and when a smoldering smoke or a small fire is present, i.e. up to size of flames at 1:22 minute mark of video when smoke detectors activated but do not try and extinguish a larger fast growing fire on your own. A fire doubles in size every 30 seconds so it is critical all occupants evacuate immediately and let the fire department fight the fire. See 1st video
If cooking and a flash fire occur in a frying pan DO NOT try to move the pan off the stove burner and DO NOT use water or flour to extinguish a grease fire. Flour is flammable and water will feed the flames. Carefully turn off burner and cover with a tight fitting lid or carefully empty a box of baking soda on the flames. DO NOT remove lid till pan cools down. A dry chemical ABC fire extinguisher will work but care must be taken to keep a safe distance of at least 4 feet and aim at base of flames, taking care not to be to close or aiming directly downward which can blast the flames out of the pan as fire extinguishers are filled with pressurized air. Should a fire occur while broiling with oven door open, close oven door to smother flames and turn off oven. Same applies if baking, should flames ignite when oven door is opened. NOTE: Use extreme caution! All the above self extinguishing methods should only be used when flames are small enough to be put out safely. There is a 30 to 60 second window on average from beginning of ignition in which flames can be contained safely. It only takes 3 minutes for a kitchen to become fully engulfed in fire. In the event of flashing larger flames, evacuate immediately and call 911. Over 50% of cooking fires that homeowners try to put out themselves result in injury and or death due to improper extinguishing methods or fire being to large to be extinguished using methods above. See 2nd video
Be sure to clean lint out of dryer before every use and vents once a year and do not keep clothes on top of dryer while in use. See 3rd video
Know the danger signs of carbon monoxide poisoning such as head aches and nausea and how to prevent it. We recommend in addition to having photoelectric / heat alarms in every room that a carbon monoxide - CO alarm be placed near all gas appliances such as furnaces, stoves, cloths dryers and water heaters. Gas leaks produce carbon monoxide which is a silent killer which do not produce smoke or any odor. Carbon monoxide leaks in cars also kill so it is a good idea to have a CO alarm in cars, especially older vehicles. See 4th video
Christmas Trees are very flammable and cause many home fires every year. Christmas trees can catch fire and take less than 1 minute to totally engulf a living room then double in size every 30 seconds spreading into rest of home. To avoid a Christmas tree fires turn out the lights on your tree before going to bed or if leaving your home and do not use the older type lights with bulbs that get hot and check the cords for frayed and exposed wiring. Watering your tree to keep it from drying out can also help reduce the risk of a fire. See how quickly a tree in a living room can turn into a raging inferno in less then 1 minute. See 5th video
Children are sound sleepers and hearing impaired occupants also may not hear an alarm. Special voice smoke alarms that shout FIRE and or record parent’s voice can be purchased and smoke alarms with flashing lights as well are available for children and hearing impaired. Use voice warning smoke alarms if you have young children and always plan and practice an escape route. Place a placard in a front window to let fire dept know how many people and pets live in your home. Know the access to two ways out of every room. Second and 3rd story bedrooms may require a fire safety extendable drop down ladder in sleeping rooms in case access thru doorways become blocked by flames and thick smoke making evacuation to dangerous. Safety ladders can be purchased online. Agree on a meeting place outside of your home and prepare to assist young children and family members with special needs and pets that may hide under beds for safe evacuation in case of a fire. See 6th video
Closing the doors to the rooms inside your home, especially at night while sleeping can slow down the growth of a fire and protect occupants from flames , prevent smoke inhalation and give extra time to evacuate safely . Having interconnected photoelectric / heat smoke alarms in every room and hallway is the best option to insure the siren is heard by all occupants as soon as smoke is present no matter where fire starts as having doors closed in sleeping rooms can make it harder to hear an alarm from afar without having interconnected detectors. See 7th video
Dogs can be good smoke detectors and there are many stories on the internet about dogs alerting families of smoke and fire which saved their lives. That said if a fire occurs while no one is home and your dog or other pets are left locked inside then a fire can be very dangerous to your pets. Leaving pets in back yard while away if possible can save your pets lives in the event of a smoldering smoke / fire situation. Dog doors and monitored smoke alarms are next best protection if leaving pets outside is not possible. See 8th video
The type of smoke alarm in your home can make the difference between life and death. Ionization alarms that are in most homes due to lower cost and no warning label, do not detect smoldering smoke in time for safe evacuation. Be sure to replace ionization alarms that do not detect smoldering smoke with photoelectric alarms and or photoelectric / heat alarms that do. Preferably the Rate of Rise temperature heat sensors in case of fast flaming fires which can provide an extra 30 to 45 seconds extra escape time vs. photoelectric alone in some fast flaming fires. It is the opinion of many Fire Chiefs, Fire Protection Engineers and Fire Safety experts that ionization alarms should be banned for use in habitable structures. (see Supporters of Effort page)
The majority of fires while people are asleep, start with smoldering smoke and kill more people every year than from flames. The toxic smoke and carbon monoxide in the smoldering smoke stage, which often lasts for 30 to 60 minutes or more, can render occupants unconscious before material actually ignites and causes death from smoke inhalation. Most common source of a smoldering smoke condition is lit cigarettes falling onto couch, carpet or bedding or thrown in trash. Electrical shorts from overloaded power strips or a faulty appliance, baby monitor or any electric device can also cause this type of deadly smoldering smoke condition. Photoelectric and or photoelectric / heat alarms are far more reliable and safer than ionization alarms that are currently in most homes despite ion alarms being technologically incapable of detecting smoldering smoke.
Never disconnect a battery in a smoke alarm due to false alarms. If nuisance alarms occur frequently, move the smoke alarm further away, approximately 10 ft. from the source causing the false alarm such as a toaster or stove or bathroom shower which are the most common causes of nuisance alarms. Many 100’s of lives are lost each year from dead or disconnected batteries! Batteries in hotter climates can drain faster than the date indicated on battery so it is important to test the alarms more often and or check batteries with a volt meter and or replace them if alarm chirp feature alerts you to a low battery.
Preferably if you can afford them, use interconnected photoelectric / heat alarms so if one alarm is triggered all alarms will sound warning. These type of combo alarms can be found via alarm companies and on Amazon, Ebay and other internet retailers. Photoelectric / CO combo alarms are in most box store retailers but most retail stores in U.S. carry only photoelectric / ionization combo alarms which are not as reliable and slower to sound alarm due to manufacturing inefficiencies and ionization alarms having a high failure rate to begin with.
Fire can grow rapidly so seconds and minutes matter for safe evacuation. If you have a monitored burglar alarm already, your provider can add photoelectric / heat alarms (more expensive ranging from $64 to $99 depending on your provider, but worth the peace of mind) so your home will be monitored for smoke and fire 24/7 whether or not burglar alarm is activated, alerting fire department and possibly saving any pets inside when no one is at home. If possible place a Fire Emergency placard in a window or somewhere near front door that can be filled out to tell fire fighters how many occupants and pets live in house in case of an emergency.
Ionization alarms that are in most homes usually have a radioactive label on back plate, some only are marked "ionization" or marked with an i within a circle. If your alarms have any of these indications replace with non radioactive photoelectric and or photoelectric / heat smoke alarms for best protection via Home Security companies or found on Amazon or Ebay using "photoelectric heat smoke alarm" keyword search.
FIRE SPRINKLER SYSTEMS offer very best protection. Fire sprinklers, like fixed temp heat sensors, will not activate until temperature reaches 135 degrees so a smoldering smoke condition can still cause smoke inhalation deaths and injuries before sprinklers activate without having photoelectric and or photoelectric / heat smoke alarms in every room to warn occupants. See Fire Sprinkler page
What You Can Do to Keep Children Safe from fire and burns
Keep children 3 feet away from anything hot, space heaters and stovetops can cause serious burns. Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place. Never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them. Never play with lighters or matches when you are with your children and teach them that playing with matches or lighters can cause serious injury and even death.
Turn off power or unplug power strips when not in use in all homes but especially in older homes which may have electrical outlets and breaker boxes more vulnerable to electrical overload due to old age. Check the insulation on wiring in attics once a year, as rats sometimes eat away wire insulation over the years and a spark from exposed wiring can cause a fire. A smoke alarm can be placed in attic but in hot climates during summer months, temperatures in attics can trigger a photoelectric with fixed heat sensor (135 degrees ) so use only a photoelectric or a stand alone heat detector that has temperature adjustment over 170 + degrees.
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Smokealarmsafety.org offers dryer duct vent cleaning in the Sacramento County and surrounding areas for $75. A free safety inspection of your homes smoke alarms is included.
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According to NFPA report - Home fires. In 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 15,970 home structure fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. See 3rd video below titled "Dryer Fire Prevention" and all the other Fire Safety Videos to make your home as safe as possible from fire danger.
Dogs are often good smoke detectors and there are many stories and videos like this one, of families being saved because their dog alerted them in time to safely evacuate when smoke or fire broke out while they were asleep.
Just another reason why dogs have been called man's best friend for centuries.
That said smoke alarms still need to be in every room of your home and if you leave your dogs or cats inside while you are away from home and do not have a doggie door for them to go in and out, be sure to keep them in the back yard so if a fire breaks out they will not be trapped inside. Monitored photoelectric / heat smoke alarms that are offered by Home Security Companies would be another alternative to keep your pets safe when away from home even if you have a doggie door. Keep a placard card in window easily visible by fire fighters letting them know how many occupants and pets are in your house in case of fire.
Although the number of pets that die in fires is not an official statistic kept by the U.S. Fire Administration and industry web sites, other sources have cited that an estimated 40,000 to 150,000 pets die each year in fires – most succumbing to smoke inhalation. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, approximately half a million pets are affected each year by fires in the home.
In most states, emergency responders are not equipped to deal with the crisis because they lack specially designed pet oxygen masks.
To fill this need, Invisible Fence® Brand started the Project Breathe Pet Oxygen Mask Donation Program to provide oxygen mask kits to first responders. Each kit includes a small, medium, and large mask; fire departments are eligible to receive one kit per station. Their goal is to ensure that every fire department and rescue unit is equipped with these life-saving pet oxygen masks. To date, they have donated more than 10,000 masks to fire stations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Click here to apply for a pet oxygen mask kit for your department. Find out more about the program at
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Use Monitored Interconnected Photoelectric Alarms or Photo / Heat Alarms For Very Best Protection Install Fire Sprinklers if Possible