1 in 8 homes will face this hazard

Can you guess what that hazard is? It’s a cooking fire. The fact is that your kitchen is the single most dangerous room in the house primarily because it’s where we combine heat and flammables in close proximity.

Most cooking fires occur within 15 minutes of having started cooking. The main culprit is people putting a pan on the stove with oil or something in it and walking away to do something else thinking they’ll be right back. Even if you think you’ve got a really great memory don’t risk it. It is too easy for something else to distract, for the task you went to do that was only supposed to take 10 seconds to turn into a 20 minute job. Think about it, how many times have you accidentally left the burner on? If something as simple as remembering to turn off the source of heat when cooking is done and you’re still right there is something that is easy to forget how much more something that is out of sight?

Another common source of kitchen fires are dish towels, rags or curtains that are too close to the burner and ignite. Those cute curtains that make your kitchen look so good flutter when a freeze blows in the window, that dish towel that you dropped on the counter to grab a bowl… if they get too close to the burner can ignite.

Safety tips to prevent cooking fires:

  1. Silence the “self-talk” that tells you that, even though this might be the #1 most dangerous thing you can do, you’ll remember about the pan on the stove because “it’ll only take a second!” I don’t care how good you think your memory is, are you willing to risk your families’ life and everything you own on the fact that it won’t somehow slip your mind?
  2. Never, ever leave anything on a burner in the kitchen if you aren’t there to keep an eye on it. Flash fires can happen even when you’re in the kitchen watching much less when you’re somewhere else in the house.
  3. Never, ever try to grab a pan with a grease fire in it. You might think to take it outside to get the smoke and flames away from your nice home but the odds are that, instead, you’ll drip fire all the way to the door and turn a manageable fire into a blaze that you cannot control.
  4. If a fire occurs in a pan on the burner, snuff it out by putting a lid on it. Fire without oxygen extinguishes. DO NOT pour water on it. Water will simply project the flames, sputtering all over.
  5. Keep a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen and learn how to use it.
  6. Keep flammables (Kitchen rags, towels, dish cloths, curtains, etc…) at least three feet away from burners.

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Teach your kids about Gasoline Fires to protect them

If he could, teenager Austin Bailiff would talk to every kid in the world about gas and fire. He knows what it’s like to think, “It can’t happen to me.” And he lives every day with the terrible reality that it can.

Share Austin’s videos with your kid. Sometimes, hearing stuff from other kids is more powerful than hearing it from us. That’s Austin’s hope. That’s why he tells his story.

Watch these videos with your kids. It just might save their life or keep them from a lifetime of pain from burns

gas-fires1 gas-fires2


What to do if your car catches on fire

 

What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire–Car Fires Are More Common Than You Think

Vehicle fires are one of the scariest things that can happen on the road and they happen more often than you think. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says 33 car fires are reported every hour in the U.S., and 18 percent of all reported fires occur on a road or highway and involve a motor vehicle. Teens and young adults with driver’s licenses are most likely to be involved in car fire accidents, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, and young males are victims more often than females.

These statistics, while sobering, don’t mean you should worry that your vehicle is going to spontaneously combust on your drive home from work. But safe driving and regular maintenance are important to reducing your chances of being involved in one of these incidents.

Cars can catch fire for all sorts of reasons. Most of the time, it is because of accidents. If a car gets hit in its gas tank or the engine has taken a severe hit, a slight spark or electrical impulse, such as when batteries get ruptured, can cause a fire. Poorly maintained cars can catch fire too. Leaking gas lines, head gaskets, cracked blocks, cracked radiators, leaking fuel lines, and the list goes on, are all potential fire hazards. This is the reason why you change your fluids, especially oil every so many thousand miles. Doing so helps keeps your car’s seals intact a long time. Pretty much all of a car’s fluids including the car itself are flammable. Usually heat and electrical sparks plus a leaking automotive fluid (doesn’t matter which one) is all it takes for a vehicle fire to start.

Here are a few common-sense tips that can help prevent vehicle fires, provided by the National Safety Council:

While you are moving on a roadway:

1. Signal your intentions and move to the right lane.

2. Get onto the shoulder or breakdown lane.

3. Stop immediately.

4. Shut off the engine.

5. Get yourself and all other persons out of the vehicle.

6. Get far away from the vehicle and stay away from it. Keep onlookers and others away.

7. Warn oncoming traffic.

8. Notify the fire department. CALL 9 1 1

9. Dont attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible ignition of fuel in the vehicles tank.)

While the vehicle is stopped in traffic or parked:

1. Shut off the engine.

2. Get far away from the vehicle.

3. Warn pedestrians and other vehicles to stay away.

4. Notify the fire department. CALL 9 1 1

5. Dont attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible ignition of fuel in the vehicles tank.)

1. If you smell burning plastic or rubber, pull over safely and investigate. Don’t try to make it home before you determine what the trouble is.

2. Get in the habit of having your car tuned up and checked out at least once a year. An inspection should include examining the vehicle for gas or oil leaks. If you suspect a leak, park a newspaper under your vehicle at night and weigh it down with a heavy object; in the morning, check the paper for stains.

3. If a fuse keeps blowing, that’s a sign of electrical trouble, the same as in your house. Don’t let it keep happening without investigating, as an overloaded wire can be the source of a fire.

Dousing the Flames

Most fires, are a result of a malfunctioning fuel line or a fuel pipe splitting. If you smell something burning, shutting off the engine will stop the flow of fuel and may prevent a full-blown fire. It’s natural to panic in an emergency, but make sure you get off the road first so you’re not a hazard to other drivers, or yourself.

Experts counsel not to attempt to extinguish a raging car fire yourself, but there are circumstances when you can try if you have a fire extinguisher. If there is smoke coming from under your hood but no flames, you can crack the hood slightly and spray at the gap from a few feet away. Do not open the hood all the way as the increased oxygen could quickly turn a tiny fire into a big blaze.

However, if the fire is in the rear of the vehicle near the gas tank, you should get away quickly. Only a professional should attempt to douse fires of this sort.

What to Do in a Parking Lot

If your car catches fire while you are driving, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then follow these steps, which also apply if your car ignites in a parking lot.

1. Signal and move immediately to the right shoulder, or right lane.

2. Get the vehicles stopped and shut off the engine while getting yourself and all passengers out of the vehicle.

3. Get as far away from the vehicle as you can, at least 150 feet, but make sure the area you move to is safe and secure.

4. Dial 911, so the dispatcher can notify the fire department.

5. Warn onlookers and others to keep away, as well. If you have some signaling device, you can also attempt to warn oncoming traffic.

Ways to help prevent vehicle fires

While some car fires occur in collisions, they are more often caused by problems with a vehicles electrical or fuel system. Your best line of defense is to have these systems checked out at every service call. In between times, look for these potential warning signs:

· Fuses that blow repeatedly

· Spilled oil under the hood left over from an oil change

· Oil or other fluid leaks under the vehicle

· Cracked or loose wiring, or wiring with exposed metal

· Very loud sounds from the exhaust system

· Rapid changes in fuel level, oil levels, or engine temperature

· A missing cap from the oil filler

· Broken or loose hoses

FIRE SAFETY FIRST, FIRE SAFETY ALWAYS!

Information from Clovis Fire Dept, Farmers Union Insurance, AAA, National Fire Incident Reporting System and NSC

 

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald Safety and Security Manager for Plateau keno


Fire Prevention Week Oct 7-13 Have two ways out

National Fire Safety Prevention Week begins Sunday. (October 7-13, 2012)

Its Fire Prevention Week. Have two ways out!

Commemorating a conflagration
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow – belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you’ve heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O’Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

The ‘Moo’ myth
Like any good story, the ‘case of the cow’ has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O’Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O’Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out – or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O’Leary herself swore that she’d been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.

But if a cow wasn’t to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O’Leary’s may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day – in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.

In the Kitchen

Never leave your cooking unattended. Always keep your stove company. Especially if youre frying somethingthats when things can cross the line in mere seconds.

Keep it clean. Keep stove and counter surfaces free of clutter, grease, and especially flammable objects like hairspray, bug spray, or air freshener. In case of an emergency youll be able to react faster given the freedom of space.

Set a timer. Don’t just rely on your brain; we’re human, and we get distracted. A timer can remind you to switch off the burner or oven, saving your food and possibly your house from being burnt.

In case of a pan fire, control the fire by:

  • Covering the pan with a lid or a bigger upturned pan.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Spray the pot with a fire extinguisher.
  • If you don’t have a fire extinguisher handy, douse the burning oil with baking soda.
  • Never run with a pan fire. You run the risk of spreading the fire further when the oil drips.
  • Never throw water on the panit will splatter the oil and spread the fire, possibly burning you.
  • Never throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. Flour might look like baking soda, but it’s not, so it won’t react similarly! One cup of either of these baking products contains the explosive potential of two sticks of dynamite.

Wear tight clothes. Billowing sleeves or hanging accessories above a lit stove can spell disaster.

Install a smoke detector in the kitchen.

In The Laundry Room

The proper dryer duct should vent directly outdoorsnever to a room inside the house, as the air discharge can contain a combination of combustible gases.

Avoid plastic duct work, which is more easily ignited or melted; opt for a hard metal duct (with as few bends as possible) from the dryer to the exterior of your home. You’ll breathe more easily when you load your laundry.

Keep the duct free of lint to help reduce the chance of fire spreading from the dryer to the vent. Clean the lint trap after every use. A professional should also help you periodically dismantle the dryer to clean between the dryer drum and the heat element.

Install a smoke detector nearby.

By Hearth and Candlelight

Never leave fire unattended. Candles may be small, and the flames they produce may be even smaller, but it takes just a few breaths for an upturned candle to create an inferno.

Use a smart surface. Always place candles on a non-flammable surface, and keep them away from paper, curtains, and other items that could be easily ignited.

Use a screen in front of the hearthmake sure it’s large and heavy enough to encompass the entire opening and to stop any stray logs from rolling out of the fireplace.

Perform regular check-ups. Chimneys and woodstoves require annual (and thorough!) cleaning, and monthly inspection in case of obstructions or damage.

Never burn paper, trash, or green wood; apart from being highly flammable, scraps of burning paper or trash may actually drift up through the chimney or pipe and land onand light upyour roof.

Extinguish the fire once you want to move away from it and cool the ashes. Ensure that the ashes are then harmlessly sealed away in a metal container outside the home.

More Men Than

Hazardous ELECTRICS & APPLIANCES

Be a smart shopper. Buy electrical products evaluated by the nationally recognized laboratory (i.e. UL).

Replace all frayed wires: worn, old, or damaged appliance cords belong in the dumpster and not shoved under the rug.

Use three-prong plugs in three-slot outlets, and two-slot plug into two-slot outlets. Make sure your kids know this, too.

Portable space heaters heaters must be kept four feet or more away from combustible surfaces and objects.

  • Ensure that your heater has a thermostat control mechanism (so it automatically switches off if it falls over!).
  • Never overheat it, and always use it in a well-ventilated room.
  • If it’s a kerosene heater, clear K-1 kerosene should be the only thing you’re feeding it.

Smoke Alarms: A Necessity, Not an Option

Invest in a few smoke detectors if you haven’t already. As the only household item that’s on the alert 24/7 against the threat of a fire, smoke detectors save lives every dayand they could save yours.

Install dual sensor smoke alarms; make sure they contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.

Spread them out on every story of your home, and definitely install them in the kitchen, laundry room, and every bedroom.

Test your smoke detectors once a month.

Replace the batteries at least once a year (possible exception: non-replaceable 10-year lithium batteries; still, be sure to test them); many manufacturers also encourage a replacement of the smoke detectors after a decade.

Never disable a smoke alarm, including when you’re cooking. Open a window, wave a dishtowel to clear the air, and let it blast its warning that you might have just overcooked your meal.

Smoke alarms for the disabled.

  • Audible alarms are available for the visually impaired (the sound of the alarm shouldn’t be a monotone; a small pause of silence helps this person hear voices or other critical sounds in the surrounding environment).
  • Visual alarms (with a flashing light or vibrating pad) are available for the hearing impaired.
  • For more vulnerable residents, there are also smoke alarms with outdoor strobe lights (to alert the neighbors) and emergency systems for summoning help.

Install an automatic fire sprinkler indoors.

Smokers Pose an Additional Danger

Keep the indoors a no-smoking zone. If you must smoke, smoke outdoors; too many home fires begin inside the home, with smoking materials as the catalyst.

Be alert. Don’t snooze and smoke. If you’re feeling the slightest bit drowsy (due to sleep deprivation, medication, alcohol, or any other reason), put out your fire immediately.

Snuff them out. Extinguish the cigarette in a sand-filled can, or drown cigarette butts and ashes in water.

Never throw away hot cigarette butts or ashes without attending to them properly.

Never smoke where oxygen is being used; for instance, a family member might be using home oxygen therapy, but even if the oxygen is turned off, the building is much more vulnerable. Oxygen can be explosive and will only serve to fan the flames.

Establishing an Evacuation Plan: Fire Exits in the Home

Draw up an escape plan. This is a critical proactive step; it’s easier to follow up on something we’ve visualized and practiced before, particularly when we need to repeat it during a chaotic emergency.

  • Plan at least two escape routes; from every roomparticularly the bedrooms, where you’re most likely to be caught unaware, relaxed, and/or asleep.
  • Purchase fire ladders; for the upper stories: ensure that these ladders are collapsible and have been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory (i.e. UL).
  • Check windows; to make sure that the glass isn’t stuck and that screens can be swiftly removed.

Discuss the escape routes with your family; every single member of the household should know the basic safety procedures: Stop, Drop, and Roll; bring home those school fire-drill mantras.

Practice; can you feel your way out of the house with your eyes closed, or in the dark? Do you know the quickest way to crawl out? Do you know the low windows from which you could jump? Do you instinctively use the back of your hand to feel a door’s heat, and do you remain crouched down as close to the floor as possible?

Stay Fire Smart! Dont Get Burned
During National Fire Prevention Week, attention is focused on promoting fire safety and prevention, however we should practice fire safety all year long. Many potential fire hazards go undetected because people simply do not take steps to fireproof their home.

Fires can happen anywhere at any time.

Its human nature to think bad things only happen to “the other person,” but the fact is that bad things can happen to good people. Everyone thinks they’ll never have a fire, but the figures tell a different story. In fact, the chances are that you will experience at least one home fire in your lifetime – a fire serious enough to call 911.

Simple things like testing the water before putting a child in the bath may sound like common sense. Wearing short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking on the stovetop may show foresight. This and other simple actions may be all it takes to prevent devastating burns. Many bedroom fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, careless use of candles, smoking in bed, and children playing with matches and lighters.

Most potential hazards can be addressed with a little common sense. For example, be sure to keep flammable items like bedding, clothes and curtains at least three feet away from portable heaters or lit candles, and never smoke in bed. Also, items like appliances or electric blankets should not be operated if they have frayed power cords, and electrical outlets should never be overloaded.

Each year more than 3,600 Americans die in fires – the worst fire record in the modern, industrialized world. About two-thirds of these fire-related deaths happen at home, and many of them during the night while victims sleep. Those statistics are sobering and Plateau wants all employees to know they can help protect themselves and their loved ones from fire with 10 easy steps.

  1. Make sure everyone in the family understands the dangers of fire. Remember to stay low below door knob level when getting out of the smoke. If you have a towel/washcloth to cover your face and breath through it should help with some smoke inhalation. Additionally, Use the back of your hand to feel if the door knobs are hot indicating fire burning on the other side.
  2. DONT PLAY WITH MATCHES! Teach kids that matches, lighters, lighter fluid, gasoline and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs like burned matches. Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure drawer.
  3. Limit the use of extension cords; make sure the cord can carry the power load it is being used with.
  4. Develop a home fire escape plan; let your kids help to identify two ways to escape from each room.
  5. Practice your fire escape plan; a good time is when you test your smoke detectors monthly.
  6. Change those smoke detector/CO2 batteries, remember Change your clocks, change your batteries (Nov 6th, 2011 Daylight Savings Ends).
  7. Avoid clutter in the home or office, keep fire escape exits clear. You dont want to have to navigate through cluttered halls when trying to escape an emergency.
  8. Portable heaters should be kept away from all combustible items and have a minimum 3 feet clearance when in use.
  9. Never store combustibles near hot water heaters or in a furnace room.
  10. Have an ABC type fire extinguisher charged, serviceable and in an easy access area (preferably the kitchen).

Many fires start in the kitchen, usually due to distraction. Stove top cooking is a serious activity and requires full attention. Don’t put something on the stove and leave to watch television. Keep dish towels, pot holders and decorations at least a foot away from the stovetop. Even though they may not be on the burner, radiated heat can cause them to ignite. Keep an oversized pot lid available. Should a fire occur in the cooking pot, place the lid over the pot, turn off the heat, and don’t remove the lid for at least 15 minutes.

 

If a fire does occur and your clothing happens to catch fire, you should remember the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” technique. This could prevent serious burns to you or a family member.

Fire safety is not difficult. It only requires awareness and common sense to keep families and homes safe from fire. Please remember to make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished before leaving the area. By taking preventive measures can keep a family from becoming a fire statistic.

Information provided by the NFPA. Complianceandsafety.com (Matt P) and firepreventionweek.org

 

 

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, safety manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


Campfire Safety Tips

Summer time heat has many headed to the mountains for a cooler relief. Wildfires also have been a serious problem with dry conditions this year. With many of you traveling to campgrounds or the mountains in the next few weeks of summer. Here are a few helpful safety tips to enjoy those campfires.

Campfire Safety

  • Building a campfire, campfires are limited to fire rings in most developed recreation areas. Even these fires can reignite and spread embers to nearby trees and grass.
  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass, and leaves. Pile any extra wood away from the fire.
  • Keep plenty of water handy and have a shovel for throwing dirt on the fire if it starts to gets out of control.
  • Start with dry twigs and small sticks. Add larger sticks as the fire builds up. Put the largest pieces of wood on last, pointing them toward the center of the fire, and gradually push them into the flames.
  • Keep the campfire small. A good bed of coals or a small fire surrounded by rocks give plenty of heat. Scrape away litter and any burnable material within a 10-foot diameter circle. This will keep a small campfire from spreading.
  • Be sure your match is out. Hold it until it is cold. Break it so you can feel the charred portion before discarding it.
  • Never leave a campfire unattended. Even a small breeze could quickly cause the fire to spread

.

  • Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals and sticks are wet. Move rocks, there may be burning embers underneath.
  • Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. Be sure all burned material has been extinguished and cooled. If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough soil and sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cooled.

§ The forest is not the place for bonfires. Keep it small and maintained, and you will enjoy it all night. Beaches on the other hand, might be ok. Find out how your beach campsite host feels about bonfires before starting one though.

§ Dont burn things like paper plates and napkins. When those light weight items burn, they basically turn into hot ash that flies out of the fire and can spark the duff, or surrounding trees, even your tent!

§ Make sure any trash you decide it burn is burn safe. Meaning it doesnt release toxic chemicals into the air. If you arent sure, toss in the trash not the pit.

  • Feel all materials with your bare hand. Make sure that no roots are burning. Do not bury your coals– they can smolder and break out.
  • Cover your campfire with dirt to make sure no embers reignite.

Information provided by the US Forrest Service, Firewise.org and Smokeybear.com

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald


Firefighter Injuries lowest in past 20 years

A new report by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) details the numbers for firefighters in 2010 and the news is good news because 2010 saw a 8.0% decrease in firefighter injuries.

Other numbers reported…

Overview of 2010 Firefighter Injuries

• 71,875 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2010, a decrease of 8.0%.

• In addition to injuries, there were 11,200 exposures to infectious diseases, and 25,700 exposures to hazardous conditions.

• 32,675 or 45.4% of all firefighter injuries occurred during fireground operations. An estimated 13,355 occurred at nonfire emergency incidents, 4,380 while responding/returning from an incident, 7,275 during training activities, and 14,190 occurred during other on duty activities.

• The Northeast reported a higher number of fireground injuries per 100 fires than other regions of the country.

• The major types of injuries received during fireground operations were: strain, sprain, muscular pain (52.8%); wound, cut, bleeding, bruise (14.2%); burns (5.9%). Strains, sprains, and muscular pain accounted for 59.0% of all nonfireground injuries.

• The leading causes of fireground injuries were overexertion, strain (25.7%) and fall, slip, jump (22.5%).

The chart below is the most encouraging news, showing the slow but steady decline firefighter injuries since 1981


“It’s Fire Prevention Week. Protect your Family from Fire!”


Commemorating a conflagration
Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire, the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow – belonging to Mrs. Catherine O’Leary – kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you’ve heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O’Leary, for more than 130 years. But recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.

The ‘Moo’ myth

Like any good story, the ‘case of the cow’ has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O’Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O’Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out – or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O’Leary herself swore that she’d been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.

But if a cow wasn’t to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O’Leary’s may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day – in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. According to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center, Fire Prevention Week is the longest running public health and safety observance on record. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.


Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned
During National Fire Prevention Week, attention is focused on promoting fire safety and prevention, however we should practice fire safety all year long. Many potential fire hazards go undetected because people simply do not take steps to fireproof their home.

Fire’s can happen anywhere at any time.

It’s human nature to think bad things only happen to “the other person,” but the fact is that bad things can happen to good people. Everyone thinks they’ll never have a fire, but the figures tell a different story. In fact, the chances are that you will experience at least one home fire in your lifetime – a fire serious enough to call 911.

 

 

 

Simple things like testing the water before putting a child in the bath may sound like common sense. Wearing short or close-fitting sleeves when cooking on the stovetop may show foresight. This and other simple actions may be all it takes to prevent devastating burns. Many bedroom fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, careless use of candles, smoking in bed, and children playing with matches and lighters.

 

Most potential hazards can be addressed with a little common sense. For example, be sure to keep flammable items like bedding, clothes and curtains at least three feet away from portable heaters or lit candles, and never smoke in bed. Also, items like appliances or electric blankets should not be operated if they have frayed power cords, and electrical outlets should never be overloaded.

 

Each year more than 3,600 Americans die in fires – the worst fire record in the modern, industrialized world. About two-thirds of these fire-related deaths happen at home, and many of them during the night while victims sleep. Those statistics are sobering and ENMR•Plateau wants all employees to know they can help protect themselves and their loved ones from fire with 10 easy steps.

 

  1. Make sure everyone in the family understands the dangers of fire. Remember to stay low below door knob level when getting out of the smoke. If you have a towel/washcloth to cover your face and breath through it should help with some smoke inhalation. Additionally, Use the back of your hand to feel if the door knobs are hot indicating fire burning on the other side.
  2. DON’T PLAY WITH MATCHES!   Teach kids that matches, lighters, lighter fluid, gasoline and candles are tools, not toys. If you suspect that a child is playing with fire, check under beds and in closets for telltale signs like burned matches. Matches and lighters should be stored in a secure drawer.

  3. Limit the use of extension cords; make sure the cord can carry the power load it is being used with.

  4. Develop a home fire escape plan; let your kids help to identify two ways to escape from each room.

  5. Practice your fire escape plan; a good time is when you test your smoke detectors monthly.

  6. Change those smoke detector/CO2 batteries, remember “Change your clocks, change your batteries” (Nov 6th, 2011 Daylight Savings Ends).

  7. Avoid clutter in the home or office, keep fire escape exits clear. You don’t want to have to navigate through cluttered halls when trying to escape an emergency.

  8. Portable heaters should be kept away from all combustible items and have a minimum 3 feet clearance when in use.

  9. Never store combustibles near hot water heaters or in a furnace room.

  10. Have an ABC type fire extinguisher charged, serviceable and in an easy access area (preferably the kitchen).


Fire extinguishers are divided into four categories, based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number, the more fire-fighting power. The following is a quick guide to help choose the right type of extinguisher.
Fire Extinguisher

* Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood, cardboard, and most plastics. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.

 These are the symbols seen on a Class A extinguisher.
* Class B fires involve flammable or combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease and oil. The numerical rating for class B extinguishers indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire it can extinguish.
* Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Never use water to extinguish class C fires – the risk of electrical shock is far too great! Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The C classification means the extinguishing agent is non-conductive.
* Class D fire extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types of extinguishers also have no numerical rating, nor are they given a multi-purpose rating – they are designed for class D fires only.

Some fires may involve a combination of these classifications. Your fire extinguishers should have ABC ratings on them.

*Class K (kitchen) fires, was added to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 10 Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers in 1998.

Here are the most common types of fire extinguishers:

* Water extinguishers or APW extinguishers (air-pressurized water) are suitable for class A fires only. Never use a water extinguisher on grease fires, electrical fires or class D fires – the flames will spread and make the fire bigger! Water extinguishers are filled with water and pressurized with oxygen. Again – water extinguishers can be very dangerous in the wrong type of situation. Only fight the fire if you’re certain it contains ordinary combustible materials only.
* Dry chemical extinguishers come in a variety of types and are suitable for a combination of class A, B and C fires. These are filled with foam or powder and pressurized with nitrogen.
o BC – This is the regular type of dry chemical extinguisher. It is filled with sodium bicarbonate or potassium bicarbonate. The BC variety leaves a mildly corrosive residue which must be cleaned immediately to prevent any damage to materials.
o ABC- This is the multipurpose dry chemical extinguisher. The ABC type is filled with monoammonium phosphate, a yellow powder that leaves a sticky residue that may be damaging to electrical appliances such as a computer

Dry chemical extinguishers have an advantage over CO2 extinguishers since they leave a non-flammable substance on the extinguished material, reducing the likelihood of re-ignition.
How To Use A Portable Fire Extinguisher

Remember the term PASS when you go to use a portable fire extinguisher.

 

P =
Pull the pin.


A =
Aim extinguisher nozzle at the base of the flames.


S = Squeeze trigger while holding the extinguisher upright.

S =
Sweep the extinguisher from side to side, covering the area of the fire with extinguisher contents.

 

In Case Of Fire

Report It! – Report the fire
immediately
no matter what size of the fire.
CALL 911.

Fight It! – If a fire is small, and you have a safe exit, you may try to fight it after you report it.

Escape It! – If the fire is large escape is your best choice.


Many fires start in the kitchen, usually due to distraction. Stove top cooking is a serious activity and requires full attention. Don’t put something on the stove and leave to watch television. Keep dish towels, pot holders and decorations at least a foot away from the stovetop. Even though they may not be on the burner, radiated heat can cause them to ignite. Keep an oversized pot lid available. Should a fire occur in the cooking pot, place the lid over the pot, turn off the heat, and don’t remove the lid for at least 15 minutes.


 

If a fire does occur and your clothing happens to catch fire, you should remember the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” technique. This could prevent serious burns to you or a family member.

Fire safety is not difficult. It only requires awareness and common sense to keep families and homes safe from fire. Please remember to make sure your cigarettes are fully extinguished before leaving the area. By taking preventive measures can keep a family from becoming a fire statistic.

 

 

Today’s blog post is courtesy of
Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for ENMR·Plateau

koswald@plateautel.com


 


Chimney/Fireplace Safety Tips

Sept 25-Oct 1st is National Fireplace/Chimney Safety Week


Anatomy of Your Fireplace

 

When most people think of chimneys, they think of fireplaces. Memories of cold winter evenings, relaxed and cozy in front of a crackling fire are hard to beat, and the ability of an open fire to soothe the wild beast within us all is legendary. Since the dawn of time, humans have gathered around the open fire for a sense of safety and community and the fireplace is still the focus of family living in many homes, especially around the holidays.

But in spite of all the glowing aesthetics, there are some practical considerations. When you’re dealing with an element as capricious and potentially dangerous as fire, knowledge really is power, so please read on to learn how to make your fireplace both safer and more enjoyable.

Let’s start with a quick anatomy lesson, and a brief explanation of commonly used terms:


Fireplaces come in two general types, masonry fireplaces built entirely of bricks, blocks or stone and mortar, and factory built fireplaces consisting of a lightweight metal firebox and a metal chimney. (There are a few hybrids too, the most common being a heavy metal firebox and smoke chamber coupled to a regular brick chimney).

A masonry fireplace has a firebox built of individual generally yellowish firebrick, a brick chimney above the roof, and if you look up past the damper you will see a roughly pyramid shaped affair also built of brick. A prefab fireplace generally has a firebox of cast refractory panels, and usually some metal is visible in the room all around the firebox. If you look up past the damper you will see a round metal chimney. And above the roof is more round metal chimney, sometimes surrounded by a simulated brick housing.


Chimney fire, don’t let it be your house this fall/winter!!

Top 10 Wood burning Tips from CSIA

 

To aid in the prevention of chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion and to help keep heating appliances and fireplaces functioning properly, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) offers the following safety tips:

1. Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.

2. Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.

3. Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

4. Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months – one year and stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

5. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at the rear of the fireplace on a supporting grate. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids.

6. Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36″ away from the hearth.

7. Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring.

8. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time (November 6, 2011), remember to check your batteries.


9. Never leave a fire unattended. Before turning in for the evening, be sure that the fire is fully extinguished. Supervise children and pets closely around wood stoves and fireplaces.

10. The CSIA recommends annual inspections performed by CSIA Certified Chimney Sweeps. These chimney sweeps have earned the industry’s most respected credential by passing an intensive examination based on fire codes, clearances and standards for the construction and maintenance of chimney and venting systems. The National Fire Protection Association also recommends that all chimneys are inspected on an annual basis.

Chimney/Furnace maintenance is vital to your family’s safety:   

  • Be sure to read the manual for your fireplace or stove, and keep it handy. Every model is different and you’d be wise to know the particulars for safe and enjoyable use.
  • Install and maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Change that smoke detector battery!!

  • Burn only well-seasoned and dry firewood.!

  • Empty the ashes from previous fires before starting a new fire.
  • Manufactured fire logs create a clean burning fire and are an excellent choice. Just be sure to never burn more than one at a time, and let it burn down completely without using a log poker to break it apart.
  • Never put garbage, plastic, or charcoal — or anything else that isn’t firewood — in a fireplace.
  • Keep small children and pets away from a fireplace.
  • Make sure a fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.

 

 

How to Select Firewood

 

Firewood is an area where you can have great influence over how well your system performs and how enjoyable your experience will be. Quality, well seasoned firewood will help your wood stove or fireplace burn cleaner and more efficiently, while green or wet wood can cause smoking problems, odor problems, rapid creosote buildup and possibly even dangerous chimney fires.

A few minutes spent understanding firewood will be time well spent, so please read on for general background information, as well as how to buy wood and store wood.

Seasoned Wood
All firewood contains water. Freshly cut wood can be up to 45% water!, while well seasoned firewood generally has a 20-25% moisture content. Well seasoned firewood is easier to start, produces more heat, and burns cleaner. The important thing to remember is that the water must be gone before the wood will burn. If your wood is cut 6 months to a year in advance and properly stored, the sun and wind will do the job for free. If you try to burn green wood, the heat produced by combustion must dry the wood before it will burn, using up a large percentage of the available energy in the process. This results in less heat delivered to your home, and literally gallons of acidic water in the form of creosote deposited in your chimney.

Wood is composed of bundles of microscopic tubes that were used to transport water from the roots of the tree to the leaves. These tubes will stay full of water for years even after a tree is dead. This is why it is so important to have your firewood cut to length for 6 months or more before you burn it, it gives this water a chance to evaporate since the tube ends are finally open and the water only has to migrate a foot or two to escape. Splitting the wood helps too by exposing more surface area to the sun and wind, but cutting the wood to shorter lengths is of primary importance.

There are a few things you can look for to see if the wood you intend to purchase is seasoned or not. Well seasoned firewood generally has darkened ends with cracks or splits visible, it is relatively lightweight, and makes a clear “clunk” when two pieces are beat together. Green wood on the other hand is very heavy, the ends look fresher, and it tends to make a dull “thud” when struck. These clues can fool you however, and by far the best way to be sure you have good wood when you need it is to buy your wood the spring before you intend to burn it and store it properly.

Storing Firewood
Even well seasoned firewood can be ruined by bad storage. Exposed to constant rain or covered in snow, wood will reabsorb large amounts of water, making it unfit to burn and causing it to rot before it can be used. Wood should be stored off the ground if possible and protected from excess moisture when weather threatens.

The ideal situation is a wood shed, where there is a roof but open or loose sides for plenty of air circulation to promote drying. Next best would be to keep the wood pile in a sunny location and cover it on rainy or snowy days, being sure to remove the covering during fair weather to allow air movement and to avoid trapping ground moisture under the covering. Also don’t forget that your woodpile also looks like heaven to termites, so it’s best to only keep a week or so worth of wood near the house in easy reach. With proper storage you can turn even the greenest wood into great firewood in 6 months or a year, and it can be expected to last 3 or 4 years if necessary.

Buying Firewood
Firewood is generally sold by volume, the most common measure being the cord. Other terms often employed are face cord, rick, or often just a truckload. A standard cord of firewood is 128 cubic feet of wood, generally measured as a pile 8 feet long by 4 feet tall by 4 feet deep. A face cord is also 8 feet long by 4 feet tall, but it is only as deep as the wood is cut, so a face cord of 16″ wood actually is only 1/3 of a cord, 24″ wood yields 1/2 of a cord, and so on.

Webster defines a rick simply as a pile, and truck sizes obviously vary tremendously, so it is very important that you get all of this straight with the seller before agreeing on a price; there is much room for misunderstanding. It is best to have your wood storage area set up in standard 4 or 8 foot increments, pay the wood seller the extra few dollars often charged to stack the wood, and warn him before he arrives that you will cheerfully pay only when the wood actually measures up to an agreed upon amount.

Another thought concerning getting what you pay for is that although firewood is usually sold by volume, heat production is dependent on weight. Pound for pound, all wood has approximately the same BTU content, but a cord of seasoned hardwood weighs about twice as much as the same volume of softwood, and consequently contains almost twice as much potential heat. If the wood you are buying is not all hardwood, consider offering a little less in payment.

  • IF YOU SUSPECT (OR KNOW) THAT YOU HAVE A CHIMNEY FIRE:
    • Call the Fire Department by dialing 911.
    • Never try to remove burning logs from your fireplace. Use water or a fire extinguisher to put them out. Fire extinguisher is best. Be careful with putting water on the fire. On one hand, the steam created with a glass or two of water may put out the fire – or at least cool it down significantly. However, there is a possibility that the sudden cooling could crack any glass door/screen, or cause damage to mortar or other components. Ask a certified fireplace inspector or consult your factory stove / fireplace manual.
    • If you suspect a chimney fire, get everyone out of the house immediately and call the fire department. If you can do so safely, put out any fire in the stove or fireplace and close the damper. (Some fast-burning chimney fires produce dense smoke and flames shooting out the top of the chimney, often accompanied by a rumbling sound inside the chimney. Slow-burning chimney fires are much harder to detect but can also cause serious damage to the chimney and, possibly, to the house.)
    • If you suspect that you have had a chimney fire, do not use the fireplace again until a chimney sweep has checked it for any hidden damage.

     Information provided by Chimney Safety Institute of America.

Today’s blog post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald

Safety and Security Manager for ENMR·Plateau

koswald@plateautel.com


 


Falls and Fires! Window Safety from LAFD

Windows! They keep us connected to the outside world when we are indoors; they provide light and they allow us to keep out the cold or let the outside air in. They can also be a source of danger and the danger is two-fold. On the one hand we have to make sure that they open properly and easily to allow us to get out if we need to use them as an exit in case of fire; on the other hand they need to be guarded so that small children don’t fall out of or through them. Especially when the weather gets hot, windows tend to stay open a lot. Toddlers fatalities resulting from children falling from windows increase during the warm months.

The Los Angeles Fire Department’s website gives us a list of 9 tips for window safety. They are:

  1. Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. Determine your family’s emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.
  2. When performing household repairs, make sure windows are not painted or nailed shut. You must be able to open them to escape in an emergency.
  3. Keep your windows closed and latched when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach.
  4. Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows or patio doors. Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.
  5. Keep furniture — or anything children can climb — away from windows. Children may use such objects as a climbing aid.
  6. If you have young children in your home and are considering installing window guards or window fall prevention devices, be aware that the window guards you install must have a release mechanism so that they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency. Consult your local building code
    officials to determine proper window guard placement.
  7. Some homes have window guards, security bars, grilles or grates covering windows. Those windows can be useless in an emergency if they do not have a functioning release mechanism. Test them today because time is critical when escaping a fire.
  8. Do not install window unit air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window. Always be sure that you have at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
  9. The degree of injury sustained from a window fall can be affected by the surface on which the victim falls. Shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass beneath windows may lessen the impact if a fall does occur.

You can read the complete article on the LAFD website here.