Now that summer is almost gone, it's that time of year again where the leaves are changing and the cool weather is coming. Even though this is a beautiful time of the year, we still need to be aware of fire safety. There are just a few helpful tips to pay attention to as we go into the fall.
- Have your HOME HEATING SYSTEM serviced before the cool weather sets in. This could be a furnace, central heat, chimneys, etc. Call a professional heating/cooling company to service the furnace and/or central heating unit. Call a professional chimney company to inspect and clean your chimney. Do not burn trash, boxes, paper, etc. in the fireplace. Only burn wood that is suitable to burn in the fireplace. Insure that a fireplace screen is used when burning wood.
- SPACE HEATERS are also used during the cold months. Always keep the area clear around a space heater of 3-4 feet. If the heater needs venting, vent to the outside. Never vent inside. (Read Manufacturer's Instructions.) Never leave heaters on when you go to bed or when you leave your home. Make sure children and pets stay away from space heaters.
- Make sure you have SMOKE DETECTORS installed and working properly. Test the detectors once a month and follow the manufacturer's instructions. Set up a schedule to change the batteries in the smoke detectors twice a year. Some people schedule to change their batteries during Daylight Savings Time. (When you change your clocks.) If your detector starts to "chirp", the batteries should be replaced. This is a sign the battery is low. If your detector is ten years or older, it should be replaced. Detectors should be installed in every floor of the home including outside of each sleeping area, the basement, and in your bedroom if you keep the door closed when you are sleeping.
- Careless SMOKING is one of the most dangerous causes of fire deaths in the United States. Do not smoke in bed. Wet the butts before discarding them and use deep stable ash trays. Never throw butts in the trash can. Always check smoldering butts and insure they are completely extinguished.
- Be cautious when COOKING. Be careful not to wear loose fitting clothes when cooking. Make sure handles on the pots, frying pans, etc. are turned towards the back of the stove. Keep children away from the stove when cooking. If a grease fire ignites, cover it with a lid, turn off the heat source, and let it cool before discarding.
- Always store MATCHES AND LIGHTERS in a safe place, high up, preferably locked up. When purchasing a lighter, purchase a child-resistant one. Teach your children the dangers of matches and lighters and that are only to be used by adults. If a child finds matches or lighters, teach them to bring it immediately to an adult.
- LEAF BURNING can produce unwanted smoke that could affect health. Check local and state laws on burning requirements. Try to dispose of leaves another way besides burning. Make sure you check the weather conditions before burning, make sure it is not windy conditions.
- Be cautious when DRIVING in the fall weather. This time of year produces rainy and foggy weather. Be extra careful if you have to drive in these conditions. If you don't have to drive in these conditions, then don't. Since this is fall, be careful of leaves falling when driving because this can cause your visibility to be obstructed. Be cautious of icy conditions. As fall is ending and we approach the winter months, ice is always a concern. Drive with extreme caution on icy roads and abide by all signs and warnings posted on the roadways.
- Always watch out for CHILDREN. Fall is a beautiful time of the year, children love to go outside and play, and ride bicycles in the nice weather. Please be very cautious.
- BOATING is always enjoyable, even in the fall. But be extremely careful when boating in the fall weather. Boating accidents occur more in the summer months, but can happen anytime of the year. If a boating accident occurs in the fall weather, you are exposed to colder water and hypothermic conditions. Everyone should attend and complete a Boater Safety Course and abide by all rules and regulations when boating.
If a Fire Occurs
- CRAWL LOW UNDER SMOKE. Hot air and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner and the visibility is better near the floor.
- If your clothes catch on fire, STOP, DROP, AND ROLL, don't run. Once you drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands and continue to roll until you have smothered the flames.
- Plan your ESCAPE ROUTE Prepare an E.D.I.T.H. drill. (Exit Drill In The Home) Practice the drill at least twice a year and keep refreshed on it. You have to get out fast! Make sure that everyone knows two exits from each room, doors and windows. Do not use elevators in your plan. Have a meeting place outside the home. Make sure everyone agrees on and understands the plan.