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Fire Safety

Make a plan to keep your family safe from fire. Always be aware of dangers in your home. Include your entire household in preparing an escape plan. The National Fire Protection Association website contains additional information and resources.

Use the following checklist to prevent a fire, stop a fire from spreading, and survive a fire.

Fire Prevention

  1. Furnaces and boilers
    • Have serviced and cleaned by a reputable technician every year.
    • Maintain a minimum of three (3') foot clearance to furnace and water heaters at all times.
    • Install a CO detector near the heating units.
    • Have chimneys cleaned and inspected at regular intervals.
  2. Baseboard electric heat
    • Keep clean and make sure all guards are in place.
    • Keep drapery, storage and any other material away from the surface and interior heating coils.
  3. Flammable Liquids
    • Storage not permitted in a basement.
    • Keep storage at an absolute minimum. One gallon is the current maximum permitted in a dwelling. Should be in a shed or detached garage.
    • Store in approved, labeled, sturdy containers away from any source of heat.
  4. Storage of combustibles: 
                  Must be neat, in approved storage areas such as closets, drawers and must be away from sourced of ignition. Outside storage, such as a porch storage, can catch fire and destroy your home.
  5. Electrical System
    • All electrical panels, switches and junction boxes must have approved covers or switch plates installed; the panel box door must be kept shut.
    • Do not overload outlets, used fused plug strips if necessary.
    • Update old wiring systems and equipment.
    • Do not wire yourself unless you have the proper training and certification.
  6. Use of extension cords
    • Discard old extension cords (cracked, twisted, damaged or over twenty (20) years old.
    • Do not run through any ceiling, floor, wall or doorway.
    • Do not run under carpets or mats etc.
    • Must be over twelve (12') feet long except for temporary use, such as weed control.
    • Should be visible for inspection
    • Must not be restricted or pinched at any point.
    • Do not push bed, sofas, cabinets against the plug.
  7. Portable Heaters
    • Kerosene heaters are only permitted in single family dwellings.
    • Do not let heaters run unattended.
    • Maintain three (3') feet of clearance.
    • Check power cord and plug for damage and hot spots.
    • Do not use heaters where combustibles could fall on it.
  8. Candles
    • Use only candles made to be burned, do not burn decorative candles with odd shapes.
    • Do not leave candles unattended, blow out candle if you leave the area.
    • For extra safety, place all candles in a metal pan with liquid-tight sides (such as a pic plate) and place that on an insulated surface (such as a porcelain trivet or piece of drywall).
    • Do not burn candles near draperies or curtains or near open windows.
    • Trim wicks to 1/4 inch before lighting.
    • Do not burn candles with less than one (1") inch of wax remaining (except votives and tea lights).
  9. Cooking
    • Do not leave the kitchen while cooking; this remains the major cause of fires.
    • Be very careful when heating oil, an approved deep fryer should be used when cooking with lots of oil since they have safety controls installed.
  10. Matches and lighters
    • Keep completely out of reach of children
    • Teach children not to play with them, turn them over to an adult.
    • Keep only the amount absolutely needed in a home with children because curious children can find most anything.
  11. Spray painting
    • Do not use spray paint inside a home.
  12. Oil use: (When using linseed oil, stains or any other oil)
    • Follow all directions for use of the product and for the disposal of rags and brushes. These liquids can cause a fire when left on rags or other combustibles. Do not launder rags. When in doubt store the materials away from dwelling in a closed metal container.
  13. Smoking
    • Smoking area must be provided with deep, non-combustible, non-tip ashtrays.
    • Empty ash trays into a metal trash can unless the butts are absolutely and completely out and/or water soaked.
  14. Propane Tanks
    • Not to be stored inside any residence or garage.
    • Only exception is for small propane bottles used for torches.

Stopping the Spread of Fire

  1. Maintain an approved ABC type fire extinguisher in your home. It must be mounted where it will be visible and accessible in case of fire. It should have a gauge to show that the unit is properly charged.
  2. Have the fire extinguisher serviced at regular intervals. Check the pressure gauge weekly.
  3. Learn how to use the fire extinguisher.
  4. Keep doors closed whenever possible. When leaving a burning building, close all doors on the way out.
  5. Keep combustible and storage to a minimum. Consider placing storage in an approved storage facility. Do not place storage on stairs, exit paths or block exit doors and windows.
  6. If you smell smoke, see fire, smell gas or think there is a fire in your home or nearby, call 911.
  7. Keep a portable phone or cell phone nearby the fire exit so that you can call after leaving the building. If it doesn't work call from a neighbors home.

Surviving a Fire

  1. Install smoke detectors
    • Inside every bedroom.
    • On every floor level including the basement.
    • Outside every bedroom area
    • Read directions before installing.
    • Consider installing a full fire alarm system.
  2. Test smoke detectors monthly.
  3. Have a fire escape plan and practice it often
    • Have two ways out from every room, make sure that the escape windows open.
    • Consider buying a fire escape ladder if you are above the first floor.
    • Close doors on the way out.
    • Have a meeting place outside.
    • Do not go back inside for any reason.
    • Make sure 911 was called.
  4. Make sure that you have homeowner's or renter's insurance. The property owner's policy does not insure renter losses.