Home Fire Prevention Checklist
Safe and Warm
- Space heaters should be at least 3 feet away from walls, sofas, and anything else that can burn.
- Your chimney should be inspected or cleaned every year.
- If you have a fireplace, it should include a sturdy screen to catch sparks.
- Your heating system should be professionally inspected or serviced every year.
- Your home should have carbon monoxide (CO) alarms outside each sleeping area.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside.
- If someone smokes in your home, you should have large, deep, and sturdy ashtrays.
- Matches and lighters should be stored up high, out of sight, and out of reach of children.
- Paints, gasoline, and other flammable liquids should be stored away from flames and sparks.
- Gasoline should be stored outisde the home in a separate shed or garage.
- Storage areas shoud be clean - free from oily rags and paint cans.
- The tripping points of your fuses or breakers should match the capacity of the circuits they protect.
- You should test your bathroom and kitchen ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) every month.
(National Fire Protection Agency)
Keeping Your Family Safe From Fire
Smoke Alarm Tips
- Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
- For best protection, install interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and throughout the home. When one sounds, they should all sound.
- Test your smoke alarms at least once a month and replace your batteries at least once a year. Consider installing smoke alarms with "long-life" (10-year) batteries.
Please Note: These alarms also must be tested once a month.
- Make sure everyone in your home knows the sound of your smoke alarms.
- You should have alarms with flashing lights for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- If there are any smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old, they should be replaced.
- Your family should have a home fire escape plan that is practiced twice a year.
- Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home. Sprinklers can contain or put out a fire in less time than it takes the fire department to arrive.
- An adult should stay in the kitchen when food is being fried, grilled, or broiled.
- Make sure your stovetop is clean of grease, spills, and clutter.
- While cooking, turn pot handles toward the back of the stove.
(National Fire Protection Agency)
Home Smoke Alarms
Choosing Your Alarm
- Be sure the smoke alarm you buy has the label of an independent testing lab.
- Alarms that run on household current (and include battery backup) require professional installation.
- You can usually install alarms that run on just batteries yourself.
- "Long-life" alarms have 10-year batteries, which are intended to last the life of the smoke alarm.
- Some alarms have a "hush" button so you can silence them if cooking fumes or steam sets off a "nuisance alarm." These models reactivate automatically after 8 to 10 minutes.
- For people who are deaf or hard of hearing, some alarms flash a strobe-like light.
Placing Your Alarms
- Install alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
- For the best protection, install interconnected alarms in each bedroom and throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Some studies have shown that children may not awaken to the sound of the smoke alarm. Know before a fire occurs what your child will do.
- On floors without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room and/or near the stairways to the upper level.
- Don't install alarms closer than 3 feet from a bathroom door.
- Don't install alarms in locations where the temperature may be too low or too high.
- Use a photoelectric type alarm or an ionization smoke alarm with a "hush" feature if it is located within 20 feet of a cooking appliance.
- Mount alarms high on a wall or on the ceiling, because smoke rises.
- Wall mounting: Position the top of the alarm 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling.
- Ceiling mounting: Position alarms at least 4 inches from the nearest wall.
- In a room with a pitched ceiling, mount the alarm at or near the ceiling's highest point.
- Basement alarms should be located near the stairway leading to the floor above.
- Don't mount an alarm within 3 feet of a forced-air supply register.
Installing and Maintaining Your Smoke Alarms
- Follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
- Install most battery-powered and plug-in alarms using only a drill and a screwdriver. Plug-in alarms must have restraining devices at the plug.
- Never connect an alarm to a circuit that can be turned off from a wall switch.
- Always save and follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing and maintenence.
- Test alarms at least monthy.
- Replace smoke alarms that use long-life (10 year) batteries when the alarm chirps or fails to respond to monthly testing. The batteries in these alarms cannot be replaced.
(National Fire Protection Agency.)
The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
What is carbon monoxide?
- Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste, or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea, and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health, and the concentration and length of exposure.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
- CO gas can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces, or fireplaces and motor vehicles.
Who is at risk?
- Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens, and people with heart or lung problems are at an even greater risk for CO poisoning.
What actions can I take if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?
- If no one is feeling ill:
- Silence the alarm.
- Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion (i.e. furnace and fireplace).
- Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows.
- Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of the possible CO buildup.
- If illness is a factor: Evacuate all occupants immediately.
- Determine how many occupants are ill and determine their symptoms.
- Call your local emergency number and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill.
- Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department representative.
- Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the C
(United States Fire Administration)
**For further information or tips, contact the Lyons Fire Department at (708) 447-6655.