Here are some fire safety tips for those that have been asking.

Home fire escape planning || Holiday fire safety || 9-1-1 || Firefighter/police fund raising
Fire escape planing for businesses || Fire setting by children

Home fire escape planning

When planning a home fire escape plan, draw a floor plan of your home to start with. Show all windows, doors, halls, stairs and bedrooms. Make sure all rooms, especially bedrooms, have at least two exits. Draw arrows on your plan to indicate normal exits. Mark emergency escape routes with lighter arrows. These alternative exits are to be used when normal exits are blocked. Test your escape routes.

Make sure windows can be opened easily and that screens and storm windows can be removed from the inside. If your bedrooms are on the second floor, provide folding escape ladders.

To account for everyone's safety, select and list on your plan a definite meeting place outside the house. Do not waste time gathering valuables or getting dressed. Assign someone to assist infants, elderly and handicapped family members.

Be prepared to call the fire department from a neighbor's house by dialing 911. Give the communication dispatcher your name, address, phone number and type of emergency you have. Be clear and try to relax when answering questions from the dispatcher because if you are not this may delay the fire departments arrival. Always hang up after the dispatcher has hung up.

Hold fire drills in your home. Have all family members participate. This will test the practicality of your plan and give you a chance to practice escaping.

Rember to crawl low under the smoke when exiting a home or your place of business. Smoke is the reason most people die in a house fire. Also remeber to feel the door with the back of your hand before exiting or going through the door. If it's HOT - DON'T GO THROUGH IT.

And remember EDITH (Exit Drills In The Home).

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Holiday fire safety

Holiday safety precautions are easily overlooked in the excitement of the holidays. Christmas trees and lights are common safety problems. Here are some tips to make your holidays safe.

Keep organic Christmas trees watered. This is particularly important when a Christmas tree is purchased well in advance of Christmas. Whether a cut tree or tree for planting, dry christmas trees can be very hazardous. Timely removal of Christmas trees after the holidays will assure drying does not get excessive. If this is an inconvenience a synthetic tree may be a safe alternative.

Continuously check electrical cords and lights for signs of damage. If damaged, replace. Use of damaged electrical cords and lights can cause an electrical short and lead to a fire. Lastly, daily checks of tree water and signs of cord damage, particularly where foot traffic occurs will lower risk of fire. This is especially important if pets are present. Pets will drink the water, causing the tree to dry out faster if not watered frequently. In addition, pets can damage electrical cords and lights. In the presence of holiday decorations, pets should be supervised.

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Civil defense/disaster preparedness

The primary purpose and responsibility of Disaster Preparedness is the development and implementation of Civil Defense and emergency management programs authorized under the Federal and State laws.

The goal of the Disaster Preparedness is to save lives and protect property by developing programs and emergency operational capabilities to prepare for, respond to and plan recovery in an emergency situation.

This is accomplished through preparing a basic operations plan that provides for direction and coordination between all government department and agencies, in city and county government department and agencies, as well as volunteer agencies. The agency provides training in management and operations of emergency centers and provides overall direction and coordination in an emergency.

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In the event you need the services of fire, police, or paramedics, dial 911 (pronounced nine-one-one). A dispatcher will answer the phone and ask you some questions about the emergency. Some of those questions are:

Emergency dispatchers stress that remaining calm is the thing you can do to help them.

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Firefighter/police fund raising

Beware of any telephone solicitations for cash or credit card numbers by anyone using a fire or police agency. Before making the decision to donate get the number and all the information about the agency. If you should have any questions about the validity of the solicitor call your local fire or police departments. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau.

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Fire escape planing for businesses

Fire exits are designed to provide continuous and unobstructed means of exiting out of a building. An exiting system in any building may include intervening aisles, doors, doorways, gates, corridors, exterior exit balconies, ramps, stairways, smoke proof enclosures, horizontal exits, exit passageways, exit courts and yards. Required exit doors must not be looked when a building is occupied. Escape routes should be posted at work stations and updated when changes are made. Remind personnel to observe the best escape route from their location. A fire drill/walk through is also a good idea and should be done on a regular basis (once per year minimum).

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Fire extinguishes

Portable fire extinguishes apply an "agent" that will cool burning fuel, restrict or remove the oxygen, or interfere with the chemical reaction so the fire cannot continue to burn. Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. Consider where you need fire extinguishes. Identify hazardous areas where fires are likely to start and which type of fire would occur in each area.

Extinguishes should be kept in a handy location but remote from the anticipated fire are. Everyone in the family should know where the extinguishes are and how to use them.

For class A fires in ordinary combustibles, such as wood, paper, cloth, upholstery, plastics or similar materials, use water or dry chemical type extinguishes.

For class B fires fueled by flammable liquids and gases, kitchen greases, paint, oil, kerosene or gasoline, use a dry chemical, carbon dioxide or halon extinguisher. Try and smother the fire if it is small and in you kitchen or garage.

For class C fire involving live electrical equipment or wires, use a dry chemical, carbon dioxide or halon extinguisher. The best way to attack this type of fire is disconnect the electrical supply. Never apply water to any electrical fire.

An ABC fire extinguisher will extinguish all three classes of fire and is the best type to have in your home. Check your fire extinguisher for detailed instructions on how to operate your particular type. The minimum rating for multi-purpose use around the home or small office is 2A:10BC.

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Fire setting by children

Most experts agree that the best way to understand a childs fire setting is by looking at the context and motivation for the fire behavior.

There are four types of fire setting and for each type, a different strategy is used to stop the behavior.

The first type is curiosity, usually found in 3 to 7 year old children. The child is curious and plays with fire to learn about it. Fire safety education is recommended.

The second type is a crisis, usually with 5 to 10 year olds involving a sudden change in life or recent trauma. The child is using fire as a "cry for help" to show his inability to cope with sudden change. Recommended treatment is counseling and education.

The third type is a delinquent. This usually involves children 10 to 14 years old. A child sets fire to impress peers, out of boredom, defiance or peer pressure. Restitution and education will help.

The fourth type is a problem fire setter, usually 7 to 12 years old with a history of school and social problems. Counseling is recommended.

Parents can help prevent most fire setting by keeping matches and lighters out of reach of children. Presently, very little pressure is required to ignite a disposable lighter, thus young children have the ability and strength to ignite a flame. Disposable lighters are the right size for a childs hand. Color awareness is beginning for many children at the age of 3 to 4, and disposable lighters come in very bright colors which may contribute to children thinking they are toys. Parental supervision needs to be considered.

Many parents strive to always keep matches and lighters out of reach of young children. There is a strike zone from the floor to an adultÕs shoulder height. This is an area which should be free of matches and lighters.

If an older child is curious about matches, show him/her the proper and safe way to use them, but only when an adult is present. Explain how matches and lighter's are tools not toys.

Often, when children play with fire, nothing happens. They develop a false sense of control over it. Fire play is very serious. Don't assume it is just a phase and will pass by itself. Children who play with fire can be dangerous to them selfs and others. Because children usually don't understand why they are setting fires, they can't stop without help.

For assistance with a child that you may consider a current or future fire setter contact your local fire department.

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Last updated Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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