FIRE AND VARIOUS SAFETY INFORMATION
At the Cumberland Fire Department, we recognize the importance of safety. We not only preach fire safety but we also consider many other safety topics that we feel the need to be addressed to our community. Below are some safety tips that we hope will keep you and your family out of danger.
FIRE SAFETY TIPS
More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 25,000 are injured. An overwhelming number of fires occur in the home. There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire. It’s not a question of luck. It’s a matter of planning ahead. Every home should have at least one working smoke alarm.
Buy a smoke alarm at any hardware or discount store. It’s inexpensive protection for you and your family. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. A working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival. Test it monthly, keep it free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Smoke alarms themselves should be replaced after ten years of service, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Prevent Electrical Fires
Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.
Use Appliances Wisely
When using appliances follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home.
Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away. Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread. Kerosene heaters should be used only where approved by authorities. Never use gasoline or camp-stove fuel. Refuel outside and only after the heater has cooled.
Home Fire Sprinklers
When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, your chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. Sprinklers are affordable – they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.
Plan Your Escape
Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out then call for help. Remember GET OUT, STAY OUT!
Caring for Children
Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, children set over 20,000 house fires every year. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy.
Caring for Older People
Every year over 1,200 senior citizens die in fires. Many of these fire deaths could have been prevented. Seniors are especially vulnerable because many live alone and can’t respond quickly, or remove themselves from a dangerous environment due to immobility.
CARBON MONOXIDE INFORMATION
Each year in America, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning claims approximately 165 lives and sends another 10,000 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. The United States Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
UNDERSTANDING THE RISK
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 even greater risk for CO poisoning.
What Actions Should I Take If My CO Detector Goes Off?
What you need to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off depends on whether anyone is feeling ill or not.
If no one is feeling ill:
- Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion (i.e. furnace and fireplace).
- Exit the structure as soon as possible
- Call the Fire Department (Dial 911) 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 911 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 CO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY FROM CO POISONING
- Install at least one UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms.
Carbon monoxide alarms measure levels of CO over time and are designed to sound an alarm before an average, healthy adult would experience symptoms. It is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This does not mean that CO is not present.
Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year. Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage. Never keep a car running in a garage. Even if the garage doors are open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of CO.
When purchasing an existing home, have a qualified technician evaluate the integrity of the heating and cooking systems, as well as the sealed spaces between the garage and house. The presence of a carbon monoxide alarm in your home can save your life in the event of CO buildup.
WATER SAFETY INFORMATION
To learn how to swim contact your local American Red Cross or YMCA. Swim in supervised areas only. Obey all rules and posted signs. Watch out for the “dangerous too’s”–too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity. Don’t mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm. Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather. Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.
POISONING PREVENTION INFORMATION
Children under the age of six are at the greatest risk for unintentional poisoning. They are curious by nature and investigate their world by putting most things in their mouths. They will eat or drink anything regardless of how it tastes. Children like the attractive packaging, good smells and are drawn to the colorful substances of many of the products found around the home. Store potential poisons out of reach of small children. Store all poisonous household and chemical products out of sight of children. If you are using a product and need to answer the telephone or doorbell, take the child with you. Most poisonings occur when the product is in use.
Store all products in their original containers. DO NOT use food containers such as milk jugs or soda bottles to store household and chemical products. Store food and household and chemical products in separate areas. Mistaken identity could cause a serious poisoning. Many poisonous products look-a-like and come in containers very similar to drinks or food. An example of this is apple juice and pine cleaner. Return household and chemical products to safe storage immediately after use. Use extra caution during mealtimes or when the family routine is disrupted.
Many poisonings take place at this time. Pesticides can be absorbed through the skin and can be extremely toxic. Keep children away from areas that have recently been sprayed. Store these products in a safe place where children cannot reach them. Discard old or outdated household and chemical products. Take time to teach children about poisonous substances. Keep the telephone number of your local Poison Control Center on or near your telephone.
Keep medicines out of sight, locked up and out of reach of children.
Make sure that all medicines are in child-resistant containers and labeled properly. Remember child resistant does not mean child proof. Never leave pills on the counter or in a plastic bags. Always store medicines in their original container with a child-resistant cap. Keep purses and diaper bags out of reach of children. Avoid taking medicines in front of children. Young children often imitate “grown-ups.” DON’T call medicine candy.
Medicines and candy look-a-like and children cannot tell the difference. Vitamins are medicine. Vitamins with iron can be especially poisonous. Keep them locked up and out of reach of children. Be aware of medicines that visitors may bring into your home. Children are curious and may investigate visitor’s purses and suitcases. Do not Ipecac syrup unless instructed by the Poison Control Center or your doctor. Keep the telephone number of your local Poison Control Center on or near your telephone.
If you need more information about plants in your area or would like a list of poisonous and non-poisonous plants, contact your local Poison Control Center. Know the name of the plants in your home and in your yard. Label all of your plants. If you are having difficulty identifying a plant, take a sample to a nursery for identification.
Keep poisonous plants out of reach of children and pets.
Teach your children not to eat mushrooms growing in the yard. Some of these mushrooms can be poisonous. Be aware that mushrooms are abundant after rainy weather. Teach your children not to eat leaves and berries that grow in the yard. Do not assume a plant is safe to eat if you see wild animals eating it. Keep children and pets away from plants that have recently been sprayed with weed killer, bug killer or fertilizer. Have your local Poison Control Center send you a list of poisonous and non-poisonous plants.