Safety in the home begins with you. The Cherry Valley Fire Dept. wants to remind you of a few simple things you can do to prevent a fire from starting in your home.
In the Kitchen….
- The leading cause of fires in the home is fire in the kitchen. Never leave cooking unattended. Always stay near the stove when cooking. Things like watching TV, reading or playing with children should not be done at the same time you’re cooking.
- Turn pan handles inward to avoid knocking or pulling them over.
- Keep your stove and oven clean inside and out. A buildup of grease can catch fire. If a grease fire starts on the stove, carefully slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the burner. Never pour water on a grease fire!
- Keep items such as pot holders, towels and miscellaneous paper waste off your stove.
In the Living Room…
- Keep space heaters and wood stoves at least 3 feet from walls, curtains, furniture and blankets. Never leave children alone when a space heater or wood stove is in use.
- If you use a kerosene heater, refuel it only with kerosene. Do it outside and only if the heater has cooled down.
- If you have a fireplace, remember: Use a screen and close glass doors when in use. Never burn trash or anything except wood in your fireplace. Remove items from your hearth like decorations, papers and wood.
- Be sure fuses and circuit breakers are sufficient for the loads that each circuit is designed to handle. If in doubt, call a qualified electrician.
- Never run electrical extension cords under carpets or doorways. Be careful not to pinch cords in doors or under furniture.
- If an appliance emits a burning smell, blows a fuse or you feel a tingle when you touch it, disconnect it immediately and have it repaired by a qualified professional.
- Do not substitute pennies or other items in place of fuses in your fuse box.
General Safety at Home…
- Install at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home. Include the basement and in or near every bedroom. Test your smoke alarm batteries monthly and replace batteries once a year or sooner if the smoke alarm “chirps” telling you the batteries are low. Replace any smoke alarm that’s 10 years old or older.
- Everyone in your home should sit down and help make a fire escape plan. Start by drawing a simple floor plan of your home noting location of doors and windows. Know two ways out of every room (usually a door and a window). Pick a meeting place outside of your home. Tell everyone to meet there after they’re out. Once everyone’s out, Stay Out! Never go back into a burning building. Practice and update your escape plan twice a year with your family.
Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Each year, hundreds of people experience what they think are symptoms of the flu such as headaches, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. Carbon monoxide poisoning produces many of these same effects on the body and if not recognized and treated, can be deadly.
What does carbon monoxide (CO) do?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas. Since you cannot smell carbon monoxide gas, you need to purchase and install at least one UL listed carbon monoxide detector for your home. Carbon monoxide displaces the body’s essential oxygen. Besides flu-like symptoms, it can cause confusion, vomiting, loss of consciousness, brain damage and eventually, death. Advanced stages of carbon monoxide poisoning can be characterized by a cherry-red skin color. While anybody is at risk, unborn babies, infants, senior citizens and people with heart problems or breathing difficulties are especially at risk. If you or anyone else in your family experiences these symptoms that are persistent, open your doors and windows, get out and call the fire department immediately!
Sources of carbon monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a by-product of incomplete combustion of the following items:
- Space heater
- Gasoline engines
- Barbeque grill
- Gas dryer
- Cook top
- Hot water heater
Do’s and don’ts
- Do install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home. Place at least one near sleeping areas, another one outside your furnace room. If you need help in placement of a detector, call your local fire department for assistance.
- Do make sure manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes are followed when installing fuel-burning appliances.
- Do have your heating system, including chimneys and vents, inspected and serviced annually. Inspect vents for improper connections, rust or stains.
- Do be aware of any indications that an appliance is not working properly.
- Don’t leave a car running in a garage.
- Don’t use a gas oven for heating.
- Don’t operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in a closed room.
If your carbon monoxide (CO) detector activates, open windows, get everyone out and call the fire department immediately!