The Vineland Fire Department has compiled a list of fire safety tips to keep you and your family members from becoming one of these deadly statistics.
1. EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE AT LEAST ONE WORKING SMOKE DETECTOR ON EACH LEVEL
Smoke detectors are available for purchase at any hardware store and most retail stores. They are also available at Vineland Fire Headquarters-free of charge. A smoke alarm is 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 in a fire Test it monthly, keep it free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Never remove the battery or disable the smoke detector. Smoke detector themselves should be replaced after ten years of service, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. PORTABLE HEATERS
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. Never cleanout wood stoves or fireplaces unless you are absolutely certain the ashes are cool. 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.
5. PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
In the event of a fire, remember - time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames. Practice an escape plan from every room in the house and know two ways out. Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or a front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor's home to phone the fire department. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Teach children not to hide from firefighters. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.
6. NEVER LEAVE MATCHES OR LIGHTERS IN REACH OF CHILDREN
Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, children set over 18,900 house fires every year. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. Children who are caught playing with fire or damage a vehicle, structure or injure a person are enrolled in the Vineland Fire Department's Juvenile Fire-setters Program.
7. NEVER LEAVE CANDLES BURNING UNATTENDED
Candles should be used under the supervision of an adult. A candle is an open flame, objects in close proximity could become involved in fire should the candle fall over. Although candles may give off a pleasant aroma, they are dangerous and should only be used while someone is occupying the room.
Smoking is not only hazardous to your health, it can have deadly results in the form of
fire. Never lie down or smoke in bed. Always dispose of ashes in a safe manner, by waiting a day to dispose of them or by making certain that they are cool.
9. FIRE EXTINGUISHERS
In November 2005, Acting Governor Richard Codey signed into law legislation requiring that upon the sale, lease or transfer of a building with three or fewer dwelling units, each unit be equipped with at least one portable fire extinguisher. The law defines portable fire extinguisher as "an operable portable device, carried and operated by hand, containing an extinguishing agent that can be expelled under pressure for the purpose of suppressing or extinguishing fire, and which is: (1) rated for residential use consisting of an ABC type; (2) no larger than a 10 pound rated extinguisher; and (3) mounted within 10 feet of the kitchen area, unless otherwise permitted by the enforcing agency." A fire extinguisher when used properly can adequately extinguish small amounts of fire, keeping a small fire from becoming a large one.
Information obtained from U.S. Fire Administration and New Jersey Association of Realtors.