Fire Safety

 Install Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide DETECTORS can alert you to danger in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. To wake up and survive a nighttime fire, you must have working detectors!

You should install detectors in the following areas:
  • Detectors outside each sleeping area (a common hallway, for example).
  • Detectors on each level of your home if more than one story. (including the basement).
  • An additional detector in each bedroom, as you should sleep with your door closed.
  • Placement of detectors is very important. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use these guidelines to help you.
    • Mount on the ceiling at least six inches from the wall or on a wall between six and twelve inches from the ceiling, but keep detectors about six inches away from the corner where the ceiling and wall meet (the corner is a "dead air space" where the detector won't be in the path of smoke travel).
    • For high pitched or "cathedral" ceilings, mount the detectors three feet from the highest point.
    • Avoid placement in the path of ceiling fans, air conditioning or heater vents.
    • Make certain smoke detectors are UL listed.
    • Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.
    • When replacing smoke detectors, replace them with a lithium battery smoke detector.
    • (a lithium battery will last the life of the detector.)
    • Test detectors once a month, following the manufacturer's directions, and replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector "chirps" or "beeps" to signal low battery power. A good time to replace your smoke detector batteries is when you reset your clocks for daylight savings time. Never "borrow" a detector's battery for another use - a disabled detector can't save your life.
Make sure children know what an alarm is. Children must know:
  • Alarms warn them of danger.
  • Get out of the house immediately when they hear the sound of the alarm.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are not toys and should not be played with.
  • Show your child how important these dangers are by testing your alarms every month.

Back to Top

Plan a Fire Drill and Escape Routes

Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan. A well prepared escape plan helps to avoid panic and may save your lives.

  • Review and determine at least two unobstructed exits from every room in your house. Doors should be your primary exit and windows your next choice.
  • Have each person practice opening doors and windows. Show children how to open door and window locks.
  • Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet, such as a neighbor's porch, tree or lamppost.
Practice makes Perfect. Practice your fire drill and escape routes.
  • Have everyone lie in bed and wait for the drill.
  • Begin the drill by pressing the smoke detector test button. For more realism, continue to sound the alarm until everyone is outside.
  • Practice yelling "Fire!" to help alert others in the home.
  • Roll out of bed and stay low to the floor.
  • Each person should crawl to your primary exit of that room. If it is blocked by smoke or fire, use your other designated exit.
  • Feel any closed door with the back of your hand before opening it. If it is hot, do not open it, use your other exit.
  • Make sure everyone goes to the meeting place.
  • Assign someone at the meeting place to be the one to go to a neighbor's home to call 911.
  • Never go back into a burning building! Get out, Stay out, and Stay alive!

Back to Top

Practice the "Stop, Drop & Roll" Method

If your clothes catch on fire, don't run. Instead, stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll over and over with your hands covering your face.

  • Stop - Stop where you are, do not run.
  • Drop - Drop to the ground quickly.
  • Roll - Cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames.

Back to Top 

Post Emergency Numbers Near Telephones 

  • Dial 9 1 1 for Fire
  • Dial 724-863-8800 for Medical/Police (North Huntingdon Twp. Only) 
Be aware that if a fire threatens your home, you should not place the call to emergency services from inside the home. It is better to get out and place the call to fire authorities from a safe location outside the home.

Cool a Burn

If someone gets burned, immediately run cool water over the burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or grease on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, seek medical assistance immediately.

 Back to Top

Careless Smoking

  • Do not smoke in bed or when drowsy.
  • Make sure to extinguish matches and cigarette butts.
  • Never rest a burning cigarette on the edge of a counter or table, where it could be forgotten and cause a fire.
  • Do not flick cigarette butts into dry grass or leaves in the yard.

 Back to Top

Electrical Hazards 

  • Do not touch electrical devices when your hands are wet or when standing in water.
  • If you feel a "zap" when touching an appliance, unplug it immediately and have it repaired.
  • Replace any electrical cords that are cracked or frayed.
  • Do not overload electrical outlets or extension cords and do not run extension cords under rugs.
  • Do not mess with your fusebox or use improper sized fuses.
  • Electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician and the work should meet local building codes and be inspected by local building officials.
  • Keep halogen lights away from any flammable material and low ceiling areas. Do not leave halogen lights on when you leave your home.

 Back to Top

Space Heaters 

  • Some space heaters are required to be plugged into its own electrical circuit.
  • Do not use an extension cord when plugging it in.
  • Provide adequate spacing around the heater, at least three feet from anything that can burn, including the wall.
  • Keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you are not at home or go to bed.
  • Make certain heaters are UL listed.

 Back to Top

 Cooking Safety 

  • Practice safe cooking and never leave your cooking unattended.
  • Always turn pot handles so children can't reach them or pull them over.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy and available.
  • If grease catches fire, smother it first with a lid, or use baking soda to smother the flames. Turn off the burner if you can, and NEVER use water to put out a grease fire.
  • Keep dish towels away from the stove top and watch loose fitting garments from catching on fire, especially the sleeves.

 Back to Top

Storage of Combustibles 

  • Gasoline and other flammables should be stored in tight metal containers outside of the home.
  • Never store gasoline or other flammables in your basement.
  • Do not use flammable liquids near any open flame or sparks.
  • Never use gasoline on a barbecue.
  • Sort and remove newspapers and rubbish from furnace or heater area.

 Back to Top

 Fire Safety concepts from Royal Oak Fire Department, Royal Oak, Michigan

© 2022 Westmoreland City Volunteer Fire Department