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Fire Safety Tips
Dec 27, 2007
Learn CPR InformationHave a question about CPR?
Ask The Doctor
Click Here!

 

Click here to view Chinese translation
Sona aqui para Español
Learn CPR is a free public service supported by the University of Washington School of Medicine.  We hope to provide you with all the information you need to learn the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation-CPR.

Please select from the links below for more information about CPR.

CPR INFO
Illustrated
guides
detailing CPR
CPR FOR ADULTS - CPR in three simple steps
CPR FOR CHILDREN - CPR in six steps for small children
CPR FOR INFANTS - CPR for infants in six simple steps
CPR POCKET GUIDE - CPR instructions you can print and take with you
CPR FOR CATS & DOGS -CPR instructions for your family pet
FUN & FACTS
Games, links
and our
FAQ
FAQ - Have a question about CPR? Check here first
CPR FACTS - Facts and general information about CPR
CPR LINKS - Links to other great CPR resources
CPR VIDEO - Video demonstration of CPR
CPR QUIZ - Think you're an expert? Take our quiz and test yourself
CPR HISTORY - Interested in learning about the history of CPR?
SELF CPR? - Click here to view information about this phenomenon.

CHOKING INFO
First aid
for choking
victims
CONSCIOUS ADULTS AND CHILDREN - First aid for a choking conscious adult and child
CONSCIOUS INFANTS - First aid for a choking infant
 
This web site is to be used as a free guide and an informational resource, but it cannot replace real CPR or first aid training. Please try to attend a CPR training course in your community and help save a life.
 
 

Last updated:
12/27/2007 12:52:11
Last updated:
11/12/2004 22:32:04
Last updated:
11/12/2004 19:48:54
Last updated:
11/05/2003 15:46:18

Questions or Comments?
Email Mickey Eisenberg M.D. at learncpr@u.washington.edu

 


Dec 27, 2007
Outdoor Grill safety
  • Before using your BBQ for the first time this season, check it thoroughly to ensure that all hoses are clear and firmly attached and that there are no leaks or blockages.
  • Never use water to control grease flare-ups on gas barbeques.
  • Before having a propane cylinder filled, check it for dents, gouges or other signs of disrepair.
  • When having a cylinder filled, it is important to make sure that the cylinder is not overfilled.  Also, check the expiry date, you should never use or refill a cylinder that is older than ten years.
  • Check and make sure all connections are tight BEFORE turning on the gas. Leaks can be detected by dabbing the connections with a solution of soapy water and turning on the gas momentarily. If bubbles occur, there is a leak and it must be fixed before the grill is used.
  • NEVER store spare propane cylinders indoors or near a barbecue, heat source or open flame.
  • Always set up BBQ's in an open area at least 10 feet from any house, shed, fence, tree or any other combustible material, such as leaves or brush. Be aware of the wind blowing sparks.
  • It's a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher within handy reach.
  • To prevent burns use long handled barbecue tools and/or flame retardant mitts.
  • Do not wear loose clothing and watch for dangling apron strings and shirt-tails.
  • NEVER start a gas grill with the lid closed.
  • When using starter fluid make sure to place the can away from the grill before lighting and NEVER add fluid to an already lit grill.


Dec 27, 2007

Surviving a Fire in Your Home

Here are a few important steps to help you survive a fire in your home.

It's 3 a.m. and your smoke alarm sounds. What should you do?Stay Low To Get Out Alive

Don't waste valuable time getting dressed. Before leaving your room, feel the door for heat. If the door is hot, don't open it. Leave by your alternate exit. If you can't leave the room, take precautions to prevent smoke from entering the room. Place a towel or other materials at the base of all doors. Seal other openings, such as air registers as well. Then go to a window and call for help.

If the door is cool to the touch, open it carefully and be prepared to close it again if you encounter smoke. At this point you should institute your fire escape plan. If you can leave, but encounter some smoke, stay low and crawl on your hands and knees to the nearest exit. Remember, smoke and toxic gases rise. It is easier to see and breathe if you are close to the floor.

Once you are out, go directly to your meeting place and then call the fire department from a neighbor's house. Never re-enter a burning building.

Stop, Drop and Roll

Everyone must know what to do if their clothing catches fire. The best way to smother flames is to stop, drop and roll. Your reaction must be immediate. Never try to run because the flames will become more intense.

You must stop and immediately drop to the floor, and roll over and over to smother the flames. This may be difficult to do if you have some physical limitations, but is is crucial that you manage to lower yourself to the ground as quickly as possible. If you can't lower yourself to the ground, then a large towel or blanket can be used to smother the flames on your clothing.

If someone else's clothing is on fire, get them on the floor and smother the flames with a coat, blanket or rug.

 


Dec 27, 2007

Safety Tips: Portable Fire Extinguishers

 

This is a brief overview of the important points of using a portable fire extinguisher. Fire can be devastating, but when used properly, a fire extinguisher can save lives and property.

FIRE

Fire is the process that occurs when heat, fuel, and oxygen join together, either by chemical chain reaction, Nature or by human intervention. Fire extinguishers work by removing one of these items. Fire can be prevented by keeping these items away from each other.


TYPES OF FIRE

There are three common types or classes of fire:

CLASS "A"

class "A" type fires involve ordinary combustibles such as: wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and many plastics.

CLASS "B"

class "B" type fires involve flammable liquids such as: gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paints, lacquer, and flammable gases.

CLASS "C"

class "C" type fires involve energized electrical equipment such as: wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.

Fire extinguishers are tested to determine what class of fire they are suitable for. Fire extinguishers will be marked as to which fires they may or may not be used on. Make sure the fire extinguisher you select is rated for the class of fire you intend to fight.


USING A FIRE EXTINGUISHER

The pass word is a method for operating most common fire extinguishers. It is a four step method.

"P"

Stands for PULL the pin. This will unlock the operating handle and allow you to discharge the extinguisher.

"A"

Stands for AIM at the base of the fire.

"S"

Stands for SQUEEZE the operating handle. This will discharge the fire fighting agent.

"S"

Stands for SWEEP from side to side. Move carefully in on the fire, aiming at the base, sweep back and forth.

IN CASE OF FIRE

  • Evacuate the building
  • Call the fire department
  • Make sure the fire is small
  • Make sure you have a clear way out
  • Make sure the fire extinguisher is rated for the type of fire and that you know how to use the extinguisher.
  • Start as far away from the fire as possible
  • Always back away from the fire even if it appears to be out.
  • It is reckless to fight the fire if these conditions do not exist, instead leave the building closing the doors behind you to slow the spreading of the fire and smoke.

 


Dec 27, 2007

The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized world. For 1997, the U.S. fire death rate was 15.2 deaths per million population.

Between 1993 and 1997, an average of 4,500 Americans lost their lives and another 26,500 were injured annually as the result of fire.

About 100 firefighters are killed each year in duty-related incidents.

Each year, fire kills more Americans than all natural disasters combined.

Fire is the third leading cause of accidental death in the home; at least 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in residences.

About 2 million fires are reported each year. Many others go unreported, causing additional injuries and property loss.

Direct property loss due to fires is estimated at $8.5 billion annually.


Where Fires Occur

There were 1,795,000 fires in the United States in 1997. Of these:

               40% were Outside Fires
               31% were Structure Fires
               22% were Vehicle Fires
                7 % were fires of other types

Residential fires represent 23 percent of all fires and 74 percent of structure fires.

Fires in the home most often start in the:

                Kitchen 29%
                Bedroom 13%
                Living Room 7%
                Chimney 5%
                Laundry Area 4%

The South and Northeast share the highest fire death rate per-capita with 17.5 civilian deaths per million population.

84 percent of all fatalities occur in the home. Of those, approximately 80 percent occur in single-family homes and duplexes.


Causes of Fires and Fire Deaths

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires in the U.S. It is also the leading cause of fire injuries. Cooking fires often result from unattended cooking and human error, rather than mechanical failure of stoves or ovens.

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke alarms and smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents.

Heating is the second leading cause of residential fires and ties with arson as the second leading cause of fire deaths. However, heating fires are a larger problem in single family homes than in apartments. Unlike apartments, the heating systems in single family homes are often not professionally maintained.

Arson is the third leading cause of residential fires and the second leading cause of residential fire deaths. In commercial properties, arson is the major cause of deaths, injuries, and dollar loss.


Who is Most at Risk

Senior citizens and children under the age of five have the greatest risk of fire death.

The fire death risk among seniors is more than double the average population.

The fire death risk for children under age five is nearly double the risk of the average population.

Children under the age of ten accounted for an estimated 18 percent of all fire deaths in 1995.

Over 30 percent of the fires that kill young children are started by children playing with fire.

Men die or are injured in fires twice as often as women.


What Saves Lives

A working smoke alarm dramatically increases a person's chance of surviving a fire.

Approximately 90 percent of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. However, these alarms are not always properly maintained and as a result might not work in an emergency. There has been a disturbing increase over the last ten years in the number of fires that occur in homes with non-functioning alarms.

It is estimated that over 40 percent of residential fires and three-fifths of residential fatalities occur in homes with no smoke alarms.

Residential sprinklers have become more cost effective for homes. Currently, few homes are protected by them.

Facts provided by the United States Fire Administration

 


Dec 27, 2007

Check out how fast a fire can progress in your home!  I bet you thought you had more time to get out!  Quick response of the Fire Dept. is crucial, even a few seconds can make the difference in controlling a fire or saving your life. 

Click on the link below to see video of how quickly a fire grows.  Amazing!

 

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/download.jsp?url=/downloads/media/tree_fire.mpeg



Dec 27, 2007

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

Each year the Keene Fire Department responds to fires and medical emergencies caused by electrical malfunction. Every year in the United States, more than 1,000 people are killed and thousands more injured in electrical fire or shock incidents. It is important to know how to use electrical appliances safely and how to recognize electrical hazards.

The Nature of Electricity
Most homes have two incoming voltages: 120 volts for lighting and appliance circuits and 240 volts for larger air conditioning and electric dryer circuits. When an appliance switch is turned on, electrical current flows through the wire, completing the electrical "circuit" and causing the appliance to operate. The amount of flowing current is called "amperage." Most lighting circuits in the home are 15 amp circuits. Most electric dryers and air conditioners require larger 30 amp circuits.

The amount of electrical power needed to make an appliance operate is called "wattage" and is a function of the amount of current flowing through the wire (amperage), and the pressure in the system (voltage).

Mathematically speaking, volts x amps = watts. So, if we have a 120 volt system and a 15 amp current, we can flow a maximum of 120 x 15 or 1,800 watts on a typical lighting or appliance circuit. When too many lights or appliances are attached to the electrical system, it will overload and overheat. This can cause the wire insulation to melt and ignite, resulting in an electrical fire. The amount of electrical current flowing through wire is affected by resistance. This is known as "ohms." Resistance causes increased heat in the wire. Heat is the byproduct that makes some appliances work, such as an iron, toaster, stove or furnace. Large current faces high resistance when moving through a small wire. This generates lots of heat. That's how an incandescent light bulb works. Resistance through the light filament causes it to heat up which gives off a bright light. Electrical resistance also is affected by the length of a wire. Operating an electrical hedge clipper with a long extension cord increases resistance and might cause the cord to overheat, melt or ignite. The same occurs if too many strands of Christmas lights are connected together.

The size of electrical wire is dependent upon the amount of current required to operate a particular appliance. Wiring to the air conditioner, electric stove and electric dryer is much larger to handle the increased voltage (240) volts) and amperage (30 amps). Wiring is covered with a protective material called "insulation."

Electrical circuits in homes are designed so that all components are compatible. The size of the wire, outlets and circuit breakers are designed for an anticipated electrical load. A circuit is said to be overloaded when too much current flows causing heat build up or wiring to break down. When two bare wires touch, a "short circuit" is said to occur. This can lead to sparks and fire. Deteriorated insulation is one of the most frequent causes of short circuits.

A "circuit breaker" or "fuse" is a safety device designed to prevent accidental overloading of electrical circuits. They are set at a specific amperage. When that amperage is exceeded, it trips and shuts off the flow of electricity, stopping the circuit from continued overheating. When a fuse or circuit breaker trips, it is important to find the cause and correct it. Often, people will just reset the breaker or put in larger fuse.

NEVER USE OVERSIZED FUSES ON CIRCUIT BREAKERS.
NEVER SUBSTITUTE A PENNY OR FOIL WRAPPED FUSE.
This could cause a fire!

General Electrical Safety
During home remodeling, when electrical circuits are added or changed, make sure to use a licensed electrician whose work complies with the electrical code.

When choosing an electrical appliance, be sure it is approved by a safety-testing laboratory. This insures that it has been constructed in accordance with nationally-accepted electrical standards and has been evaluated for safety.

If you touch an electrical appliance, wall switch or electrical cord while you are wet or standing in water, it will increase the chance of electrical shock.

When using an extension cord, be sure it is designed to carry the intended load. Most cannot carry as much current as permanent wiring and tend to overheat. Do not use an extension cord in place of permanent wiring, especially if a tripping hazard exists or where there is high physical abuse, such as under a carpet. Keep electrical cords away from infants and toddlers and use tamperproof inserts on wall outlets to prevent them from sticking objects into the outlets. The cord must be protected from damage. Do not run it around objects or hang on a nail. Inspect it periodically for worn insulation and overall condition.

Safety with Electrical Appliances
The potential for electrical shock or fire from an electrical appliance is very real, especially when safety recommendations are not followed.

Before buying an appliance, look for the label of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory or Factory Mutual.

Keep space heaters, stoves, irons and other heat-producing appliances away from furniture, curtains, bedding or towels. Also, give televisions, stereos and computers plenty of air-space so they won't overheat.

Never use an appliance with a damaged cord, and be sure to use three-pronged electrical devices in three-pronged outlets. These outlets may not be available in older homes, so use a three-pronged adapter, and screw the tab onto the grounded outlet box cover. Never cut off or bend the grounding pin of the plug. If you have a polarized plug (with one side wider than the other), never file it down or try to make it reversible.

Keep electrical cords out of the path of traffic. If you put cords under carpets or rugs, wires can be damaged and might result in fire. Protect young children by putting plastic inserts in receptacle outlets not in use to keep them from putting anything into outlets.

An electrical cord should never be wrapped around an appliance until the appliance has cooled. Because hair care equipment is often used in bathrooms near sinks and bathtubs, it is extremely important to be especially careful that the appliances do not come in contact with water. If one drops into water, do not touch it until you have pulled the wall plug.

Never put a kitchen knife or other metal object in a toaster to remove stuck bread or bagels unless it is unplugged and cooled. Install television and radio antennas where they cannot fall across power lines. Use caution when operating a tree-pruning device or using a metal ladder around power lines.

Inspect appliances regularly to make sure they operate properly. If an appliance smells funny when in use, makes unusual sounds or the cord feels warm to touch, repair or replace the unit. Don't repair it yourself unless you are qualified. Keep appliances in a cool, dry place to prevent rusting.

Electrical Emergencies
When an electrical emergency occurs, there are several survival actions that can be taken. You should know how to trip the main circuit breaker at the electrical panel to turn off all power to the house. If an appliance smells funny or operates improperly, pull the plug if it can be done safely. If arcing, burning or smoking from an appliance occurs, turn off the power at the circuit breaker.

Winds accompanying thunderstorms may knock down power lines or utility poles. Keep people away from the area, and call the fire department. If power lines come in contact with a vehicle, do not touch it or the vehicle. If people are inside, tell them to stay inside. If they try to exit, they may complete a grounded electrical circuit and be instantly killed. They must stay inside until the power is shut by the utility company.

If a serious electrical malfunction occurs in your home, school or workplace, it is the same as a fire. Notify others, activate the fire alarm and exit promptly.


Dec 27, 2007
Pool safety
Every year about 43,000 people are injured in and around swimming pools and more than 600 people drown in home or public pools.
Half of the pool fatalities occur in the yards of single-family homes.

 
 
 
Here are some pool safety tips you should follow:
  • Never leave small children unsupervised – even for a few seconds.
  • Put fencing around the pool area to keep people from using the pool without your knowledge.
  • Keep children away from pool filters, as the suction force may injure them or prevent them from surfacing.
  • Be sure all pool users know how to swim. Learners should be accompanied by a good swimmer.
  • Don’t swim alone or allow others to swim alone.
  • Check the pool area regularly for glass bottles, toys or other potential accident hazards.
  • Keep CD players, radios and other electrical devices away from pools or nearby wet surfaces.
  • Don’t allow anyone who has been drinking alcohol to use the pool.
  • Stay out of the pool during rain or lightning storms.
··     Never dive into an above-ground pool and check the water depth before plunging into an in-ground pool.  
··     Keep clear of the area near a diving board.
  • Don’t swim if you’re tired or have just finished eating.

 


Dec 27, 2007

Fire Escape Planning

A fire escape plan is essential if you are to survive a fire in your home. The plan, when practiced, will help you to react rationally when confronted by a fire emergency. This is very important if the fire occurs during the night.

Certain factors must be considered when developing your own fire escape plan. Firstly, what type of dwelling do you live in? Is it a house or a an apartment? Think about the location of bedrooms and their proximity to exits. Are the bedrooms on the first floor and easy to exit from? Or are they on the second floor with two ways out? Or are they on the third floor or higher with no convenient second exit? How about the physical abilities of the residents in relation to where they sleep? Are they active and mobile or physically challenged or unable to walk?

Regardless of how familiar you are with your home, draw a floor plan. Include all doors and windows that could be used as a second means of escape. Include outside features, such as adjoining roof areas, balconies or porch roofs, which could be used in case of fire. Again, recognize the limitations of the people within each room.

Know two ways out of each room in case your main exit becomes blocked with smoke. Ensure that secondary escape routes are accessible and that the occupants are physically capable of using it. If windows are to be used for escape, you must make sure that they will open easily.

Establish a meeting place away from the building so that all members of the family can be accounted for. Arrange with a neighbor to use their telephone to call the fire department. In this way every person in your home will know what to do if and when fire strikes.

Each of us must prepare ourselves in case a fire occurs in our home. Emergency phone numbers for the fire department, police and ambulance should be kept handy to the phone for quick reference in an emergency. It is advisable for older adults to have telephones in their sleeping areas. Eyeglasses and other appliances, such as hearing aids, should be kept on the night table when you go to bed. All necessary medication should be close at hand as well. If you use a wheelchair, walker or cane to move about, then these items should be kept close at hand.

At home and work

At Home

Develop and Practice A Fire Escape Plan
Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible exits from each room.
Where possible, plan two exits - a main route and an alternate exit route from each room.
Make certain that everyone understands that if they hear the smoke alarm, or someone shouting "FIRE", they should immediately evacuate the home.
Designate a meeting place outside your home in the event of fire.
If you live in an apartment building, develop your escape plan taking into account fire escape procedures provided by the building management.
Make sure your baby-sitter understands your fire escape plan.
Practice Your Escape Plan - Regular practice is essential so that every family member knows what to do.
If anyone in your home is unable to evacuate without assistance, assign someone to assist them.
Ensure that everyone in your home knows NOT TO RE-ENTER.
Call the Fire Department from a neighbor’s home.

At Work

Do You Know...
Your Fire Department Emergency number?
Your fire escape plan?
Your designated meeting place in the event of a fire?
Who is your floor fire emergency officer?
The location of the nearest fire extinguisher?
The location of the nearest fire alarm station?
The location of the nearest two exits?
Who needs assistance in the event of an emergency

If You Don't Know, Find Out Now!

Mobility-impaired? Have you informed your floor fire emergency officer?
Read your posted fire emergency instructions!
Report all fire hazards!
When the fire alarm sounds - notify the Fire Department.


 

 


Dec 27, 2007

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Overheated Clothes Dryers Can Cause Fires

CPSC Document # 5022
Updated June 2003


The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that in 1998, clothes dryers were associated with 15,600 fires, which resulted in 20 deaths and 370 injuries. Fires can occur when lint builds up in the dryer or in the exhaust duct. Lint can block the flow of air, cause excessive heat build-up, and result in a fire in some dryers.

To help prevent fires:

  • Clean the lint screen/filter before or after drying each load of clothes. If clothing is still damp at the end of a typical drying cycle or drying requires longer times than normal, this may be a sign that the lint screen or the exhaust duct is blocked.
  • Clean the dryer vent and exhaust duct periodically. Check the outside dryer vent while the dryer is operating to make sure exhaust air is escaping. If it is not, the vent or the exhaust duct may be blocked. To remove a blockage in the exhaust path, it may be necessary to disconnect the exhaust duct from the dryer. Remember to reconnect the ducting to the dryer and outside vent before using the dryer again.
  • Clean behind the dryer, where lint can build up. Have a qualified service person clean the interior of the dryer chassis periodically to minimize the amount of lint accumulation. Keep the area around the dryer clean and free of clutter.
  • Replace plastic or foil, accordion-type ducting material with rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct. Most manufacturers specify the use of a rigid or corrugated semi-rigid metal duct, which provides maximum airflow. The flexible plastic or foil type duct can more easily trap lint and is more susceptible to kinks or crushing, which can greatly reduce the airflow.
  • Take special care when drying clothes that have been soiled with volatile chemicals such as gasoline, cooking oils, cleaning agents, or finishing oils and stains. If possible, wash the clothing more than once to minimize the amount of volatile chemicals on the clothes and, preferably, hang the clothes to dry. If using a dryer, use the lowest heat setting and a drying cycle that has a cool-down period at the end of the cycle. To prevent clothes from igniting after drying, do not leave the dried clothes in the dryer or piled in a laundry basket.
Where to clean your dryer to prevent fires

 

 


Dec 27, 2007

 

What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is generated through incomplete combustion of fuel such as natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene, coal, and charcoal, gasoline or wood.

This incomplete combustion can occur in a variety of home appliances. The major cause of high levels of carbon monoxide in the home is faulty ventilation of furnaces, hot water heaters, fireplaces, cooking stoves, grills and kerosene heaters.  Other common sources are car exhausts, and gas or diesel powered portable machines.

Faulty or improper ventilation of natural gas and fuel oil furnaces during the cold winter months accounts for most carbon monoxide poisoning cases.  Correct operation of any fuel burning equipment requires two key conditions. There must be:
* An adequate supply of air for complete combustion.
* Proper ventilation of fuel burning appliances through the chimney, vents or duct to the outside.
How Carbon Monoxide Affects The Body
Hundreds of people die each year, and thousands more require medical treatment, because of carbon monoxide poisoning in their home. The human body depends on oxygen for the burning of fuel (food) to provide the energy that allows cells to live and function. Oxygen makes up approximately 21% of the atmosphere, and enters the lungs during breathing. In the lungs it combines with a blood component called hemoglobin. When saturated with oxygen, it is called oxyhemoglobin.

After being carried by the bloodstream to the cells of the body, oxyhemoglobin releases oxygen to the body tissues. Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it bonds much more tightly to the hemoglobin than does oxygen. Once hemoglobin combines with carbon monoxide to form carboxyhemoglobin, its ability to combine with oxygen is completely lost.

As more carboxyhemoglobin is formed, the amount of oxygen carried to the cells and organs in the body decreases. Carbon monoxide starves the blood of oxygen, literally causing the body to suffocate from the inside out. When the carboxyhemoglobin concentration reaches a certain level, people get nauseous, become unconscious, and ultimately die. How quickly symptoms appear depends upon the concentration, or parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide in the air and the duration of exposure. A person's size, age and general health are also factors in how quickly effects of the gas will become evident.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is often confused with the flu. Children with carbon monoxide poisoning have mistakenly been treated for indigestion.  It is important that you discuss with all family members the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Different carbon monoxide concentrations and exposure times cause different symptoms.

EXTREME EXPOSURE: Unconsciousness, convulsions, cardio respiratory failure, and death

MEDIUM EXPOSURE: Severe throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, vomiting, and fast heart rate

MILD EXPOSURE: Slight headache, nausea, fatigue (often described as 'flu-like' symptoms)

For most people, mild symptoms generally will be felt after several hours of exposure of 100 ppm's of carbon monoxide.

Many reported cases of carbon monoxide poisoning indicate that while victims are aware they are not well, they become so disoriented that they are unable to save themselves by either exiting the building or calling for assistance.  Infants and children are especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide due to their high metabolic rates. Because children use more oxygen faster than adults do, deadly carbon monoxide gas accumulates in their bodies faster and can interfere with oxygen supply to vital organs such as the brain and the heart.  If left unchecked, a child's exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to neurological disorders, memory loss, personality changes and mild to severe forms of brain damage.

Different Types Of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
As with smoke detectors, consumers should avoid any brand that does not bear the mark of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. and/or Underwriters' Laboratories of Canada. You should consider ease of installation, the location of installation and the power source of an alarm when choosing a plug-in, battery powered or hardwire model. Battery Backup-some plug-in carbon monoxide alarm models have a back-up power source that allows the unit to function in the event of a main line power failure. During a power outage, people are likely to use alternate sources of power, light and heat (e.g. kerosene heaters, gas-powered portable generators and fireplaces) which may be out of tune and may produce deadly carbon monoxide gas.
There are three main types of technology utilized in carbon monoxide detectors today: Chem-optical, Electrochemical, and Semiconductor.
Chem-optical technology alarms are also known as gel cell or biomimetic technology alarms. These alarms utilize a type of sensor that mimics the response of hemoglobin, in the blood, to carbon monoxide. Alarms using this kind of sensor are usually battery powered. One main drawback that remains is that the sensor can non-reversibly accumulate carbon monoxide and other contaminants over time, which can eventually lead to false and/or nuisance alarms. Some chem-optical (gel cell) alarms on the market today contain an expensive replacement battery and/or sensor, which must be replaced periodically.
Electrochemical technology alarms are usually battery powered and are much more complex than semiconductor. Platinum, as a catalyst, and acid, as an electrolyte, break down carbon monoxide gas and release electrons, which induce a small current and activate the alarm. This type of sensor is very accurate in its initial calibrated state, but is susceptible to contamination and swaying from its original set point over time and exposure. The technology is very expensive to manufacture and will typically have a limited lifetime of about 2-5 years. Some manufacturers' models will require its battery and/or sensor to be changed periodically. Other manufacturers' models have sealed housing that requires the entire unit to be discarded once the battery power supply is depleted.

Semiconductor sensors are mechanically simple and are electronic in nature; therefore they have a long life (typically 10 years) and are very reliable. Current designs demonstrate excellent immunity to other gases that may be present. Semiconductor sensors utilize a controlled quantity of tin dioxide as a sensing element. The sensing material is heated by a small electric heating element and carbon monoxide gas is catalytically broken down at the surface of the sensing element. Electrons are released in this process and are absorbed by the sensing element. This increase in charged particles lowers the resistance of the sensor. In an alarm using semiconductor sensors, electronics are used to measure the sensor resistance and from this to calculate the carbon monoxide concentration.
What To Do In The Event Of An Alarm
You should consult their owner's manual for a carbon monoxide alarm procedure. However, the following is a general procedure:

If a carbon monoxide alarm sounds a low level warning or hazard level alarm, you should leave your home immediately and call their local emergency service or 911 for help. The Fire Service has the proper protective equipment and gas meters to properly verify the alarm.  A head count should be taken to check that all persons are accounted for once outside in the fresh air. You should not re-enter the home until it has been checked by the Fire Service and aired out.  Once the source of the problem has been identified the appliance in question should be turned off and not used until the problem has been corrected by a qualified technician or utility company.
Where To Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Since oxygen and carbon monoxide are approximately the same density, they mix equally well in air. Therefore most alarms measuring carbon monoxide can be placed anywhere in a room.  Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen anywhere and at any time in your home. However, most carbon monoxide poisoning cases occur while people are sleeping.  For that reason it is recommended that you install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible alarm near the sleeping areas. Install additional alarms on every level, especially where you have appliances capable of producing carbon monoxide, to provide maximum protection.
REMEMBER - CARBON MONOXIDE IS DEADLY
EARLY WARNING COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE


Dec 27, 2007

 

Fire Safety: Smoke Detectors


Smoke detectors sound an alarm when a fire starts, alerting people before they are trapped or overcome by smoke.

 With smoke detectors, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut nearly in half. Replace batteries once a year, or whenever a detector chirps to signal that its battery is low. Do not ever borrow detector batteries for other uses - a disabled smoke detector cannot save your life! For complete home protection, consider installing automatic fire sprinklers in addition to your smoke detectors. If your detector is more than ten years old, replace it.

Most fatal home fires occur at night, while people are asleep. Poisonous gases and smoke from a fire can numb the senses in a very short time. Every home needs a device that can wake people up in time to escape from a fire. Almost every day, a smoke detector saves somebody's life. Of all the low-cost fire alarm devices you can buy, fire officials consider smoke detectors the most effective!

Be familiar with the sound of a smoke detector.


 Choosing a Smoke Detector

 Dozens of reputable brands of smoke detectors are readily available. No matter where you buy your detectors or what type they are, be sure to buy only "labelled" units - those bearing the mark of an organization that tests and evaluates products. Any labelled smoke detector offers protection - whether it is powered by batteries or household current; whether it is a photo-electric or an ionization device. But to get the protection you paid for, it is vital that you follow the manufacturer's recommendations for installation, testing and maintenance.


 How Many Do You Need

According to the widely accepted Standard on Household Fire Warning Equipment (NFPA 74), minimum protection requires smoke detectors outside each bedroom and on each additional level of the house - including the basement.

For extra protection, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that you also install detectors inside each bedroom, the dining room, furnace room, utility room and hallways. If your family sleeps with the bedroom doors closed, it is especially important to install detectors inside the bedrooms. Also, some smoke detectors are not recommended for kitchens because of false alarms from cooking vapours, or garages, where automobile exhaust might cause alarms, or for attics or other unheated spaces where extremes of temperature or humidity might affect their operation.


 How to Install

To install most smoke detectors all you need is a screwdriver and a drill. Most smoke detectors operate either on batteries or household current. A detector that plugs into a wall outlet must have a restraining device so that the plug cannot accidentally be pulled from the wall. Detectors can also be hard-wired into the electrical system. But never hard-wire a detector to a circuit that can be turned off at a wall switch.

Because smoke rises, each director should be mounted high on a wall or on the ceiling to detect traces of smoke. For a wall-mounted unit, the top of the detector should be 4 to 12 inches (10 to 30 cm) from the ceiling. A ceiling mounted detector should be placed at least 4 inches (10 cm) from any wall. In a room with a high pitched ceiling, mount the detector on or near the ceiling's highest point.

Most home fires start in living areas - the den, family room or living room. On a floor with no bedrooms, install the required detector in or near the living area. In a stairway to an upper storey, install the detector in the path where smoke would travel up the stairs.

Don't install a detector near a window, door or air register where drafts could impair the detector's operation.

Locate a basement smoke detector close to the stairway leading to the floor above. But don't install the detector at the top of the basement stairs; dead air space near the door may prevent smoke from reaching the detector.


 Smoke Detector Maintenance

Replace the batteries at least once a year or according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Warn everyone in your household to leave working batteries in smoke detectors - resist the temptation to borrow them for other purposes.

Never paint a smoke detector. Cobwebs and dust can impair a detector's sensitivity, clean your detectors at least once a year according to the manufacturer's instructions.

 

Follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing your smoke detectors. It only takes a moment to test a smoke detector that could save your life; test yours once a week to make sure you're protected.

 


Dec 27, 2007

Disaster Supplies Kit

There are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to carry container--suggested items are marked with an asterisk(*). Possible containers include a large, covered trash container, a camping backpack, or a duffle bag.

Water

  • Store water in plastic containers such as soft drink bottles. Avoid using containers that will decompose or break, such as milk cartons or glass bottles. A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers, and ill people will need more.
  • Store one gallon of water per person per day.
  • Keep at least a three-day supply of water per person (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for each person in your household for food preparation/sanitation).*

Food

  • Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Include a selection of the following foods in your Disaster Supplies Kit:
  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables
  • Canned juices
  • Staples (salt, sugar, pepper, spices, etc.)
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods

First Aid Kit
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car.

  • (20) adhesive bandages, various sizes.
  • (1) 5" x 9" sterile dressing.
  • (1) conforming roller gauze bandage.
  • (2) triangular bandages.
  • (2) 3 x 3 sterile gauze pads.
  • (2) 4 x 4 sterile gauze pads.
  • (1) roll 3" cohesive bandage.
  • (2) germicidal hand wipes or waterless alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • (6) antiseptic wipes.
  • (2) pair large medical grade non-latex gloves.
  • Adhesive tape, 2" width.
  • Anti-bacterial ointment.
  • Cold pack.
  • Scissors (small, personal).
  • Tweezers.
  • CPR breathing barrier, such as a face shield.

Non-Prescription Drugs

  • Aspirin or nonaspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid (for stomach upset)
  • Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
  • Laxative
  • Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)

Tools and Supplies

  • Mess kits, or paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils*
  • Emergency preparedness manual*
  • Battery-operated radio and extra batteries*
  • Flashlight and extra batteries*
  • Cash or traveler's checks, change*
  • Non-electric can opener, utility knife*
  • Fire extinguisher: small canister ABC type
  • Tube tent
  • Pliers
  • Tape
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic storage containers
  • Signal flare
  • Paper, pencil
  • Needles, thread
  • Medicine dropper
  • Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
  • Whistle
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Map of the area (for locating shelters)

Sanitation

  • Toilet paper, towelettes*
  • Soap, liquid detergent*
  • Feminine supplies*
  • Personal hygiene items*
  • Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
  • Plastic bucket with tight lid
  • Disinfectant
  • Household chlorine bleach

Clothing and Bedding
*Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.

  • Sturdy shoes or work boots*
  • Rain gear*
  • Blankets or sleeping bags*
  • Hat and gloves
  • Thermal underwear
  • Sunglasses

Special Items

  • Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons

For Baby*

  • Formula
  • Diapers
  • Bottles
  • Powdered milk
  • Medications

For Adults*

  • Heart and high blood pressure medication
  • Insulin
  • Prescription drugs
  • Denture needs
  • Contact lenses and supplies
  • Extra eye glasses

Entertainment

  • Games and books

Important Family Documents

  • Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
    • Will, insurance policies, contracts deeds, stocks and bonds
    • Passports, social security cards, immunization records
    • Bank account numbers
    • Credit card account numbers and companies
  • Inventory of valuable household goods, important telephone numbers
  • Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
  • Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members. Keep a smaller version of the supplies kit in the trunk of your car.
  • Keep items in airtight plastic bags. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh. Replace your stored food every six months. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
  • Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.

General Disaster Preparedness Materials Children & Disasters

  • "Disaster Preparedness Coloring Book" (ARC 2200, English, or ARC 2200S, Spanish) Children & Disasters ages 3-10.
  • "Adventures of the Disaster Dudes" (ARC 5024) video and Presenter's Guide for use by an adult with children in grades 4-6.

To get copies of American Red Cross Community Disaster Education materials, contact your local Red Cross chapter.

The text on this page is in the public domain. We request that attribution to this information be given as follows: From "Disaster Supplies Kit." developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the American Red Cross.


Dec 27, 2007
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tornado Safety Tips
From The Federal Emergency Management Agency
 

Tornadoes are nature's most violent - and erratic - storms.  A tornado can travel for miles along the ground, lift, and suddenly change direction and strike again.  There is little you can do to protect your home or workplace from the strength of tornado winds, but there are actions you can take to better prepare yourself and your family. 
 Basic Safety Rules
·         Keep alert to changing weather conditions
·         Take shelter immediately when you hear a
tornado warning or see a funnel cloud
·         Know where your shelter is before you need it
·         Tornadoes are formed by severe thunderstorms, most frequently
in the spring and summer.  If you live in a tornado-prone area,
stay alert during severe weather.
·         Know your community's warning signals.  Most often, warnings will be
given by a local radio and television stations, and by NOAA Weather Radio. 
In addition, some communities have sirens or whistles to warn of natural disasters. 
 Watches and Warnings
A TORNADO WATCHis given when weather conditions are favorable to the formation of tornadoes.  For example, during severe thunderstorms.  During a tornado watch, keep an eye on the weather, and be prepared to take shelter immediately if conditions worsen.
A TORNADO WARNING is given when a tornado funnel is sighted or indicated by radar.  You should take shelter immediately. Because tornadoes can form and move quickly, there may not be time for a warning.   That's why it's important to stay alert during severe storms.
Although there is no guaranteed safe place during a tornado, some locations are better than others.  By following these suggested safety tips, you can increase your chances for survival.
 
At Home
 

One basic rule to follow, wherever you are, is to AVOID WINDOWS.  
An exploding window can injure or kill.  Don't take the time to open windows;
get to shelter immediately.
The safest place in the home, is the interior part of the basement, preferably under something sturdy, like a table.  Stay out from under heavy objects like pianos or refrigerators located on the floor above.
If you have no basement, or cannot get there, go to an inside room on the lowest floor of the house, like a closet, hallway, or bathroom with no windows.
For added protection, get under something strong, like a workbench or heavy table. If possible, cover your body with a blanket or sleeping bag and protect
your head with anything available, even your hands.
 
 
Mobile Homes
 

Do not stay in a mobile home during a tornado.  Even homes with a secure tie-down system, cannot withstand the force of tornado winds.
Plan ahead.  Make arrangements to stay with friends or neighbors who have basements.  Go there if a tornado watch is issued.
If a tornado warning is given, leave your mobile home, and seek shelter nearby.   Lie flat in a ditch or ravine, and put your arms over your head. 
Don't take shelter under your home.
Encourage your mobile home community to build a tornado shelter,
if you live in a tornado-prone area.
 
 On The Road
 

The least desirable place to be during a tornado, is in a motor vehicle.  Cars, buses, and trucks, are tossed easily by tornado winds.
Do not try to outrun a tornado in your car
If you see a tornado, stop your vehicle, and get out.  Seek shelter away from the car in a nearby ditch or ravine; do not get under your vehicle.  Life flat, and put your arms over your head.
  
Long Span Buildings
 

Long span buildings are especially dangerous, because the
entire roof structure is usually supported solely by the outside walls. 
Inside walls are usually false or non-load bearing walls.
If you are caught in an open building, like a shopping mall, civic center, indoor pool, theater, or gymnasium, during a tornado, stay away from windows.   Get into the restroom, if possible.  In larger buildings, the restrooms are usually made from concrete block.  Besides having the four walls and plumbing holding things together, the metal partitions help support any falling debris.
If there isn't time to go anywhere, seek shelter right where you are.  Try to get up against something that will support or deflect falling debris.  For instance, in a department store, get up against heavy shelving or counters.  In a theater, get under the seats.  Remember to protect your head.
 
 
Schools, Hospitals, Nursing Homes,
And Office Buildings
 

Extra precautions are needed in these structures.  Not only is there a large concentration of people in a small area, but these buildings usually
have large amounts of glass on the outside walls.
Get into the inner-most portions, on the lowest floor possible.
Avoid windows and glass doorways
Do not use elevators; the power may go off and you could become trapped.
Protect your head, and make yourself as small a target as possible,
by crouching down.
 
 
In the Open
 

If you are caught outside during a tornado, and there is no underground
shelter immediately available, lie in a gully, ditch, or low spot in the ground.  Protect your body and head with anything available.
Do not go into a grove of trees or under a vehicle.
Emergency services personnel are usually on the scene quickly after a tornado.   Keep your family together, and wait for help to arrive.  Listen to the radio for information about disaster relief and assistance available from
local authorities and volunteer agencies.
If you are outside, don't go into damaged buildings; they may collapse completely.   Wait for help to search for others.
If your home appears undamaged, check for gas or other utility line breaks carefully.   If the lights are out, use a flashlight only; do not use a match,
lighter, or any open flame.
 

Dec 27, 2007

 

E.D.I.T.H. can save your life!

Who is this E.D.I.T.H. that can save your life? This E.D.I.T.H. is

not a person, but a plan you make to escape from fire in your home.



E - escape,  D - drills,  I - in,  T - the,  H - home.



Fires in the home are the cause of many deaths. In fact, 70% of all fatalities by

fire occur in private residences. Most of these could have been prevented if the

families had a fire escape plan and if they would of practiced the plan!





In only three minutes your home could be totally involved in fire. Time is not

on your side. If a fire occurs in your home, every second counts. Members of your

family should react quickly and calmly. It only takes three minutes to loose

everything you have, including your children.


Design a plan



If you don't already have a plan for your family's emergency fire escape,

sit down with your family today and make one. Diagrams showing emergency

escape routes are a helpful visual aid for all family members. I have included

an example diagram, draw one for your home:





Note: At least two ways out of each room & a family meeting place

link to a piece of Flame-Pointgraph paperFlame-Point to print out



Plan for at least two escape routes, in the event fire blocks one of them.

Make sure children can work all the windows, doors and locks they may have

to use with an alternate escape route. If the alternate escape route is from

the second floor, be sure there is a safe way to the ground. If it's smoky,

get down, stay low and crawl fast. And, make sure everyone in your family

understands that they must not go back into your home, Not for anything.


Choose a meeting place



Very important, choose a meeting place outdoors where your family is to

meet for a head count. This way you can make sure everyone has exited

from the home safely. Never go back into your home!


Drill your escape plan



After checking the plan on paper, actually drill the entire plan. Have everyone

start in their bedroom, with the doors closed. One person should shout, ring a

bell, or push the smoke detector's test button to start the drill. Everyone should

then crawl under the "smoke" and meet out side at the meeting place.


Test smoke detectors



For your plan to work, your home must also be equipped with operating

smoke detectors. Testing your smoke detector(s) every month is an excellent

opportunity to use E.D.I.T.H.


Check the door



If your awakened by your smoke detectors, and you suspect a fire, do not

open the door until you've tested it. To test your door, use the back of your

hand. If the door is warm, use your alternate escape route.

If the door is cool, stay low, brace your shoulder against the door and open

it a crack. If smoke and heat come in, slam the door shut and use your

alternate escape route. Try to keep closed doors between you and the smoke.


Never try to hide from fire



Tell little kids to never hide if there's a fire... not in a closet or under a bed.

Tell them to wait by a window and signal with a bed sheet or flashlight.

Sit down with your family and make your E.D.I.T.H. plans now, then practice,

it may save your life (or the life of someone you love)!




Page Last Updated: Dec 27, 2007 (10:55:00)

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