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Dec 16, 2009

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?

 

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.

image001.gifStop, 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 16, 2009

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. Included is

an example diagram, draw one for your home:

EDITH Floorplan.gif

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

link to a piece of graph paper 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

EDITH Image.gif

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)!


Dec 16, 2009

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 exist, instead leave the building closing the doors behind you to slow the spreading of the fire and smoke .

 


Dec 16, 2009

ELECTRICAL SAFETY

 

Each year Fire Departments respond 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. Resistance affects the amount of electrical current flowing through wire. 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. The length of a wire also affects electrical resistance. 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 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 a safety-testing laboratory approves it. 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 utility company shuts the power.

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 16, 2009

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. A good swimmer should accompany learners.
  • 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 aboveground 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 16, 2009

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 shirttails. 

 

  •  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 16, 2009

Dec 16, 2009

 

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.




Page Last Updated: Dec 16, 2009 (13:32:07)
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