Written by  Friday, 06 March 2015 16:59
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Safety and Fire Prevention 

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Install and maintain smoke alarms

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  • Smoke alarms alert you to fire and give you time to escape.
  • Install smoke alarms on each level of your home.
  • Test smoke alarms regularly and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Replace weak or dead batteries immediately with new ones.
  • Remember, if your smoke alarms are hardwired they will not function during a power failure - consider installing a backup battery powered smoke alarm as an additional asset to your home.

Have a home fire escape plan

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Make a home fire escape plan and practice your plan so that everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire emergency.
  • Prepare and practice a fire escape plan with every member of your household.
  • Look for two ways out of each room - windows and doors. If you get caught in smoke, the cleanest air will be near the floor.
  • Get down on your hands and knees and crawl to the nearest safe exit.
  • Arrange an outside meeting place and a safe location to call police.
  • Never go back inside for anything!

Kitchen Safety

  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep children at least 1 metre away from around the stove.
  • Don't wear loose fitting clothing and be careful not to reach over hot burners.
  • If a pot catches fire, cover it with a lid to smother the flames and turn off the burner.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward.

Candle Safety

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  • Don't use candles if you have pets or children in the house.
  • Extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to sleep.
  • Place candles in sturdy containers and at least 0.3 metres(one foot) away from anything that can burn.

Space heaters need space

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  • Keep portable and space heaters at least 1 metre (3 feet) from anything that can burn.
  • Never leave heaters on when you leave the house or go to bed.
  • Keep children well away from heaters.

Smoking is hazardous

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  • Encourage smokers to smoke outside. Provide sturdy, deep ashtrays and make sure cigarette butts and ashes are out before throwing them away.
  • Remember it is just as dangerous to fall asleep smoking on the couch or in a chair as it is in a bed. Never smoke in bed or when you are feeling drowsy.
  • Smokers need watchers. Before going to sleep, check under and around sofa cushions and upholstered furniture for smouldering cigarettes.

Keep matches and lighters out or reach

  • Keep matches and lighters out of reach of children - up high and preferably locked up.
  • Teach children that matches and lighters are only for adults.

Use electricity safely

  • If an appliance smokes or smells like it is burning, unplug it immediately and have it repaired.
  • Check all of your electrical cords and replace any that are cracked or frayed.
  • Don't overload electrical outlets or run extension cords under rugs or carpets.
  • Don't tamper with the fuse boxes or use fuses of improper size.
  • Unplug items such as toaster and coffee makers when not in use
  • Stop, drop and roll

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If your clothes catch fire, don't run.
  • Stop where you are,
  • Drop gently to the ground, cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs,
  • Roll over and over until to the flames are smothered.

Power failures

  • When power fails don't use open flames or a charcoal grill indoors.
  • Don't use gas-fueled appliances as alternative heating sources indoors.
  • If you plan to use a portable generator, don't connect household items to the generator unless you have it wired professionally - don't hook the generator up to your home's electrical system.
  • Be sure the generator is kept outside where exhaust doesn't enter buildings.
  • Test your smoke alarms now - remember, if they're hardwired they won't function during a power failure - install backup battery-powered smoke alarms for additional protection.
  • Apartment and Tall Building Safety
The following information is a general guide for apartments and tall buildings. Since each building is unique, you should learn the approved "Fire Safety Plan" specifically designed for your building.

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What actions must I take in a fire?

During a fire emergency, never attempt to leave a building by an elevator. Heat can activate elevator call buttons, sending the elevator to the fire floor, where dense smoke may interfere with the elevator's light-sensitive eye and prevent the door from closing. Also, you may become trapped in the elevator if water from firefighting operations creates a power failure. In addition, fire fighters require designated elevators to carry them and their equipment to the floor below the fire.
In reacting to a fire in an apartment or high building, you must decide on two options:
  • Do I leave the building to safety? or
  • Is it safer to stay where I am?

What steps do I take when fire is in my apartment or office?

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  • Alert everyone in your apartment or office.
  • Leave immediately. Close, but don't lock, all doors behind you.
  • Sound the fire alarm by activating a red manual pull station on the fire floor (when safe to do so).
  • Call police{fire fighter} from a safe location. Never assume that someone else has already done so. Make sure you give your name, the correct address and location of the fire.
  • Use the exit stairwells. Don't use elevators.
  • Use your fire escape plan. Go to the designated meeting place.
  • Don't return until firefighters declared the apartment or office safe.

What steps do I take when I hear a fire alarm?

If you choose to leave the building:
  • Leave as soon as possible
  • Before opening any door, feel the door handle and the door itself, starting from the bottom, moving to the top. If the door is not hot, open it slightly.
  • If you see or smell smoke, or feel or hear air pressure or a hot draft, close the door quickly.
  • If the corridor is free of fire or smoke, take your keys, close the door behind you, and leave the building by the nearest exit stairwell, again closing all doors after you.
  • If you encounter smoke in a stairwell, consider taking an alternate stairwell. Be sure to crawl low under smoke. If the alternate is also contaminated with smoke, return to your suite.
  • When you are safely outside call police. Never assume that someone else has already done so. Make sure you give your name, the correct address and location of the fire.
If you cannot leave your apartment/office or have returned to it because of fire or heavy smoke:
  • Close, but don't lock any doors for possible entry by firefighters.
  • Seal all cracks where smoke can enter by using wet towels or sheets. Seal mail slots, transoms and ventilation outlets as necessary (a roll of wide duct tape is handy).
  • Move to the balcony or to the most protected room and partially open a window for air. Close the window if smoke enters.
  • Keep low to the floor. Heat and toxic gases rise.
  • Signal firefighters by waving a white sheet or towel.
  • Wait to be rescued. Remain calm. Don't panic or jump.
  • Listen for instructions or information from authorized personnel over the building's internal speaker system

Older Adults Safety

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When it comes to fire, adults over age 65 are at greater risk thank any other group.  At age 65, a person is twice as likely to be killed or injured by fires compared to the rest of the population.  By age 75, the risk increases to three times greater than the general population and four times at age 85.  As most fire deaths occur in the home, it is important that older adults know how to protect themselves.
With a few simple steps, older adults can dramatically reduce their risk of death and injury from fire.

Smoke safely

Sitting in your favorite chair and having a cigarette after dinners may seem to some like a great way to relax – but cigarettes and relaxing can be a deadly mix.  Falling asleep while smoking can ignite clothing, rugs and other materials used in upholstered furniture.  Using alcohol and medications that make you sleepy compound this problem.
Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths and the second leading cause of injuries among people age 65 and older.  Cigarettes when not properly extinguished continue to burn.  When a resting cigarette is accidentally knocked over, it can smolder for hours before a flare-up occurs.  Before you light your next cigarette remember:
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Put your cigarette or cigar out at the first sign of feeling drowsy while watching television or reading.
  • Use deep ashtrays and put your cigarettes all the way out.
  • Don’t walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials.
  • If you have children around the house keep matches and lighters out of reach and preferably locked up safely.

Cook safely

Many families gather in the kitchen to spend time together, but it can be one of the most hazardous rooms in the house if you don’t practice safe cooking behaviours.  Cooking is the third leading cause of fire deaths and the leading cause of injury among people age 65 and older.
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It’s a recipe fro serious injury or even death to wear loose clothing (especially hanging sleeves), walk away from a cooking pot on the stove, or leave flammable materials, such a potholders or paper towels, around the stove.  Whether you are cooking the family dinner or a snack for the grandchildren:
  • Never leave cooking unattended.  A serious fire can start in just seconds.
  • Always wear short or tight fitting sleeves when you cook.  Keep towel, pot holders and curtains away from flames.
  • Never use the range or oven to heat you home.
  • Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house.

If your clothes catch fire – STOP, DROP AND ROLL!

If your clothes catch fire, don’t run! Stop where you are, lower yourself to the ground, cover your face with your hands and roll over and over until flames are smothered.

Heat your home safely

During winter months there are more home fires than any other time of year.  Heating devices like space heaters and wood stoves make homes comfortable, but should be sued with extra caution.  Heating is the second leading cause of fire death and the third leading cause of injury to people ages 65 and older.
Many of these deaths and injuries could be prevented with safe heating practices.  So before you grab a good book and cozy up to the fireplace, make sure you do the following:
  • Keep fire in the fireplace by making sure you have a screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs.
  • Space heaters need space.  Keep flammable materials at least one metre or three feet away from heaters.
  • When buying a space heater, look for a control feature that automatically shuts off the power if the heater falls over.

Get out of your home safely

  • Smoke alarms
    Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and ensure that you can hear them.  Visual alarms are available for the hearing impaired, contact Oshawa Fire Services for more information.
  • Home Fire escape plan
    Develop and plan a fire escape plan regularly, at least twice a year.  Know exactly what to do and where to go if there is a fire and keep exits clear of debris.
  • Crawl low under smoke
    Most fire victims die from smoke not flames. If you are caught in smoke, stay close to the floor. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl to the nearest safe exit.

If you are trapped

  • Close, but don’t lock any doors to ensure possible entry by firefighters.
  • Seal all cracks around doors and vents where smoke can enter, by using wet towels or sheets.
  • Partially open a window if you can. Close the window if smoke comes in.
  • Keep low to the floor. Heat and toxic gases rise.
  • Signal firefighters by waving a white sheet or towel.
  • Call police or fire fighter to tell them where you are. Wait to be rescued.
  • Remain calm. Don’t panic.
  • Listen for instructions on how to vacate your home.
  • In case of fire or an emergency, call fire fighter police
Seyfu Mekonen

Seyfu Mekonen is a founder and administrator of As a founder and administrator he is responsible for free and up to date safety and security informations. He can be reached:

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