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Fire Safety

Emergency Vehicles and You

When an emergency vehicle has its lights and siren on, it is responding to an emergency. It is the law and YOUR responsibility to:

  • Pull to the right side of the road and STOP until the emergency vehicle has passed.
  • Give all emergency vehicles the right-of-way.
  • Keep back at least 500 feet from an emergency vehicle when it is responding with lights and sirens.
  • Do not drive over fire hoses.
  • Drive carefully around an emergency scene.

At the Emergency

  • smoke_vanHave someone wait at the street to direct the fire and police departments to the emergency.
  • If you are a witness to the emergency, stay at the scene to provide emergency personnel with information.
  • If you are asked to move or leave the area, DO IT! The firefighters and police officers are looking out for your safety.
  • Remember, things can become very hectic in an emergency. Firefighters and police officers need to do their job in a safe way.

Some Other Tips:

  • Make sure your address is visible from the street.
  • Keep areas around fire hydrants clear of parked cars, fences, bushes, tall weeds and debris.
  • Keep bushes, trees, grass and weeds cut or trimmed to avoid the chance of brush fires.
  • If you have security bars on your windows, make sure they are fitted with inside quick releases

(Courtesy of Phoenix Fire Department)

Fire Extinguishers

fire extinguisherYou should fight a fire with a fire extinguisher only when all of the following are true:

  • Everyone has left or is leaving the building.
  • The fire department has been called.
  • The fire is small and confined to the immediate areas where it started such as in a wastebasket, cushion, small appliance, stove, etc.
  • You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route.
  • Your extinguisher is rated for the type of fire you are fighting and is in good working order.
  • You have had training in use of the extinguisher and are confident that you can operate it effectively.

Remember, if you have the slightest doubt about whether or not to fight the fire – DON’T. Instead, get out, closing the door behind you to slow the spread of the fire. You have one of the best fire departments in the world standing by ready to protect you. Let the professionals do their job.

Fire extinguishers are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful only under the right conditions.

An extinguisher must be large enough for the fire at hand. It must be available and in working order, fully charged. The operator should be familiar with the extinguisher so it won’t be necessary to read directions during an emergency.

A fire extinguisher should be “listed” and “labeled” by an independent testing laboratory such as FM (Factory Mutual) or UL (Underwriters Laboratory).

The higher the rating number on an A or B fire extinguisher, the more fire it can put out, but high-rated units are often the heavier models. Make sure you can hold and operate the extinguisher you are buying.

Remember that extinguishers need care and must be recharged after every use. Ask the dealer about the extinguisher and how it should be serviced and inspected. A partially used unit might as well be empty.

You may need more than one extinguisher in your home. For example, you may want an extinguisher in the kitchen as well as one in the garage or workshop. Each extinguisher should be installed in plain view near an escape route and away from potential fire hazards such as heating appliances.

Types of Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers are labeled according to the type of fire on which they may be used. Fires involving wood or cloth, flammable liquids, electrical, or metal sources react differently to extinguishers. Using one type of extinguisher on the wrong type of fire could be dangerous and make matters even worse.

Traditionally, the labels A, B, C or D have been used to indicate the type of fire on which an extinguisher is to be used.

extinguishers

Type A Label

A Type A label is in a triangle on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber and many plastics. These types of fire usually leave ashes after they burn. Remember: Type A extinguishers for Ashes.

Type B Label

A Type B label is in a square on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for flammable liquid fires such as oil, gasoline, paints, lacquers, grease, and solvents. These substances often come in barrels. Remember: Type B extinguishers for Barrels.

Type C Label

A Type C label is in a circle on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for electrical fires such as in wiring, fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment and other electrical sources. Electricity travels in currents. Remember: Type C extinguishers for Currents.

Type D Label

A Type D label is in a star on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for metal fires such as magnesium, titanium and sodium. These types of fire are very dangerous and seldom handled by the general public. Remember: Type D for Don’t get involved.

Pictograms

Recently, pictograms have come into use on fire extinguishers. These picture the type of fire on which an extinguisher is to be used. For instance, a Type A extinguisher has a pictogram showing burning wood. A Type C extinguisher has a pictogram showing an electrical cord and outlet. These pictograms are also used to show what not to use. For example, a Type A extinguisher will show a pictogram of an electrical cord and outlet with a big slash through it. In other words, don’t use it on an electrical fire.

firetypes

Number Rating

Fire extinguishers also have a number rating. For Type A fires, a 1 would stand for 1 1/4 gallons of water, a 2 would represent 2 1/2 gallons, 3 would be 3 3/4 gallons of water, etc. For Type B and Type C fire, the number represents square feet. For example, 2 would be two square feet, 5 is five square feet, etc.

Fire extinguishers can also be made to extinguish more than one type of fire. For example, you might have an extinguisher with a label that reads 2A5B. This would mean this extinguisher is good for Type A fires with a 2 1/2 gallon equivalence and it is also good for Type B fires with a 5 square feet equivalency. A good extinguisher to have in each residential kitchen is a 2A10BC fire extinguisher. You might also get a Type A for the living room and bedrooms and an ABC for the basement and garage.

Using a Fire Extinguisher

There is a simple acronym to remember to operate most fire extinguishers – PASS. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.

  • Pull the pin at the top of the cylinder. Some units require the releasing of a lock latch or pressing a puncture lever.
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze or press the handle.
  • Sweep the contents from side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out.
  • Shut off the extinguisher and then watch carefully for a rekindling of the fire.

(Courtesy of the Vacaville Fire Department)

What to do in the event of a Fire at your Home

Before a fire happens, be prepared by installing smoke detectors and checking periodically to ensure that they work. Conduct fire drills in your home and plan escape routes as well as a place for all members of the family to meet outside.

You may never have to face an uncontrolled fire, but knowing what to do at the time can save your life. Practice the following actions in your fire drills.

  • Go to your door and feel it to see if it’s hot.
  • If the door isn’t hot, then leave the room and then the building. Leave immediately and don’t come back. If you encounter smoke while leaving, drop down to the floor and crawl out.
  • If the door is hot when you feel it, go out through the window or take another route. If you have no way out, keep your door closed so that smoke can’t get into the room. Drop down to the floor, where the fresher air is, and crawl over to the window. Open it and hang a sheet or blanket out the window to alert firefighters you are in the room.
  • Once out of your building, do not return for any reason. Call the fire department from a location that is a safe distance from the fire.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop where you are, drop to the floor or ground and roll around. That will help put out the flames. Fire experts call this action stop, drop and roll.

Holiday Safety Tips

Throughout the holiday season, family and friends will gather to share the warmth that only this time of year brings. Unfortunately, these seasons are also characterized by a tremendous amount of fires, many of which are traced back to seasonal decorations. Most fires can be prevented by following a few simple suggestions.

CHRISTMAS TREES: Christmas trees can transform from a beautiful decoration to a 1500 degree torch in seconds.

  • Buy a fresh tree that has been recently cut where the needles are hard to pull from the branches. When bent between your fingers, fresh needles do not break. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin. When the trunk of a tree is bounced on the ground, you should not see a shower of falling needles.
  • Before placing the tree in a stand, make a fresh cut to the trunk of the tree at least 2” up from the base to help the tree absorb water. Trim off the bottom branches as necessary to set the tree trunk completely into the base of a sturdy water-holding stand.
  • Place your tree at least 3 feet away from wood stoves, heaters or fireplaces. Do not place the tree in high traffic areas or near doorways. You can secure a large tree to walls or ceiling with fishing line.
  • Water the tree at least once each day.
  • Turn the lights off when you leave home or go to bed.
  • Use only “UL” listed decorations and follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the number of strings that can be hooked together in one line. Usually no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord is recommended.
  • Make sure all electrical cords are in good shape, discarding those with broken sockets, bear or cracked wiring or fraying.

OUTDOOR DECORATIONS

  • Use caution when stringing lights. Don’t punch holes in the light cords with staples, nails or connectors.
  • Use appropriate extension cord which will handle the load you place on it.
  • Make sure you use fuses of the proper type and size.

CANDLES

  • Make sure candles are mounted in a secure nonflammable base that will not tip easily.
  • Never leave a candle unattended or where young children can reach them.
  • Never use candles on or near a Christmas tree.

FIREPLACES

  • Do not burn boxes and wrapping paper in the fireplace; a chimney fire may occur.
  • When discarding your Christmas tree, don’t burn it in your fireplace.

With a little caution and some common sense planning, you can make sure that your holidays are safe and happy. Your safety begins at home. Give your family a gift they can live with, teach them to be fire safe. Remember, fire extinguishers and smoke alarms make great gifts!

(Courtesy of the Vacaville Fire Department)

Smoke and CO Detectors

Smoke Detectors

The Liberty Fire Department will provide free smoke detectors to  residents and will install them upon request if you are unable to do so.

Each home or apartment should have at least one smoke detector in each bedroom, the hallway, in the sleeping area, and at the top of all stairways. Smoke rises, so the best place to install a detector is on the ceiling or high on an inside wall approximately 6-8 inches below the ceiling. However, do not install a smoke detector within three feet of any device that might blow the smoke away.

A battery-operated smoke detector, available at hardware or home stores is sufficient. Be sure to test the batteries monthly and change them once a year.  To test the smoke detector, push the test button, or blow out a candle and hold it up so the smoke reaches the smoke detector. Either method should work. Batteries normally last up to one year, and usually the smoke detector provides an audible indication (a chirping sound) when the batteries become weak. As a reminder, the Liberty Fire Department suggests you “Change your clock, Check your smoke detector batteries” in the Spring and/or Fall every year.

If you cannot afford a smoke detector, or are unable to change the battery, the Liberty Fire Department may be able to install one for you,.  This is made possible through a aluminum can donation program.  We have a bin at the Fire Department.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a odorless, colorless gas produced by burning fossil fuels (Fossil fuels shall include natural gas, coal, kerosene, oil, propane and wood etc.) Exposure to lower levels of CO over several hours can be just as dangerous as exposure to higher levels for a few minutes.

Who needs a CO Detector?

  • Single Family Residences. A single family residence, heated by a forced air furnace or a boiler that burns a fossil fuel, should have a carbon monoxide detector within forty (40) feet of all rooms used for sleeping. The carbon monoxide detector should be placed so it will be easily heard in all sleeping areas and should be installed according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Multiple Family Dwellings & Apartment Buildings. A multiple family dwelling or apartment building, in which a hot water or steam boiler, that burns a fossil fuel and is located in the basement, must have one approved carbon monoxide detector installed in the room containing the central heating unit. The carbon monoxide detector should be installed according to manufacturers instructions. Every apartment that has its own warm air heating plant (portable furnaces, space heaters, etc.) that burns a fossil fuel, should have a carbon monoxide detector within forty (40) feet of all rooms used for sleeping. The carbon monoxide detector should be placed so it will easily be heard in all sleeping rooms and should be installed according to the manufacturers instructions.

Who is at risk?

Those most at risk are:

  • Children.
  • Elderly.
  • People with lung or heart disease.
  • Pregnant woman.

Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include:

  • Headache.
  • Fatigue.
  • Sleepiness.
  • Weakness.
  • Nausea, Vomiting.
  • Dizziness, Confusion.
  • Trouble breathing.

If prolonged exposure continues, LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS, COMA and ultimately DEATH will occur.

Do you have any of these fuel burning appliances?

  • Gas Furnace.
  • Gas Water Heater.
  • Fireplace.
  • Wood Burning Stove.
  • Gas Ranges or Ovens.
  • Gas Dryers.
  • Kerosene Heaters.
  • Charcoal/Gas Grilles.
  • Lawn Mowers.
  • Snow Blowers.
  • Chain Saws.

Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can occur if these appliances are improperly installed/maintained, damaged, malfunctioning or improperly used/ventilated. Furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves and chimneys should be checked yearly by a professional service. This is to ensure proper function and ventilation. Yard equipment (i.e., lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.) or charcoal/gas grilles should never be used or run in the home.

What to do if your CO detector goes off.

  • Ventilate the house and get out!
  • As you leave, turn off fuel burning appliances if possible.
  • Get fresh air.
  • Call 911.
  • Seek medical attention if you have signs & symptoms of CO poisoning.
  • Don’t go back into the building until cleared by the fire department.

(Courtesy of the Vacaville Fire Department)

Stop, Drop & Roll

Each year more than 15,000 people are seriously burned when their clothes catch on fire. In more than half of the incidents, flammable liquids or vapors were present on or around the person’s clothing. But it can happen in many ways. A person’s loose sleeve may catch fire on a hot stove. Someone may be working with gasoline or some other flammable liquid and then light a cigarette. They might spray lighter fluid on a smoldering barbecue fire and the resulting flames could catch their clothes on fire. When a person’s clothing catches on fire, action must be instinctive and immediate. There is no time to think.

The one thing you should never do is run.

To minimize a burn injury when your clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL. Burns are among the most painful of injuries and the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. The hands, groin, face and lungs are at particular risk because they are delicate structures and easily injured. The healing process is slow and painful, resulting in enormous personal suffering.

Certain types of clothing are less flammable and resist flames more than other types of clothing. Heavier clothing and fabrics with a tight knit weave burn more slowly compared with loose knit clothing. Fabrics with a loose fit or a fluffy pile will ignite more readily than tight-fitting, dense fabric clothing. Synthetic fibers, such as nylon, once ignited, melt and burn causing severe burns. Natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, tend to burn more slowly than synthetic fibers. However, fibers that combine both synthetic and natural fibers may be of greater hazard than either fabric alone. Curtains and draperies can be sprayed with flame retardants to reduce their rate of burning. However, these chemicals should not be applied to clothing.

The principles of STOP, DROP and ROLL are simple:

  • Stop, do not run, if your clothes catch on fire.
  • Drop to the floor in a prone position.
  • Cover your face with your hands to protect it from the flames.
  • Roll over and over to smother the fire. Don’t stop until the flames have been extinguished.

If you are near someone whose clothing catches on fire, be sure to stop them from running and make them STOP, DROP and ROLL.

  • Once the fire is out, you must treat a burn injury.
  • Cool a burn with water.
  • Then call 9-1-1.

(Courtesy of the Phoenix Fire Department)

Top Ten Tips for Fire Safety

  1. Install Smoke Detectors – Working smoke detectors can alert you to a fire in your home in time for you to escape, even if you are sleeping. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including the basement, and outside each sleeping area. If you sleep with the door closed, install one inside your sleeping area as well.Test detectors every month, following the manufacturers directions, and replace batteries once a year or whenever a detector “chirps” to signal low battery power. Never “borrow” a smoke detectors battery for another use – a disabled detector can’t save your life. Replace detectors that are more than 10 years old. For complete protection, consider installing automatic fire sprinklers in addition to smoke detectors.
  2. Keep An Eye On Smokers – Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be fatal. Provide smokers with large, deep, non-tip ashtrays, and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving the home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.
  3. Cook Carefully – Never leave cooking unattended. keep cooking areas clear of combustibles, wear clothes with short, rolled-up, or tight-fitting sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you can’t bump them and children can’t grab them. enforce a “kid-free zone” that is three feet (one meter) around your kitchen stove. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat source. Leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  4. Plan Your Escape From Fire – If a fire breaks out in your home, you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and designing an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two unobstructed ways out – doors and windows – from every room. (If you live in an apartment building, use the stairs – do not include elevators in your escape plan.) Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will gather after they escape. Have your entire household practice your escape plan at least twice a year.
  5. Give Space Heaters Space – Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet (one meter) away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters, and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.
  6. Remember: Matches And Lighters Are Tools, Not Toys – In a child’s hands, matches and lighters can be deadly. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where kids can’t see or reach them, preferably in a locked cabinet. Teach young children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys, and should be used by adults only or with adult supervision. Teach young children not to touch them and to tell a grown up if they find matches or lighters; older children should bring matches and lighters to an adult immediately.
  7. Cool A Burn – Run cool water over a burn for about 10 to 15 minutes. Never apply ice. It is dangerous to put butter or any other grease on a burn because it seals in the heat and can damage the tissue further. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.
  8. Use Electricity Safely – If an electric appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, and have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don’t overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don’t tamper with your fuse box or use improperly sized fuses.
  9. Crawl Low Under Smoke – During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor. If you encounter smoke or flames while you are escaping from a fire, use an alternative escape route. If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 14 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor.
  10. Stop, Drop and Roll – If your clothes catch fire, don’t run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hands, and roll over and over to smother the flames.

When to call 911

Here are some tips on when you should call 911 during an emergency:

Only Call 9-1-1 to Report:

  • A fire
  • A serious crime
  • Any serious medical condition
  • Any situation requiring immediate response of Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Personnel.

What the 9-1-1 dispatcher will Need to Know:

  • Address of the emergency
  • Phone number you are calling from
  • Nature of the emergency

Stay calm, speak clearly, be prepared to answer questions, receive instructions and stay on the phone until you are told to hang up!

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