Safety Tips

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Apartment / Dorm Safety

  • Know where the nearest stairwell is located.
  • Count how many doors are between your dwelling and the stairwell. (In a fire, the smoke can be so thick you will have no visibility and you need to know your way out without the benefit of vision).
  • Contact the building management and/or your local fire department for proper evacuation procedures.
  • Never use an elevator in the event of a fire.


  • Always store paint and other flammable liquids in their original, labeled containers with tight fitting lids and away from heat sources.
  • Remove trash from your home.
  • Don’t store anything near a furnace or water heater.
  • Clean the lint trap on the clothes dryer after each use.
  • If flooding occurs, turn off electrical circuits before stepping into the water.

Bathroom Safety

  • Set waterheaters at 120°F. Anything higher puts those in your household; especially small children and the elderly, at risk for scald injuries.
  • Do not use hairdryers or other electrical appliances near the sink or a full tub.
  • When preparing a bath for small children, remember to keep the water temperature no more than 101º F as their skin is more sensitive to heat. Have the children test the water themselves before getting in.

Electrical Safety

  • Never allow an electrical appliance or its cord come in contact with water unless that is what it was designed for (per manufacturers’ instructions).
  • If an appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug immediately and have it serviced.
  • Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed.
  • Don’t overload extension cords or outlets.
  • Never connect more than two extension cords.
  • Never run electrical cords under rugs.
  • Don’t tamper with the fuse box or use improperly sized fuses.
  • Don’t place flammable objects on or near light bulbs.
  • Always follow manufacturers’ instructions on type of light bulb and wattage for a light.

Fire Escape Plans

  • A working smoke detector is the most important part of a fire escape plan.
  • Never ignore a fire alarm!
  • Most residential fires occur between midnight and six a.m.
  • In the event of a fire, you have less than two minutes to escape safely.
  • Prepare for an emergency by designing an escape plan with the entire family.
  • Know two unobstructed ways out of each room.
  • Feel all doors for evidence of heat before opening them.
  • Close doors behind you to hinder the spread of fire.
  • Close room doors before opening windows.
  • If your escape route involves an upper level window, be sure to plan a safe way of getting to the ground.
  • Decide on a meeting place. Pick a place that is safely away from the home but not across a busy street. The entire household should agree on a spot (mailbox, tree, neighbors house) and know to meet there in the event of an emergency.
  • Practice your escape plan with the entire household at least twice a year.
  • Remember to crawl low under smoke.
  • Stop, Drop and Roll if your clothing catches on fire.

Heating Safety

  • Space heaters need space – at least three feet away from anything that can burn - including furniture, drapes and rugs.
  • Keep children and pets away from all heaters.
  • Never leave heaters unattended.
  • Refuel kerosene heaters with kerosene only, outside, after the heater has cooled.
  • Always use an approved glass or metal protective screen in front of your fireplace.
  • Store flammable materials like newspaper, kindling or wood away from stoves and fireplaces.
  • Do not use throw rugs in front of the stove or fireplace.
  • Have your chimney inspected by a professional once a year and have it cleaned if necessary.
  • Use only dry seasoned wood in wood stoves and fireplaces.
  • Addition of wood and attendance to the fire should be the responsibility of an adult.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily available.
  • Never dispose of ashes, hot or cold, in anything but a metal can or bin.

Hotel and Motel Fire Safety

Before a Fire

  • When making a hotel reservation or checking into a hotel, ask about the fire safety features of the facility and choose a facility that's protected by both smoke alarms and is fully fire sprinklered.
  • When checking in, ask what the fire alarm system sound is for the facility.
  • Become familiar with the fire escape plan posted in your room.
  • Locate the two nearest stairs and count the number of doors between your room and the stairwell. In a fire, the hall may be dark and it may be difficult to see the exit stairway. Counting the number of doors may help you find the stairs.
  • Look for exit signs wherever you are in the facility.
    Check to make sure the exits are not locked or blocked. Notify the hotel manager if exits are not accessible.
  • Keep your room key by your nightstand so that you can easily reach it in an emergency.
    Travel with a flashlight and fresh batteries in case the power goes out.
  • Report any unusual behavior or fire hazards to hotel management.

During a Fire

  • If the fire alarm sounds, leave the building immediately. Take your room key with you, in case the exits are blocked by fire or smoke, you can return to your room.
  • Test doors before you open them. If there is fire on the other side, it will feel warm around the cracks. If the door is warm, use your second way out or stay in your room and begin procedures for "If You Are Trapped." If the door is cool, open it cautiously and check to make sure your escape path is clear of fire and smoke.
  • Always use the stairs, not an elevator, during a fire.
  • If you must escape through smoke, crawl low under the smoke on your hands and knees to your exit.

If You are Trapped

  • If you can't escape and there's not fire in your room, stay put.
  • Call the fire department and let them know your exact location.
  • Shut off fans and air conditioners because they can draw smoke into the room.
  • Stuff towels or sheets in the cracks around all doors and vents between you and the fire.
  • If you can, open the window at the top and bottom, but be prepared to shut it if smoke comes into the room. Do not break the window so that you are able to shut it if needed.
  • Stay at the window and signal the firefighters by waving a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.

Kid's Corner

  • Create a “kid free zone” around the stove/oven.
  • Do not allow appliance cords to dangle within reach of small children.
  • Keep hot liquids out of reach of children.
  • Do not use tablecloths or placemats when small children are present.
  • Do not cook at the stove, eat or drink hot foods while holding a child.
  • Keep children out of the kitchen during hectic meal preparations. Assign older children to be responsible for younger children during this time if necessary.
  • Store all matches and lighters up high, out of children's reach.
  • Use child resistant lighters.

Kitchen Safety


  • Never leave cooking unattended.
  • Keep the stovetop and oven clean, as buildup of grease and debris can ignite easily.
  • Keep stove area clear flammable materials. Don't leave oven mitts, paper or cloth towels near the stove.
  • Dishtowels should never be hung on the oven door.
  • Do not place or spray aerosols near an open flame.
  • Cook on back burners and turn pot handles in to prevent accidental spillage.
  • Wear close fitting clothes and roll up sleeves. Turn stovetop flames off before reaching above the stove.

Microwave Ovens

  • Use only containers designed for microwave use.
  • Allow food to cool before removing it from the microwave.
  • Prevent steam burns by removing lids carefully. Stir thoroughly to distribute heat evenly.
  • Never microwave a baby bottle.

Outdoor Safety


  • Gasoline should always be stored outside in a detached shed or garage, in small amounts, in an approved, sealed container out of reach of children.
  • Never use gasoline or other flammable liquid as a cleaning agent.
  • Never fill gasoline motors in an enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Before starting a lawnmower, snow blower, or motorcycle; move it away from gasoline fumes.
  • Let small motors cool before you refuel them.


  • Never use gasoline to enhance or start a fire.
  • Don’t add charcoal lighter fluid once the fire has started (use dry kindling to revive the flame).
  • Use grills outside only, well away from buildings, vegetation and other combustibles.
  • Supervise children carefully when a grill is used.
  • Never allow horseplay around the grill.

Sleepover Checklist

A checklist to help parents and caregivers consider hazards and make decisions about slumber parties and sleepovers.

"Before you permit your child to sleep over with a friend, talk to the child's parents," says Judy Comoletti, National Firefighters Protection Association’s assistant vice president for public education. "Depending on what you learn, it can either uncover serious fire dangers or give you peace of mind during your child's sleepover."

Before You Say "Yes"…

  • How well do you know the home?
  • Is the home clean? Does it appear to be structurally sound?
  • How well do you know the home?
  • Is the home in a safe area?
  • If the home has security bars on doors and windows, do you know for certain that the bars have quick release devices inside, so your child could get out in an emergency?
  • Is your child comfortable in the home and with all the occupants?
  • Are you comfortable leaving your child in the home overnight?

How Well Do You Know the Parent(s)?

  • Are they mature, responsible and conscientious?
  • Will they supervise the children throughout the stay?
  • Will they remain sober and attentive?
  • Are they cautious with smoking materials, matches and lighters, and candles

Ask The Parents…

  • Are there working alarms on every level, throughout their home?
  • Do they have a well-rehearsed plan that includes two ways out and a meeting place outside?
  • Where will your child be sleeping? Is there a smoke alarm in or near the room? Are there two escape routes from the room?
  • Will the parents walk through their escape plan with your child?
  • Do the parents prohibit bedroom candle use by children?

Tell The Parents...

  • About your home escape plan and the fire protection equipment you have in your home.
  • That you will walk their child through your plan when invited to stay overnight in your home.

Does Your Child...

  • Recognize and awaken to the sound of the smoke alarm? Important: If not, tell the sleepover parents that your child does not waken to the smoke alarm and that someone will have to wake them in an emergency.
  • Know what to do when the smoke alarm sounds?
  • Know that he or she cannot hide from fire and that the top priority is to get out and stay out until firefighters say it is safe to go back inside?
  • Know the fire department emergency number?
  • Feel empowered to ask about the friends' escape plan?
  • Feel empowered to tell you if there is a dangerous practice or situation at the friends' home?

Smoke Detectors

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in each bedroom.
  • Do not install a smoke detector near cooking vapors.
  • Test smoke detectors monthly, following manufacturers instructions.
  • Change batteries twice a year on daylight savings, or whenever you hear a “chirp” indicating a low battery. Follow manufacturers’ instructions for long life batteries.
  • Never borrow or remove batteries from a smoke detector.
  • Replace smoke detectors that are more than 10 years old, the effectiveness is not guaranteed.
  • Vacuum smoke detectors to keep them dust free and functioning.
  • CO is a tasteless, odorless, colorless poisonous gas. Every home should also have at least one carbon monoxide detector.


  • Never smoke in bed or near flammables.
  • Provide smokers with large, deep ashtrays and douse butts with water before discarding them.
  • Check around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes before going to bed.

Emergency Supplies Checklist

Can You Go It Alone for Three Days?

The first 72 hours after a major emergency or disaster are critical. Electricity, gas, water, and telephones may not be working. In addition, public safety services such as police and fire departments will be busy handling serious crises. You should be prepared to be self-sufficient — able to live without running water, electricity and/or gas, and telephones — for at least three days following a major emergency. To do so, keep on hand in a central location the following:


  • Water — 1 gallon per person per day (a week’s supply of water is preferable)
  • Water purification kit
  • First aid kit, freshly stocked
  • First aid book
  • Food
  • Can opener (non-electric)
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries
  • Essential medications
  • Extra pair of eyeglasses
  • Extra pair of house and car keys
  • Fire extinguisher — A-B-C type
  • Food, water and restraint (leash or carrier) for pets
  • Cash and change
  • Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap and baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices

Sanitation Supplies

  • Large plastic trash bags for waste; tarps and rain ponchos
  • Large trash cans
  • Bar soap and liquid detergent
  • Shampoo
  • Toothpaste and toothbrushes
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Household bleach

Safety and Comfort

  • Sturdy shoes
  • Heavy gloves for clearing debris
  • Candles and matches
  • Light sticks
  • Change of clothing
  • Knife or razor blades
  • Garden hose for siphoning and firefighting
  • Tent
  • Communication kit: paper, pens, stamps


  • Plastic knives, forks, spoons
  • Paper plates and cups
  • Paper towels
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • Camping stove for outdoor cooking (caution: before using fire to cook, make sure there are no gas leaks; never use charcoal indoors)

Tools and Supplies

  • Axe, shovel, broom
  • Adjustable wrench for turning off gas
  • Tool kit including a screwdriver, pliers and a hammer
  • Coil of ½ “ rope
  • Plastic tape, staple gun and sheeting for window replacement
  • Bicycle
  • City map