My Visalia
Close Panel
  • Email
  • Print

Fire Safety Tips

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 manufacture's directions, and replace batteries once a year or whenever a detector "chirps" to signal low battery power. Never "borrow" a smoke detector's 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 o 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 home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes.


3. Cook carefully.

Never leave cooking food unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and 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 cover 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 grownup 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 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 24 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.


11. Post emergency numbers near telephones

Be aware that if a fire threatens your home, you should not place the call to emergency services from inside the home. It is better to get out and place the call to fire authorities from a safe location outside the home.

12. Be Careful of Halogen Lights

If you have halogen lights, make sure they are away from flammable drapes and low ceiling areas. Never leave them on when you leave your home or office.

Fire Safety and Protection Tips

Make sure all family members know what to do in the event of a fire. Draw a floor plan with at least two ways of escaping every room. Make a drawing for each floor. Dimensions do not need to be correct. Make sure the plan shows important details: stairs, hallways and windows that can be used as fire escape routes.

Test windows and doors—do they open easy enough? Are they wide enough. Or tall enough?

Choose a safe meeting place outside the house.

Practice alerting other members. It is a good idea to keep a bell and flashlight in each bedroom.



Conduct a family meeting and discuss the following topics

  • Always sleep with the bedroom doors closed. This will keep deadly heat and smoke out of bedrooms, giving you additional time to escape.
  • Find a way for everyone to sound a family alarm. Yelling, pounding on walls, whistles, etc. Practice yelling "FIRE!"
  • In a fire, time is critical. Don't waste time getting dressed, don't search for pets or valuables. Just get out!
  • Roll out of bed. Stay low. One breath of smoke or gases may be enough to kill.

Be prepared and plan ahead

Practice evacuating the building blindfolded. In a real fire situation, the amount of smoke generated by a fire most likely will make it difficult to see.

Practice staying low to the ground when escaping.

Feel all doors before opening them. If a door is hot, get out another way.

Learn to stop, drop to the ground, roll if clothes catch fire.

back to top