Public Education

Escape Plan

Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.   

Step 1.Make a Plan

Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.

Step 2.Choose a Meeting Place

Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor's house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.

Step 3.Practice 

Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.

Fire Safety

Step 1.Generator Safety

Portable generators are useful during power outages. However, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) report, portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools from 1999-2012. The report found that portable generators were linked to more than 85% of non-fire CO deaths associated with engine-driven tools, or 800 out of 931 deaths, during that 14-year period.

Step 2.Fire Extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the #1 priority for residents is to get out safely. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

Step 3.Safe Cooking Practices

Cooking is one of the leading causes of home fires. One out of three home fires begins in the kitchen - more than any other place in the home.

  • Never leave cooking food unattended.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling or broiling. If you have to leave, even for a short time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
  • You have to be alert when cooking. You won’t be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs, or consumed alcohol that makes you drowsy.
  • Always keep an oven mitt and pan lid nearby when you’re cooking. If a small grease fire starts, slide the lid over the pan to smother the flame. Turn off the burner, and leave the pan covered until it is completely cool.
  • Have a “kid-free zone” of at least 3-feet around the stove and areas where hot food or drinks are prepared or carried.

 

Step 4.Types of Detectors

Smoke Detectors

Smoke alarms are a key part of a home fire escape plan. When there is a fire, smoke spreads fast. Working smoke alarms give you early warning so you can get outside quickly. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire, so if you discover a fire in any room CLOSE THE DOOR, EVACUATE AND CALL 911. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. We recommend that you use 10-year lithium ion battery smoke detectors.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Although the popularity of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The dangers of CO exposure depend on a number of variables, including the victim's health and activity level. Infants, pregnant women, and people with physical conditions that limit their body's ability to use oxygen (i.e. emphysema, asthma, heart disease) can be more severely affected by lower concentrations of CO than healthy adults would be. A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.

 

Water Safety

Each year nationwide, about 300 children under age five drown in swimming pools. In Florida, drowning is the leading cause of death for this age. It only takes seconds for an unattended child to get into trouble in the backyard pool, canal or pond. Take a moment now to be prepared.

Step 1.Simple Steps, Saves Lives

Parents need to talk to their child about water safety. Here are some ideas to start with:

  • Don’t go near a pool without an adult. This is the most important water safety conversation to have because it is so simple.
  • If you see someone struggling in the water, don’t jump in to help. Run and get an adult.
  • And if you fall into a pool, don’t panic, turn around, find the wall, and climb out or yell for help. Practice this skill in the pool with your child. Have the child practice wearing clothing to experience the sensation.

Step 2.Remember water safety

  •  It can happen to you. Many parents who lost a child to drowning never considered that their child could be at risk; they just didn’t realize how close the danger was.
  • Take ownership of your child’s safety. Never rely on responsible behavior from your child, another child or other adults. Know who is watching your child when you can’t be there.
  • Don’t multitask. Pool time means your full attention is needed to properly supervise. Drowning happens quickly; most children die who are under water for as little as 6 minutes.
  • Have a response plan. If your child is missing, check the pool first, know CPR.

Step 3.Install Water Barriers

Install access doors to pools, spas and all water environments.

  • Door handles should be 5 feet above ground level.
  • Always keep locked.

Install alarms on access doors.

  • Do not deactivate alarms.
  • If the alarm can be temporarily turned off for adult to open the door, the deactivate button should be out of children’s reach.

Install pool safety barrier (four-sided) separating pool and/or backyard lake from home and all access doors and entrances.

  • Always leave barrier in place when pool is not in use.
  • Barrier should be 5 feet tall, self-closing and self-latching.

Install floating pool alarm.

  • Do not deactivate alarm.
  • Consider having pool alarm connected into your home alarm.

Learn CPR and rescue techniques.

  • Anyone over age 10 in your home should have CPR training.
  • Baby sitters and caregivers should also be trained.
  • 911 dispatchers can give CPR instruction over the phone.