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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Exit Drills In The Home (E.D.I.T.H)


Install smoke detectors and keep them in working order. Make an escape plan and "practice" it. Consider installing an automatic fire-sprinkler system.


Once a fire has started, there is no time to plan how to get out. Sit down with your family today, and make a step-by-step plan for escaping a fire. Draw a floor Plan of your Home, marking two ways out of every room - especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household.

Agree on a Meeting Place, where every member of the household will gather outside your home after escaping a fire to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is missing or trapped inside the burning building.

Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home. Appoint someone to be the monitor, and have everyone participate. A fire drill is not a race. Get out quickly, but carefully.


Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire, and practice alternative escape routes, Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke.

Be Prepared

Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Windows or doors with security bars need to be equipped with quick-release devices, and everyone in the household should know how to use them.

If you live in an apartment building, use stairways to escape. NEVER use an elevator during a fire. It may stop between floors or take you to a floor where the fire is burning. Some high-rise buildings may have evacuation plans that require you to stay where you are and wait for the fire department.

If you live in a multi-story house and you must escape from an upper story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground, such as a fire-resistant fire escape ladder. Make special arrangements for children, older adults and people with disabilities. People who have difficulty moving should have a phone in their sleeping area and, if possible, should sleep on the ground floor.

Test doors before opening them.

While kneeling or crouching at the door, reach up as high as you can and with the back of your hand touch the door, the knob, and the crack between the door and its frame. If you feel any warmth at all, use another escape route. If the door feels cool, open it with caution. Put your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. Be prepared to slam it shut if there is smoke or flames on the other side.

If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a light colored cloth. If there is a phone in the room, call the fire department and report exactly where you are.


In case of a fire, don't stop for anything. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets. Go directly to your meeting place, and then call the fire department from a neighbor's phone, a portable phone, or an alarm box. Every member of your household should know how to call the fire department.

Crawl low under smoke.

Smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use an alternative escape route. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches (30 - 60 centimeters) above the floor.

. . . and stay out!

Once you are out of your home, don't go back for any reason. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering. Firefighters have the training, experience, and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.

Play IT Safe

Smoke Detectors:

More than half of all fatal home fires happen at night while people are asleep. Smoke detectors sound an alarm when a fire starts, waking people before they are trapped or overcome by smoke. With smoke detectors, your risk of dying in a home fire is cut nearly in half. Install smoke detectors outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home, including the basement. Follow installation instructions carefully, and test smoke detectors monthly. Change all smoke detector batteries at least once a year. If your detector is more than 10 years old, replace it with a new one.

Automatic fire-sprinkler systems:

These systems attack a fire in its early stages by spraying water only on the area where the fire has begun. Consider including sprinkler systems in plans for new construction and installing them in existing homes.

NOW, use what you've learned,

SET UP YOUR PLAN, including two ways out, a meeting place and

CONDUCT A PRACTICE DRILL to determine if anything has been overlooked.

EVERYONE in the household NEEDS TO PARTICIPATE for it to be successful.


Here now is a very good YouTube video, “No Time To Spare,” showing a fatal fire re-creation to emphasize the importance of preventing fires, maintaining working smoke alarms, practicing home fire escape plans and installing residential sprinklers. . .

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; this is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

ARFF TRAINING: First Responder Safety

Training and being prepared to do what is at hand is important for any critical job. Knowing before hand, or at least having the general knowledge of what is expected of you on any fire ground scene is equally important.

In the Fire Protection Service, if you’re a paid or a volunteer fire fighter, getting and having the required training is of core importance for each one of us. Passing along pertinent training information can only enhance one's ability to perform as best they can when called upon.

We all know as Fire Fighters, EMS and Police that we get “SAFETY” drilled into our heads during all our training classes. There should be no compromise to safety.

In Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) there are many hazards at the crash of an aircraft and the surrounding crash site. On all the responses on ARFF incidents I ensured that I’m safe on my approach into the scene and watch how the fire ground may develop as well as keeping my eyes open to watch my fellow fire fighter’s back. By doing so I knew the fire fighters I’m responding with will be watching my back.

As small aircraft and helicopters have become more complex, technology has provided systems that have enhanced operational safety. In the event of an accident, many of these systems have presented additional hazards to first responders or any potential rescuer at an aircraft accident scene.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), in cooperation with General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), various manufacturers and first responder professional organizations, has developed training for safety at an aircraft accident scene with the following training modules:

(Click To View):

(27:06 minutes)

(10:46 minutes)

(21:38 minutes)

(27:20 minutes)

The primary purpose and goal at any ARFF emergency is to save lives, just like for any Fire Fighting or EMS situation or response. ARFF emergencies have very unique and specialize situations that could entail a combination of a house fire, motor vehicle fire, haz-mat, and medical emergency at one aircraft crash site. Safety is and always will be paramount on any emergency response.

ARFF fire fighters are trained to establish what is called a rescue path to the aircraft once at a crash site, and prepared to battle large volumes of acrid smoke, rapid heat build up, fight fire, lots of fire depending on the amount of fuel is being carried on the aircraft, and perform rescue. The ARFF fire fighter receives training includes structural firefighting tactics, aircraft familiarization, confined-space training, aircraft rescue, vehicle familiarization and aircraft egress.

I feel the above FAA’s training modules are a great training resource for those emergency responders that may be called upon from local community fire departments, medical squads, and law enforcement agencies. Incorporating these FAA Training Modules into a fire department’s or other agency’s training program can only increase the First Responders awareness of the many dangerous hazards that could be present at a aircraft crash site.

Lets Be Safe Out There!

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; this is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Good Housekeeping Helps Prevents Fire

Spring cleaning time is here again. Remember, a clean house is a safe house. Tioga Fire Protection and Fire Prevention reminds you that trash, boxes, piles of clothes and other combustibles in the home are fuel for fire. Getting rid of them will help reduce the chance of fire in your home.

Clean out storage areas such as garages, attics, closets, sheds and basements on a regular basis. Even warehouses are limited to the amount of storage they can safely keep. Don't allow areas in your home to become tempting fuel for a fire. Throw away or giveaway items you are no longer using. Clutter gives fire a place to start and creates obstacles that might prevent a safe escape.

Oily rags can ignite without a heat source because they produce their own heat. Throw them out or store them in the closed metal container. This includes dusting rags used with a furniture polish or spray.

Spring and summer time present the return of several seasonal fire hazards with activities shifting outdoors.

Among the most common involve cooking grills, wooden decks, and use of gasoline and other flammable liquids.

Tioga Fire Protection and Fire Prevention encourages everyone to consider and use the following list as a "Spring Cleaning Checklist" for around the home:

* Locate grills and any propane tanks/cylinders a safe distance from buildings, wooden decks and other combustibles. Never store propone indoors!

* Check propane gas hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.

* Inspect and clean of venturi tubes and burner (check owner’s manual) of gas grills where spiders and small insects may make nests or spider webs. This could lead to a fire. Frequent inspection and cleaning is typically necessary before use.

* Only use charcoal starter fluids designed for grills and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.

* Eliminate dry leaves, combustible storage or other debris from beneath wood decks. Avoid staging trash and other combustible materials on the deck.

* Avoid smoking on a wood deck. If you permit smoking, use suitable disposal containers/ashtrays. Never use paper or plastic cups, napkins etc.

* Store gasoline and other flammable liquids in a building separate from the house or place of residence, such as a secured shed. Never store such liquids or propane cylinders within and attached garage or basement! Always keep out of reach from children.

* Use gasoline only for its intended purpose, as a motor fuel. Handle gasoline outdoors only.

* Replace batteries in smoke alarms.

* Always have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.


Keep Your Place Firesafe: Hunt for Home Hazards and ...

Fire Won't Wait...Plan Your Escape!

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; this is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Extra Minutes of Warning . . .

I'm often asked what type of smoke detectors should one have in the home, and what are the best types to warn me of a fire? My answer for many years has been, for the most part, it's a good idea just to have working smoke detectors, have them on each level of the home, change the battery when the clocks turn ahead or back that hour during Fall & Spring, and test them monthly. Actually I like it when the clocks are turned back in the Fall because there’s an extra hour of sleep. To me though, for many years, a smoke detector was a smoke detector. All smoke detectors are not the same. Did you know that?

Anyone that has read my blog here at TFPFP and followed me @FiremanRich on Twitter and read my tweets will see I'm a strong advocate of smoke detectors. With that, by providing the best information on smoke detectors/alarms only makes sense when it comes to the protection of life when ever possible.

There are basically two types of smoke detectors, that being the ionization smoke detectors and the photoelectric smoke detectors.

Ionization Smoke Detectors are devices that sound an alarm when smoke reduces the electric current within the unit. An ionization detector also picks up both visible and invisible particles from smoke and fire. This type of smoke detector is good for detecting quick burning fires.

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors are devices where there is a tiny beam of light within the unit. The alarm sounds when that beam becomes blocked by smoke particles. This type of smoke detector is good for detecting slow smoldering fires a lot faster.

There are also smoke detectors that that you can purchase that combine the methods used in both the ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors.

The right kind of smoke detector could save your life and the lives of your family.

In most home fires, a slow smoldering will release a little bit of smoke over hours. National fire statics will show that most fatal home fires happen between 8pm to 8 am and it’s not the fire that kills it’s the smoke produced by the fire that kills. It is important to have the best smoke detector protection to ensure you have the extra warning time for the time to get yourself and family out if need be to safety.

The following YouTube: “Different smoke detectors work with different fires” gives a very good look at the differences between Ionization and Photoelectric smoke detectors and the types of fires they can detect . . .

It’s a good idea to have the best protection you can have in the home.

If you already have the ionization type smoke detectors then increase your home protection by buying the photoelectric types and install them next to those ionization one. If you have the photoelectric types already in the home then buy and install the ionization ones in addition to the photoelectric type.

Now for me, my smoke detectors which are the ionization type are about 10 years old and will be replaced. Any home smoke detector should be replaced with new ones every ten years. With the age of my home smoke alarms I’ll be purchasing the ionization/photoelectric combination type smoke detectors to continue the protection of my family from fire in the home. Also, with the recently passed New York State law that was passed last month that every home will have CO2 Alarms in the home, I’ve purchased several CO2 detectors for my home too. Not because it’s the law but because it’s a good idea but most important it now gives my family the best home fire safety protection. It’s being “Fire Safety Wise.”

Smoke detectors, as well as CO2 detectors are our early warning system in the home to warn us of the deadly smoke & gases that are present during a fire. It is important that the battery in these detectors get changed out every six months with a new battery and that smoke alarms are checked/tested monthly.

Daylight Savings Time is upon us and with it the coming of the Spring. Lets spring into action, change out the batteries in our smoke & CO2 detectors. If you need new detectors then purchase new ones.

Time is of the essence when there’s a fire in the home. With total coverage of the home with working and tested combination ionization/photoelectric smoke detectors, as well as CO2 alarms you will have those extra minutes of warning to exit and get out of the home if there is a fire. Hopefully by practicing fire safety and following fire prevention practices you may never have a fire. Learn not to burn, be fire safe.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that about one-third of all residential smoke detectors in the United States do not work properly. To make sure you don't have one of those malfunctioning units, follow these useful tips:

· Test your detector - Experts recommend that you should run a test of every detector in your house anywhere from once a week to once a month. All units should have an easily-accessible test button.

· Check your batteries! - You should check your batteries every six months, and change them every year. A good rule of thumb is to check the batteries when you turn your clocks ahead in the spring, and then change the batteries when you turn your clocks back in the fall. If a battery is starting to lose its power, the unit will usually chirp to warn you.

· Don't ignore false alarms! - Smoke detectors don't just sound for no reason. If your unit seems to have more than its share of unfounded false alarms, replace it.

· Keep your detectors clean - At least once a year, vacuum or blow out any dust that might accumulate inside the unit and in the slats on the outside cover.

· NEVER borrow a battery - NEVER borrow a battery from an alarm to use somewhere else. You might forget to replace it, or the battery might get worn down faster from the other appliance.

· NEVER paint a smoke detector - Painting a unit can block the vents in the cover, preventing smoke from getting to the sensors.

· Replace your smoke detectors - Replace your smoke detectors every ten years.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; this is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

Friday, March 5, 2010

Electricity… Friend or Foe

One of the major causes of fatal home fires is electricity . . . short circuits, misuse and abuse of appliances and cords top the list. Most Americans would agree that life would be harder without the use of electricity to heat, cool and light our homes and businesses and to operate our appliances and tools. There are thousands of good uses for electricity, but with the danger of electrical fires ever present, everyone should take precautions and use it wisely.

-- Do not overload electrical outlets. It is safe to plug in only as many appliances as the outlet can take directly. Do not use adapters to plug in more. The current may not be able to handle the load. The wires will heat up, starting a fire.

-- Use only the correct size fuses in the fuse boxes. A 30 amp fuse in place of a 15 amp can start a fire. Never put a penny behind fuses to make them last longer.

-- Keep appliances and extension cords in good condition. Heat, old age and abuse can make cords frayed, worn or split. This causes short circuits and enough heat to start a fire. Damaged cords should be replaced, not repaired, unless by an electrician. Wrapping electrical tape around a cord may not repair it. Do not risk your family and your possessions to save the few dollars it would cost to buy a new cord.

-- Do not run cords under rugs where people walk, over nails or hooks, through doorways or windows. Do not put cord anywhere it might get smashed, cut or split. Once wires are exposed, it is a fire and shock hazard.

-- Keep appliances unplugged when not using. Remove by pulling on the plug, not the cord.

-- Keep hot electrical appliances and light bulbs away from things that can burn. Use only the correct size bulb. Too large a bulb may give off enough heat to start a fire.

-- Feel switch plates and outlets for heat. Contact a licensed electrician if a problem exists.
--Cover electrical outlets with plastic safety caps. Save children from disfiguring mouth burns; keep live extension cords out of their reach.

-- Buy appliances and cords with the UL) Underwriters Laboratory) or FM (Factory Mutual) label indicating they have been tested for safety.

--Leave air space around appliances such as stereos, televisions, microwaves, etc. to keep them cool.

-- Have an electrician rewire your home if it does not have sufficient outlets. The cost you spend will not be near what an electrical fire in your home would cost in money and lives.

(The usual disclaimers: I am not a journalist; this is a blog that expresses an outlook and is not conclusive in any shape or manner.)

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