Fire Safety and Prevention

At Home

  1. Smoke/ Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are up-to-date and in working order. Batteries should be replaced every six months, and the devices should be tested once a month, if not more often. You should also have a smoke detector on each floor and in each room.
  2. Floor Plan & Exit Strategy – Talk with your family about the quickest and safest routes to get out of the house, and have a planned location far enough from the house where everyone will meet.
  3. When Sleeping – Keep doors closed when sleeping to help stop a fire from spreading into your room. Use caution when opening your door if you expect a fire in your house, and test the door by feeling the doorknob. If it is hot to the touch, it may not be safe to open.
  4. If Trapped in a Room – If fire or heavy smoke is blocking the only door in the room, look to near by windows to escape. If you are too high up or the window is too small to climb through, use a sheet or pillow case to signal help.
  5. Account for Everyone – With a small sign on a front door or window, inform firefighters how many family members are in the house, and pets as well.

In the Workplace

  1. Make sure your workplace has the proper amount of fire extinguishers, properly labeled exits, and other necessary equipment and procedures required or recommended by the fire department. You should ask an expert at your local fire station to assess these items at your workplace.
  2. Practice good housekeeping at work. Clutter is not only often is the ignition for workplace fires, but can also hinder workers from exiting quickly in the event of a fire.
  3. Help to make sure your building is safe and secure. Report any suspicious behavior or trespassing. Arson is something that can be avoided at your workplace if everyone is mindful of their surroundings.
  4. Regularly check machinery and electrical devices at the workplace. Old or broken machines can overheat and start fires. Also make sure there aren’t any loose or deteriorating wires as these can give off sparks and start fires.
  5. Take fire-drills and procedures seriously. They are the best way to be prepared in the event of a real fire at the workplace.

In the Classroom

  1. Take the time to teach students about fire safety and prevention.  Make sure they know how a fire extinguisher works and how to best put out a fire.
  2. It is a good idea to have students group up (“Buddy System”) during fire drills and in the event of a fire.  This greatly helps teachers and classroom aids account for their students and ensure that no one is left behind.
  3. Make sure students AND faculty know where all fire prevention devices are located.  Extinguishers, fire blankets and emergency showers can all be essential in putting out and preventing classroom fires.
  4. Ask a professional to inspect your school to make sure it has the necessary equipment and to also look for faulty equipment or poorly placed materials that could ignite a fire.
  5. Schools are required to have several fire drills throughout the school year.  Make sure your child or student takes them seriously.  They are the best way to prepare for the real thing.

Fire Prevention Equipment:

Follow the tips below to make sure your equipment is up to date, installed correctly and functioning properly.

  1. Smoke Detectors – Smoke rises, so make sure that smoke detectors are mounted high up on walls or on the ceilings if possible.  They should be mounted on walls no closer than four inches to the ceiling and on ceilings no closer than four inches to the nearest wall.  Make sure they are not in the path of steam from showers or smoke from cooking that may sound false alarms.  There should be one on every floor as well as one in every bedroom.
  2. It is important to replace batteries in your smoke detector every six months and immediately when the “chirping” sound is made signifying the battery is low.  Life-spans on smoke detectors vary by protect, but you should replace your smoke detectors every eight to ten years.  The best smoke dectors to purchase are ones that have been tested in a lab.  Markings such as ETL, UL or CSA on the packaging and detector, itself will signify that the product is certified.
  3. Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Many of the same rules for smoke detectors apply for carbon monoxide detectors.  However, it is recommended that one be placed on every floor of the house (not necessarily EVERY bedroom, but at least one on floors where bedrooms are located).  Most carbon monoxide detectors plug in to an outlet, but try to purchase ones that have back-up battery options.  If there is a power-outage, you’ll want to make sure that your monoxide detectors can still pick-up large raises in the level of carbon monoxide in your home.
  4. These detectors are not used as often, but it is still very important to test them regularly and to make sure they are replaced if not working properly.
  5. Fire Extinguishers – Fire extinguishers need to be checked at least once a year to ensure there is the right about of material and pressure still in the capsule.  You can contact your local fire department for information on how you can have you extinguishers inspected, and most extinguishers can be refilled and re-used.  When storing your extinguisher, make sure that it is in a location that is out of reach of small children, but easily accessible if needed.  If mounted on a wall, make sure the hook is secured properly to the wall so that the extinguisher does not fall and burst.  If stored in a cupboard, make sure the space is at room temperature and not too hot or cold, but room temperature.
  6. Pay attention to the “type” of extinguisher you are purchasing.  Is it meant for Class “A” (ordinary combustibles), “B” (flammable liquids) or “C” (electrical equipment).  This is important so that you have the right type of extinguisher near locations where that type of fire my break out.  Whenever possible, purchase extinguishers that meet all three types of fires, or have A, B and C ratings written somewhere on the capsule

If you have any questions, or need more information, please feel free to contact the 48th Ward office by email to, or phone at 773-784-5277