emergency preparedness

In the event of an emergency….

In the event of a sudden emergency such as a hurricane, you may have just minutes to gather your family and important papers, and get out of your house, possibly for good. Are you prepared? Where would you go? What would you take with you?

If you only had 10 minutes to evacuate your home, would you be ready? What would you take with you? See how two families deal with an evacuation order, and what a difference having a plan can make.

Ready your Family Emergency Plan

Prepare an effective evacuation plan

October 2013 Monthly Memo: Fire Prevention Week/Fire Safety

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How Fire Safety savvy are you

Fires cause an estimated 3,500 deaths and nearly $4 billion in property damage in the United States annually — much more than hurricanes, tornadoes or floods. Yet many people ignore common fire hazards in the home and don’t prepare themselves or family members for this more common catastrophe. Set aside some time and effort to protect your home from a devastating blaze with these safety tips.

In this fun, animated video, Rover the Home Safety Hound and Freddie Flashlight teach children to stay away from things at home that might cause fire and burns.

 

This segment from NBC’s TODAY Show may surprise some parents, as it shows how kids can sleep right through the sound of a smoke alarm.

This video done by the NIST shows a VERY DRY Christmas tree on fire in a room. It takes a little over 30 seconds for the room to flashover. Keep your tree watered. Once it ignites (short circuit of a strand of lights, direct flame, etc) it will become a fully developed fire very fast and extend to the rest of the structure very quickly.

Home Fire Prevention and Safety Tips          *         Fire Safety for Children

 

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Fire Resources - a page of links and resources on these topics

  • Smoke Alarms 
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Escape Plans (details/sample plan)
  • Chimney fires
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Halloween Fire Safety
  • Household appliances
  • Cook Up a Safe Place
  • Buffer Home Heaters
  • Holiday Fire Safety
  • Personal Property 

Fire Safety- don’t let your holiday go up in flames, literally!

Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage. http://ow.ly/oUwsq

 

This video done by the NIST shows a VERY DRY Christmas tree on fire in a room. It takes a little over 30 seconds for the room to flashover. Keep your tree watered. Once it ignites (short circuit of a strand of lights, direct flame, etc) it will become a fully developed fire very fast and extend to the rest of the structure very quickly.

Set aside some time and effort to protect your home from a devastating blaze with some safety tips

Fires cause an estimated 3,500 deaths and nearly $4 billion in property damage in the United States annually — much more than hurricanes, tornadoes or floods. Yet many people ignore common fire hazards in the home and don’t prepare themselves or family members for this more common catastrophe.

Buffer Home Heaters

  • Most home fires are started by home heating equipment. Use caution and common sense when using propane, electric or other home heating equipment.
  • Keep flammables, such as drapes and furniture, away from space and portable heaters.
  • Hire a certified chimney sweep to regularly clean and inspect the chimney.
  • Inspect heating equipment regularly for proper design, installation and operation.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions when installing and filling liquid- and gas-fueled heaters.
  • Never leave auxiliary heating equipment unattended.

 

Household Appliances- Household appliances are another common cause of fires. Many people feel invulnerable from electrical fire hazards, thinking the rules don’t apply to them. Don’t make the same mistake and instead connect with these warnings:

  • Don’t overload wall outlets.
  • Don’t use fuses rated too high for your home’s circuits.
  • Don’t use frayed electrical cords.
  • Don’t run extension cords under rugs or furniture.

 

Cook Up a Safe Place-  Most home fires start in the kitchen. To protect your home and family:

  • Keep the stove clean and free of grease.
  • Keep the handles of pots and pans turned inward.
  • Keep all flammable material (including shirt sleeves) away from burners. 
  • Keep a fire extinguisher rated for grease fires nearby. • Never store flammable liquids in the kitchen.
  • Never leave cooking unattended.

 

Protecting Possessions

  • While prevention is the best protection against fires, precautions can be taken to protect possessions. A fire resistant safe or filing cabinet can help protect important documents like deeds, mortgages, titles for cars and birth certificates. Computer disks, home videos and family photographs can also be kept safe this way — if you’re using a safe specifically designed for such heat-sensitive items.
  • For added protection, make duplicates and store the copies away from home in a secure location.
  • And be sure to have Identity Theft protection to provide protection after a disaster when looting is a frequent problem.

A house fire is traumatic enough.  Not having a good record of your belongings can only add to the misery.  Keeping a home inventory of the items you have and their values will help you when the rebuilding starts.  There are free downloads available from the Insurance Information Institute to serve as a guide to homeowners in order to have record after a loss.

A few simple steps can help when taking inventory: Don’t put it off.  Start with new items and their value, and then try to remember older items.  An incomplete inventory is better than nothing at all. Use your camera.  Take pictures or video of your home and write down descriptions to go with it. Keep it safe.  Be sure to keep the inventory in a secure place, such as a fire box or safe deposit box.

Free inventory software

October is Fire Safety Month- Smoke Alarms and Fire Escape Plans SAVE LIVES

 In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared.

 

Smoke alarms are required by your insurance. Since most fires start between midnight and 4 a.m., the key to survival is being awake and alert.

Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. They are a critical first step for staying safe, but in order to be effective, they have to be working properly.

For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home and in every sleeping area.

  • Install at least one smoke detector on each floor and one near each bedroom area.
  • Check detectors regularly to make sure they are working.
  • Change the batteries twice each year. An easy way to remember is to put in fresh batteries when you change the clocks in the spring and fall.
  • You can increase your chances of survival by creating a home escape plan and rehearsing it regularly. An escape plan should include multiple routes for leaving the home quickly with a designated spot for family members to meet.

This segment from NBC’s TODAY Show may surprise some parents, as it shows how kids can sleep right through the sound of a smoke alarm.

 

Carbon Monoxide

Fuel-powered devices can provide wonderful benefits to families when used properly. But they also underscore an important necessity in the home: the need for a carbon monoxide alarm.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or cars left running in garages. At its worst, carbon monoxide can cause severe side effects or even death.

Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide because of their smaller bodies. Children process carbon monoxide differently than adults, may be more severely affected by it, and may show signs of poisoning sooner.  Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea and drowsiness.

Fire Escape Plan

Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.

  • Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of your house in case of a fire.
  • Get a stopwatch and time how fast your family can escape. The kids will love it.
  • As part of your plan, designate one person to get infants and small children out safely.
  • Have a back-up plan for young children just in case the primary person is overcome by smoke.
  • Smoke is toxic. Teach children to “get low and go” if there is smoke when they are leaving the home.
  • Practice feeling the door, doorknob and cracks around the door with the back of your hand to see if they are too hot. Help your children practice this step.
  • Choose a place to meet outside that is a safe distance away from your home.

More Fire Safety Tips

September is Disaster Prepareness Month

If you only had 10 minutes to evacuate your home, would you be ready? What would you take with you? See how two families deal with an evacuation order, and what a difference having a plan can make. http://ow.ly/o5QSs

Ready your Family Emergency Plan…. http://ow.ly/o5TeB

In the event of a sudden emergency such as a hurricane, you may have just minutes to gather your family and important papers, and get out of your house, possibly for good. Are you prepared? Where would you go? What would you take with you? http://ow.ly/o5RQr

Sesame Workshop, along with its project partners has created Let’s Get Ready! Planning Together for Emergencies with tips, activities, and other easy tools to help the whole family prepare for emergencies – together! http://ow.ly/o5Siv

Build a kit for disasters and emergencies! (and don’t forget to update/refresh it) http://ow.ly/o5SFf

A Disaster Supply Kit should contain the following:

  • Water – at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
  • Food – at least enough for 3 to 7 days- Non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices, foods for infants or the elderly, snack foods, non-electric can opener, cooking utensils / fuel, paper plates, plastic utensils
  • Blankets / Pillows, etc.
  • Clothing – seasonal, rain gear, sturdy shoes
  • Medical supplies – first aid kit, medicines, prescription drugs
  • Special Items – for infants and the elderly
  • Toiletries – hygiene items
  • Moisture wipes
  • Flashlight – extra batteries
  • Radio – battery-operated and NOAA weather radio
  • Cash – (Banks and ATMs may not be open or available for extended periods.)
  • Important documents – in a waterproof container- Insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, social security card, etc
  • Keys
  • Toys, books and games
  • Tools -  keep a set with you during the storm
  • Vehicle fuel tanks filled
  • Pet care items- Proper identification, immunization records, ample supply of food and water, a carrier or cage, medications, muzzle and leash.

Visit www.Ready.gov, and www.fema.gov/what-mitigation/plan-prepare for  a thorough look into disaster preparedness  and a more detailed list of emergency supplies. Also, www.Ready.gov/kids is an excellent  resource for information on how to involve children in the process of  assembling the family’s Disaster Supply Kit.