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2020

Salado Creek apartment fire image (KSAT)

 

According to a recent survey by the American Red Cross, many people overestimate their ability to react to a home fire, and miss critical steps to keep their loved ones safe. In fact, survey findings showed that 40 per cent of people believe they are more likely to win the lottery or get struck by lightning than experience a home fire. So . . . how unlucky is it to be struck by lightning AND have a home fire?

 

That has been the case recently for families in Louisiana, Florida and Massachusetts. And in Texas, 14 adults and three children were displaced by an apartment fire that was sparked by lightning.  Home fires burn faster than ever before, so if lightning strikes and a fire is sparked, occupants could have as little as two minutes to escape. And while we can’t control storms and weather, we can take steps to safeguard our homes, and prepare our families to respond quickly in the event of a lightning storm or lightning fire.

 

Remember to:

  •      turn off computers;
  •      stay off corded phones (cell and cordless phones are OK), computers, and other things that put you in direct contact with electricity or plumbing;
  •      refrain from washing your hands, bathing, showering, doing laundry, or washing dishes;
  •      prepare and practice a home escape plan.

 

A lightning protection system (LPS) that follows the guidelines of the NFPA 780 safety standard, provides a network of low-resistance paths to safely intercept lightning’s destructive electricity and direct it to ground without impact to a structure or its occupants.

 

Check out the NFPA Lightning Safety Tip Sheet and a short video created by the Lightning Protection Institute (LPI). The video highlights the many ways lightning impacts communities and the economic toll it places on homes, businesses and infrastructure. 

For decades TV shows like The Jeffersons, Friends, and Will & Grace have shown the fun side of apartment living. In addition to fun neighbors and friends, there are certain things to remember when lots of people live in one place.  No matter what size of apartment building you live in, it is crucial to have working smoke alarms and an exit plan. If you haven’t already met with your landlord or building manager to learn about the fire safety features and plans in your building, it is important that you call right away.

 

Over the last few weeks, there has been an increase in apartment fires all over the country. Some large enough to displace over 50 people at a time.  With more people at home during the day, we have seen an uptick in the usual suspects- cooking, smoking, and electrical fires. In cases where causes have been identified, local fire departments have been pushing out safety messages through traditional news channels and social media. 

 

Check out our Fire Alarms in Apartment Building and High-rise Apartment safety tip sheets:

 

Large apartment buildings are built to keep people safe from fire. Fire alarms in apartment buildings detect smoke and fire to warn residents of dangers. Know the locations of all exit stairs from your floor. If the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke, you may have to use another exit.

 

People living in a high-rise apartment or condominium building need to think ahead and be prepared in the event of a fire. It is important to know the fire safety features in your building and work together with neighbors to help keep the building as fire safe as possible.

 

The US Fire Administration has Apartment Safety flyers in English and Spanish and social media cards:

 

Be Prepared: Create an escape plan. Discuss how you will get outside. Practice your plan.

 

Stay Calm: In the event of a fire, stay calm. Move to the exit as you have practiced. Call the fire department once you are outside.

 

Wait Outside for the Fire Department: Once you are outside, move away from the building. Give firefighters and fire trucks plenty of space.

 

As we all adjust to this new normal, we hope you will find innovative ways to make your community safe before a tragedy strikes. Then you will be “movin on up” safely.

Image Source: Snohomish County Fire District 7, Facebook

 

According to a Firefighter Nation article and other local news reports, a young girl in Monroe, Washington recently hid in a toy chest in response to a home fire. Fortunately, Snohomish County Fire District 7 firefighters found her in time to get her out safely. However, this incident underscores the fact that everyone - adults and children alike – needs to learn how to plan for a home fire so they can get out quickly and safely.

 

A home plan that’s been developed and practiced by all members of a household ensures that everyone has the skill-set and know-how to protect themselves in a fire situation. Even children as young as three and four years old can be empowered by these efforts to take swift, appropriate action.

 

Home escape planning and practice also helps parents and caregivers figure out in advance who they’re responsible for assisting in a fire situation, including young children, older adults and/or other household members who need assistance escaping safely. In absence of advance planning, people tend to make decisions that inhibit or even eliminate their ability to escape safely.

 

As the vast majority of people continue to stay at home during the current COVID-19 pandemic, this challenging time presents local fire departments and safety officials with a unique opportunity to encourage households to develop a home escape plan and practice it. Along with being a family activity that gets everyone working together, it’s an effort that has potentially life-saving impact. And where the risk of home fires remains higher while people continue to stay at home (and continue to do more cooking and heating, and use electrical equipment), being adequately prepared in the event of a home fire is more important than ever.

 

Families with young children are a particularly captive audience right now, as they work to keep everyone busy, engaged and learning – they’re actively seeking out games, activities and lesson plans. Take advantage of NFPA’s free educational resources, many of which can be easily shared with your communities on social media, emails, websites and other online platforms. Steps like these can prevent the dangerous actions people often take when they aren’t properly educated about what to do in fire situation.

Sparky practicing according to CDC guidance for proper social distancing behavior in Farmington Hills, Michigan

 

At the start of the “stay at home" orders in Rhode Island, my 81-year-old father continued his daily habit of going to his varied grocery stores to pick up his fruit and whatever was on sale that week. He’d call me from the store saying, “Can you believe Shaw’s is out of milk!?” to which I would reply, “This is not a game – stay home!”

 

Fire and life safety educators are often finding themselves banging their heads against the wall, wondering, “What will it take to get people to do what they are supposed to do?”  The fact is, driving behavior change is a complex process under the best and even most dire of circumstances.  Our daily behaviors are rooted in and derived from the interplay of attitudes, beliefs, access to resources, socioeconomics, geography, and cultural norms. Changing behavior, even when motivated to do so, is hard because behaviors are ingrained into our daily lives, have an emotional component (we like our comfort zones), a physical and/or social environmental component, and generally require some form of support to get started.

 

At this time when people are being asked to double-down on their COVID-19 mitigation efforts, fire and life safety educators are maneuvering through emergency response, code compliance and getting their residents to adopt critically important behaviors for disease and home fire prevention.  As part of their efforts, providing accurate and timely information is essential, especially in times of crisis management. 

 

Information alone, however, does not equal action.  To support behavior change we must also address people’s perceptions of their personal risk.  Consider those who will admit to having read and/or sent a text while driving.  Most will tell you they know that texting and driving increases the risk of a car crash.  What they often perceive however, is that the risk is increased for the other driver, not for themselves.  People overestimate their perceptions of their driving skills, visual acuity, reflexes, and underestimate the time their eyes off the road making it easier for them to justify what is widely evidenced as risky behavior. 

 

Getting individuals to make change is the cornerstone of our work and involves engaging people as they conduct their own cost-benefit analysis when making decisions.   It’s the classic “There’s not too much traffic, and I am a good multi-tasker, so I can text while I drive,” conversation that is going on, even subconsciously, in people’s brains, that we find ourselves pushing against and prompting them to reconsider their belief system.   

 

Another factor in behavior change is what is widely accepted as the three elements needed to move individuals through change.  Regardless of what behavior change model you use, most agree that critical to behavior change are:

 

  • A motivator: a reason to do a behavior
  • An enabler: help, support, resources to adopt the behavior
  • A reward: a benefit to doing/maintaining the behavior

 

It’s not enough to tell people to keep 6 feet apart, or that they need working smoke alarms and an escape plan.  We need to provide people with valid reasons to do it that they can latch onto. Asking people to prevent infection not just for themselves, but for the elders in their life, their healthcare workforce and their first responders is one way we’ve seen public health education efforts motivate people.   

 

The amazing work being done by our school and community educators in providing digital learning opportunities, and in local businesses providing free delivery services, are examples of providing resources and support, enabling people to stay home and stay connected. 

 

Tom Malcolm, chief & EMA director (left) and Matthew Farrington, 2nd chief (right) of the Millonocket, Maine Fire Department use persuasive language and visuals to prevent the spread of COVID-19

 

The reward?  Well, that’s the tricky part. It’s hard to accept a reward for something that doesn’t happen, making “not getting sick” or “not having a home fire” a non-tangible. That’s why so many programs have incentives built in. Yes, people should do things for the right reasons, but getting people to change behavior means sweetening the pot sometimes. Kudos to the Coppell, Texas Fire Department for putting together bags of fire safety education materials to deliver to their residents as both encouragement for home safety and a thank you for doing their part. 

 

Whether dealing with emergency issues or our constant struggle to get people to adopt proactive fire and life safety behaviors, it’s important that we go beyond information and consider how we are motivating, enabling and rewarding our community members.  Consider how you will use your information and communication channels.   Create the conversation in your social media posts, shape the perception of risk using local data, appeal to the values of your residents through local partnerships (note – the messenger is just as important as the message), and reward and thank your community members for doing their part.  

 

My sincere thanks to all of you out there doing amazing work every day for the benefit of your community.  For resources to support your fire & life safety education efforts, go to www.nfpa.org/education and stay on top of NFPA’s COVID-19 efforts at www.nfpa.org/coronavirus

 

Follow us on Twitter @Sparky_Fire_Dog, on Facebook at Sparky the Fire Dog and on Instagram @nfpadotorg to keep up with the latest.

                              

                                                               (No, these are not marshmallows)

 

As a public-education specialist, I am confronted daily with home fires. My passion for public education is driven by the knowledge that information and education can dramatically impact whether people make safe choices. One fire in 2015 stands out in my mind; the headline read “Toddler Rescued by Dad in House Fire Dies After Following Him Back Inside”. Two reasons: my younger son was the same age at the time; and the cause of the fire was an unattended candle used during a power outage caused by a storm.

 

NFPA has urged people for a VERY long time to practice safe candle use, and to consider battery-powered options in lieu of open-flame candles. And for good reason!  On average, 22 home candle fires are reported each day, and three of every five (60 percent) home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle.

 

So, if you do burn candles, make sure that you . . .

  • blow out all candles when you leave the room (and that means the house too) or go to bed
  • avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep
  • keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimetres) away from anything that can burn
  • use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily
  • put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface
  • light candles carefully – keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame
  • put out the candle before it burns all the way down – before it gets too close to the holder or container
  • do not use candles if oxygen is used in the home
  • please . . . have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage; never use candles.

 

Share NFPA’s candle tip sheet and visit our public education page on candle safety for more information.

 

At this time, the world continues to be significantly impacted by COVID-19 and we no longer believe it is possible to host and conduct the NFPA Conference and Expo in June. NFPA is a safety organization and we would not hold an event where the well-being of staff, attendees, and business partners could be compromised in any way.

 


(See Jim Pauley’s full statement on the cancellation of the 2020 NFPA Conference & Expo in the video above.)

 

There are some activities that occur at the event, in particular the Association’s Annual Meeting and the election of directors to the Board, as well as the codes and standards technical meeting that NFPA will handle in a remote manner. More information on these activities will be forthcoming and will be posted on the website.

 

You can find additional information about the cancellation, by visiting our conference website.

 

Our annual conference is a very important event for us, as it is important for all of you who participate. While we are disappointed we will not be meeting in person this year, we do look forward to celebrating the 125th anniversary of NFPA as an association with you at the 2021 NFPA Conference & Expo, which will be held the week of June 21, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

Stay safe during this unprecedented time. Thank you for the work you all do.

 

 

As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our website.

 

 

home fire sprinkler week

 

As the world continues to deal with the ongoing demands of COVID-19, NFPA and the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) have cancelled live events that week in favor of a North America wide virtual effort to show the value of home fire sprinklers from May 17-23.

 

Initiated three years ago, Home Fire Sprinkler Week aims to unite the fire service around a full week of sprinkler education. The goal is to increase awareness of the problem of home fires and build interest in life-saving home fire sprinklers.

 

The first two years we conducted national media events and fire departments in more than 30 states and Canadian Provinces participated. Most conducted live events as the centerpiece of their local campaign, especially public side-by-side demonstrations showing how fast a home fire grows and how quickly a fire sprinkler controls it.

 

But life is very different today with the fire service at the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. And most states have been on lockdown for weeks now, making public educational events impossible. Our intent is to garner as much if not more attention as we have the last couple of years with Home Fire Sprinkler Week virtual.

 

We are also partnering with Firehouse Magazine to present a Facebook live event featuring U.S. Fire Administrator Chief Keith Bryant, IAFC President Chief Gary Ludwig,and NFPA President Jim Pauley. So mark your calendars for May 20at11a.m. ET. Join and share our Facebook Live event with your followers.

 

To simplify this transition to virtual, we created digital resources designed to educate and inspire through your website traffic and social media. This is an opportunity to educate with appropriate social distance. Across the U.S. and Canada, the fire service will bring together their digital voices and safely spread the word about the life saving benefits of home fire sprinklers.

 

The campaign is simple. Start at the HFSC website. Then:

  • Use the theme and suggested content for Monday through Friday during campaign week
  • Choose a video or graphic or both each day
  • Post the information on your website, Facebook, Twitter, or on all of your social media platforms

 

Based on news coverage and information from various areas, we’ve found that quarantine has led directly to more home cooking fires. That’s not a surprise but it’s a troubling trend and underscores the need to increase the number of new homes with sprinklers. Our homes are where we are supposed to feel safe, including being safe from fire.

 

Home fire sprinklers are simply the best bet to protect civilians and responders from fire. Let’s flood the Internet with facts about home fire sprinklers the week of May 17 – 23.

 

In addition to the HFSC website, you can visit the Fire Sprinkler Initiative for more information.

 

As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our website.

 

As the public largely remains at home in response to COVID-19, NFPA is urging everyone to use added caution around home fire safety.

 

Cooking, heating, and electrical equipment are among the leading causes of home fires each year. As people continue to stay at home and engage in these activities, it’s critical that they recognize where potential hazards exist and what can be done to prevent them.

 

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and is responsible for nearly half (49 percent) of all reported home fires involving cooking equipment. Moreover, unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires, meaning that home cooking fires occur most often when people aren’t keeping a close eye on what they’re cooking.

 

As many households are now dealing with unusual routines and out-of-the-ordinary circumstances, such as kids home from school and parents working from home, there’s greater potential for distracted cooking.

 

NFPA statistic show that heating equipment is the second-leading cause of home fires, resulting in an average of 52,050 home fires each year. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment is involved in an annual average of 35,100 home fires.

 

For much of the country, heating systems are still in use and in many cases, for more hours than usual. In addition, with everyone at home, people may be using the same outlets to charge phones, laptops and other digital equipment, which also presents a fire hazard.

 

With these concerns in mind, NFPA reminds the public to use best practices for staying fire-safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond:

 

Cooking

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, boiling, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
  • Make sure all handles are turned inward, away from where someone can grab a hot handle or tip a pan over.
  • Be on alert. If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, refrain from using the stove or stovetop.
  • If you have young children in your home, create a “kid-free zone” of at least 3 feet (1 meter) around the stove and areas where hot food or drink is prepared or carried.

 

Heating

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three-feet (one meter) away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot (one meter) “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning. If you smell gas in your gas heater, do not light the appliance. Leave the home immediately and call your local fire department or gas company.

 

Electrical

  • When charging smartphones and other digital devices, only use the charging cord that came with the device.
  • Do not charge a device under your pillow, on your bed or on a couch.
  • Only use one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, etc.) plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time.
  • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, microwave ovens, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet. Extension cords and plug strips should not be used.
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets. Extension cords are intended for temporary use.
  • Use a light bulb with the right number of watts. There should be a sticker that indicates the right number of watts.

 

In addition, smoke alarms should be located on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and near all sleeping areas. Test them monthly to make sure they’re working. NFPA also strongly encourages households develop and practice a home escape plan to ensure that everyone knows what to do in a fire and can escape quickly and safely.

 

For a wealth of NFPA resources and information on home fire safety, visit www.nfpa.org/Public-Education.

It’s a statistic that perhaps hadn’t been factored into pandemic planning: an increase in fires caused by people who are at staying home – cooking, and smoking, while isolating.

 

In Toronto, Canada’s most populous city with almost 3 million residents, there have been 17 per cent more fires this year than for the same period last year, many in the last several weeks.

 

“Unattended cooking and careless smoking are the leading causes,” tweeted Matt Pegg, Toronto’s fire chief and general manager of emergency management, on April 13.

 

In North America, smoking materials are a leading cause of home fires, and fire fatalities. Now, with daily routines disrupted – staying up later at night, for example – it’s critical to be ultra cautious.

 

@Toronto_Fire is tweeting NFPA's safety messages to its more than 29,000 followers, and has upped its fire-safety messaging through all types of media.

 

 

To be safe, NFPA recommends that smokers smoke outside, and follow these guidelines:

 

  • To prevent a smoking-related fire you must be alert. You will not be alert if you are sleepy, have taken medicine or drugs that make you drowsy, or have consumed alcohol.
  • Never smoke in bed.
  • Never smoke where medical oxygen is used.
  • Use deep, sturdy ashtrays, or a metal can or pail. Place the ashtray or metal can or pail away from anything that can burn.
  • Do not throw out cigarettes into vegetation or other material that can easily catch fire, such as potted plants, peat moss or landscaping, dried grass, mulch, or leaves.
  • Never empty smoking materials directly into a trash can. Before you throw out butts and ashes, make sure they have been extinguished. Put them out in water or sand.
  • Keep smoking materials out of reach of children.
  • Fires have occurred while vaping products – including electronic cigarettes – were being used, the battery was being charged, or the device was being transported. Never leave charging e-cigarettes unattended.

 

NFPA offers safety tip sheets on myriad topics that can guide folks who are working and learning from home. Visit www.nfpa.org/public-education. Follow us on Twitter at @nfpa, @Sparky_Fire_Dog and, in Canada, @LauraKingNFPA.

 

 

 

 

We have heard the phrase “unprecedented times” more in the last few weeks than ever before. Uncertainty and unpredictable events bring about unfamiliar situations with unusual responses. Everyone wants to help, and to keep their families safe, but sometimes those objectives lead to unwittingly dangerous situations.

 

Here are some guidelines to follow to ensure your own safety, and that of others, as we navigate new ways to protect ourselves and those around us.

 

  •      Hand sanitizerAlcohol-based hand sanitizer effectively kills most germs carried on the hands. It also contains ethyl alcohol, which readily evaporates at room temperature into an ignitable vapor and is considered a flammable liquid. To minimize the risk of fire, applied hand sanitizer must be rubbed into hands until dry, which indicates that the flammable alcohol has evaporated. Hand sanitizer containers and refills should be stored away from children, and away heat sources or open flames.
  •      Gasoline – With prices exceptionally low, people are filling up and storing gas. Be sure to use containers that are intended for gasoline storage that allow for the liquid to expand and contract. Gasoline containers need to be placed on the ground when filling. Flowing gas entering the container can create static electricity. The gas dispenser nozzle can create a spark and ignite the gas vapors. The correct way to fill a gas can is to remove the gas can from your car or truck and place it on the ground about five feet from your vehicle.
  •      Masks – Many different kinds of masks are being worn to help slow the spread of COVID-19. While homemade cloth masks may be washed following the Centers for Disease Control recommendations, other masks such as the N95 or disposable surgical masks cannot be thoroughly disinfected without jeopardizing the integrity of the mask (although researchers are working on protocols for this). Always refer to manufacturer’s guidelines when available, or refer to the CDC recommendations on these types of masks. Never place a mask in the microwave; metal fixtures may melt or spark, and fabric is flammable.

 

Visit NFPA’s COVID-19 page to find up-to-date information and resources.

Not everyone has the luxury of working from home in these weeks of restrictions. And that means kids old enough to stay alone or to mind younger siblings may be tasked to make lunches, prep dinners, and be responsible for safety.

 

While YouTube can teach a pre-teen to create a healthy, Insta-worthy dinner for work-weary family members, cooking safety is as important as on-hand ingredients and deliciousness.

 

NFPA recommends that parents or caregivers take time to review overall safety measures with kids who are at home on their own or with siblings, and ensure they understand how much responsibility they can handle.

 

A helpful lesson, Home Fire Safety – Teens Who Care for Themselves and Others in the Home,

provides core behaviours for families to cover:

  • Have a home escape plan and an outside meeting place
  • Know the sound of the smoke alarm is a signal to get out of the house
  • Be able to unlock all doors and windows that could be used as emergency exits
  • Use the stove or microwave only if you have been taught how
  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking
  • Keep anything that can burn away from the stove
  • If cooking on the stove keep a lid nearby; if a pan catches fire, slide the lid over the pan to put the fire out and turn off the burner
  • If younger children are in the home, keep them at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from the stove, oven or microwave
  • Know how and when to get help; have access to a phone and know how to call 911
  • Do not use matches or lighters; keep them away from young children.
  • If you get burned while cooking, run the burn under cool water for 3 to 5 minutes. Call an adult to let them know what happened so they can determine if medical attention is needed.

 

Parents should emphasize that if there’s a fire, the responsible teen has one job: to get him/herself and other children out of the home and to safety, then call the fire department.

 

NFPA offers safety tip sheets on myriad topics that can guide folks who are working and learning from home. Visit www.nfpa.org/public-education. Follow us on Twitter at @nfpa, @Sparky_Fire_Dog and, in Canada, @LauraKingNFPA.

 

 

 

During the spread of COVID-19, people are doing what they can to disinfect and keep their homes clean. Limited availability of particular products may lead people to concoct their own cleaning solutions, and unknowingly create serious health risks.

 

It is important to follow instructions on the labels of cleaning products, and not to mix products; doing so can lead to the production of dangerous combinations of liquids and gases.

 

Consumers should also ensure safe storage of household cleaning products; keep them in their intended containers and never place combustible products near a heat source.

 

Be aware:

Bleach + rubbing alcohol = chloroform.

Highly toxic.  May lead to dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness and even death

 

Bleach + ammonia = chloramine.

May lead to shortness of breath and chest pain.

 

Hydrogen peroxide + vinegar = peracetic/peroxyacetic acid.

Highly corrosive.  May lead to irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

 

Bleach + vinegar = chlorine gas.

May lead to coughing, breathing problems, burning and watery eyes. (Chlorine gas and water also combine to make hydrochloric and hypochlorous acid which may lead to irritation of nose/throat and respiratory system).

 

Visit USFA for a downloadable tip sheet on the dangers of mixing household chemicals, and click here for more NFPA resources around the COVID19 pandemic.

 

With the pandemic, road trips have come to screeching halt. In these trying times, people are getting creative with how to use their vacation home with wheels. Healthcare workers are looking for alternative places to stay during the COVID-19 crisis so they don’t expose their families to the virus. Strangers with RVs are lending their vehicles through an initiative on Facebook called RVs for MDs.

This a wonderful example of people stepping up to help others, unfortunately, tragedy can strike if we don’t pay attention to fire safety during these historical times. Before loaning out your vehicle, make sure this home away from home will be safe.

 

These tips also apply to people using motor homes to quarantine.

  • Install smoke alarms. Make sure they work.
  • Occupants should stay in the kitchen while you cook. Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stovetop.
  • Only use one heat-producing appliance plugged into a receptacle outlet at a time. Major appliances should be plugged directly into a wall receptacle outlet.
  • Refrigerators, furnaces, ovens and stovetops use propane. Check them for leaks. Keep an updated gas leak detector on board.
  • Have propane system inspected to make sure it still works properly.
  • Know two ways out. Make sure windows open easily
  • Do not keep camping heaters and lanterns on while sleeping.
  • Have your vehicle serviced by a qualified mechanic.
  • Keep a portable fire extinguisher on board. Only adults who know how to operate it should use it. Only use it if the fire is small and can be contained.

Until we are all hitting the road again, use our safety tip sheet to help protect “campers” during the pandemic.

electrical safety

During the last few weeks, amid the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of working professionals and students alike have left their offices and classrooms to continue their work from home. This means more family members are now online, watching television, and using appliances all at once, and for longer periods of time.

 

This new approach to working, while keeping us safer from the virus, also presents challenges related to electrical systems in houses and apartments. To help reduce your risk of electrical fires as you work from home, NFPA recommends the following actions:

  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they are can get damaged.
  • Never put more than one plug in each receptacle. An outlet may have one or more receptacles – one to receive each plug.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
  • Light bulbs in the living area of your home should have a shade or globe for protection. Light bulbs can get very hot and cause a fire if something that can burn is too close to the bulb.
  • Heat-producing appliances such as a toaster, coffee maker, iron, or microwave draw a lot of electricity. Plug only one heat-producing appliance in each outlet to prevent wiring from overheating.

Even during this time of social distancing, electricians are still working and considered essential businesses in every state that has issued a shelter-in-place order. It’s critical that you call your utility company or qualified electrician immediately if you experience any of the following:

 

  • Frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
  • A tingling feeling when you touch an electrical appliance
  • Discolored or warm wall outlets
  • A burning or rubbery smell coming from an appliance
  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Sparks from an outlet

 

Keeping a watchful eye on our surroundings can go a long way to helping reduce the risk of possible injury and damage from fire. For more information on electrical safety in the home, please visit NFPA’s electrical safety webpage.

 

 

As all of us continue to navigate the evolving situation with COVID-19, NFPA remains committed to supporting you with the resources you need to minimize risk and help prevent loss, injuries, and death from fire, electrical, and other hazards. For information on NFPA’s response to the coronavirus, please visit our webpage.

 

 

With Covid-19 dominating the headlines, there have been some surprising trends below the surface. One of those is the buy out of chicks across the United States. According to a recent New York Times article, for the next few weeks, baby chickens will be nearly impossible to find. Each spring, feed stores and farm supply stores stock baby chicks around Easter. This year, families are purchasing chicks to set up their own supply chain for eggs. With lines around the corner at feed stores, here are a few safety tips to keep in mind if you are planning to build a chicken coop or already have one:

 

  • Make sure that heat lamps are properly secured to keep them from being knocked over
  • Keep heat lamps at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Place space heaters on a sturdy surface so they won’t be knocked over and keep them at least three feet away from anything that can burn.
  • Regularly brush cobwebs and dust from light fixtures and outlets.
  • Choose light bulbs that have covers to protect them from dirt, moisture, and breaking.
  • Do not use extension cords in the coop.
  • Choose electrical equipment designed for agricultural or commercial use.
  • Be careful with electrically heated poultry waterers. Make sure the cord and plug are properly grounded.
  • Check all wiring for damage.
  • Have electrical work done by a qualified electrician
  • Choose outlets and switch boxes designed to keep out dust and water.

 

Download NFPA’s safety tip sheet for these and other tips to help protect your family, your property and your flock from the tragedy of fire.

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