Tag Archives: Fire Safety

October is Fire Prevention Awareness Month

The unfortunate events of last week couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment such as this — the start of ‘Fire Prevention Awareness Month.’


Our marketing professional for the Reno Agency had a fire start in her oven due to one of her children placing a plastic dinosaur toy inside it without her knowledge. Come dinner time, when she turned on her oven to pre-heat, that toy dinosaur started a fire.


Would you know what to do in that situation with flames blazing inside the oven? Find out here.


Quick thinking kept her house from damage. When the fire continued to grow, she turned off the oven, kept the oven door closed to prevent oxygen from entering and fueling the fire, got her two young children and dogs to safety, and she called the fire department. Thankfully, by the time the fire fighters arrived, the fire had extinguished itself inside the oven and did not spread anywhere else. You don’t think these things will happen to you, but fires don’t discriminate against anyone.


If you have young children in the house, they don’t necessarily know the implications of their actions so it is important to educate them about fire safety once they become interested in fire. The NFPA provides a helpful tip sheet about addressing fire interest in children here.


Fire Safety Equipment


Two key items are ESSENTIAL in your home that can save your life in the event of a fire:

1. Working smoke alarms

Smoke alarms are more times than not your first warning to a fire in the home. Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in reported home fires by half. This is why it’s so important to test your smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are operational. For more information about smoke alarms, what types are the best to use, how to maintain, etc., visit the National Fire Protection Association’s website.

2. Fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are great to have to put out small fires or to keep a larger fire from spreading until the fire department arrives. However, with that said, the most important thing to remember is your safety. So if the fire is getting out of control, or the room is filling with smoke, get out of the house quickly!

Did you know there are different types of fire extinguishers that battle different types of fires? Here is a list of the different codes to help you understand what type of extinguisher is best for your home or business.

Fire Classes


If you are using a fire extinguisher to put out a fire, remember the word P-A-S-S.

P – Pull out the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointed away from you, and release the locking mechanism.

A – Aim low. Point the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire.

S – Squeeze the level slowly and evenly.

S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side.


Develop a Fire Escape Plan and Practice!


Only one of every three American households have developed and practiced a fire escape plan. Do you remember all those fire drills you did back in school or at work? You hold fire drills so everyone knows what to do in the event of a fire and so they can act quickly. Fires spread quickly and oftentimes, you have less than 6 minutes to escape your home before a fire becomes life-threatening, according to the National Fire Protection Association website.


So I encourage you to develop a fire escape plan, kind of like the ones you see on the doors of hotel rooms, and practice it with your family. I suggest that everyone know of two ways out of every room in case one exit is blocked. If you need help designing a fire escape plan, start here.

What You Need to Know About Fireplace Safety

Recently, my friend’s mom was evacuated from her home in the early morning hours after her house caught fire causing extensive damage throughout the home.

The cause? Her fireplace.

During the cold winter months, while we all enjoy the idea of snuggling by the fire, sipping coffee or warm hot cocoa, this thing of comfort can also bring about many dangers. Here are some tips anyone with a fireplace should know so you can enjoy your fireplace safely:

1. Have a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) Certified Chimney Sweep perform an annual inspection of your fireplace. The Chimney Sweep will do a thorough clean of all the creosote that has built up throughout the year and make any recommendations for repairs. Creosote is one of the main causes of chimney fires due to its highly combustible properties.

Locate a nearby CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep here.

2. Keep newspapers and other flammable objects away from the hearth and firebox where ash and sparks could land. See the diagram to the lower right to locate these areas.

3. Always make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed and before closing the damper. If the coals are still hot and you close the damper, there is a chance the fire could start up again causing smoke to fill your home.

4. Make sure air dampers and flues are well maintained on a regular basis.

5. Keep a fire extinguisher near the fireplace.

6. Make sure smoke alarms are placed throughout the home on every level, especially near sleeping and cooking areas. Make sure the batteries are changed frequently, and replace the smoke alarm every 10 years.

The U.S. Fire Administration launched the Install. Inspect. Protect. Campaign, encouraging people to install and maintain smoke alarms and sprinklers, practice fire escape plans, and perform a home safety walk-through. Do your part to get out, before firefighters have to come in! Visit www.usfa.dhs.gov/smokealarms or call the USFA Publications Office at (800) 561-3356.

7. For the exterior of the home, remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues, or vents.

For more great information about how to properly start a fire, what tools to use, selecting the right wood to burn, and the types of fireplaces available, visit the U.S. Fire Administration’s website.

Fire Protection Tips for Businesses and Residents

As the weather gets colder, it’s likely that we’ll turn up our heat and brace ourselves for the winter ahead. But because the use of heating systems increases during the cold weather months, so does the frequency of residential and business fires. In fact, more than 50,000 heating fires in residential buildings occur each year in the United States, a majority of which happen from November through March, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

It is important that business owners and homeowners alike prepare their employees and families for potential fires, and practice important prevention habits. Grange Insurance, a Columbus, Ohio-based insurance company, offers advice on how to play it safe when it comes to fire.

1. Make sure you’re covered.

Homeowners, renters and business owners should ensure they have the proper insurance coverage in place in case of a fire. Most policies cover fire damage to residences or businesses, as well as personal belongings, but may have some limitations. In addition, most commercial insurance will protect business owners from liability if an employee is injured or loss of life occurs during a fire.

“Review your policy to ensure your personal property is covered, especially expensive items such as machinery or jewelry. It’s also important to understand whether or not your policy provides additional living expense coverage, which can help pay for you to stay in a hotel or temporary housing while your home is rebuilt or repaired,” said Ken Kozek, Vice President of Claims at Grange Insurance. “If you do not already have a homeowner, condo or renter’s policy in place, consider investing in one. As a business owner, it is imperative that you have a proper policy to protect against liability and property damage or loss.”

2. Practice makes perfect.

It only takes minutes for a house or business to become engulfed in flames, making a planned escape route a necessity. Plan an escape route and post it where everyone can easily find it. Practice your route at least twice per year at different times during the day, especially with children or people with disabilities.

Designate a meeting spot a safe distance from your home or business, such as a tree across the street, so you can assure everyone made it out safely. Alert the fire

department if someone is missing or if pets are trapped so they can perform a rescue safely.

3. Fire-proof your home or business.

Stop the fire before it starts by eliminating potential hazards in your home or business. Equip yourself with fire extinguishers, regularly tested smoke alarms and sprinklers. Keep curtains, towels or any items that can easily catch fire at least three feet from heaters. Business owners should also consider posting “No Smoking” signs around machinery and flammable materials to alert employees of potential danger.

It is also important to protect important papers including birth certificates, property inventory and proof of its value, such as receipts, titles and appraisals.

“In the case of a fire, business owners may be required to show proof of property value to ensure full coverage from their insurance policy,” said Kozek. “Make copies of all your important documents, and keep the originals in a bank safe deposit box outside of your business.”

4. Memorize emergency contact information.

Make sure that everyone in your home knows how to dial 9-1-1. Business owners and families should also post emergency phone numbers in a central place such as on the refrigerator or in the break room so they are easily accessible.