MFD: Fire Prevention
PLEASE CONTACT THE DISTRICT OFFICE AT 259-5557 TO SCHEDULE A FIREHOUSE VISIT AND LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM.
photos courtesy of Rhiannon Drake. Used with permission.
The Moab Fire Department would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the following participants, without whom we could not have made this program a success:
Chief Corky Brewer
COOKING & KITCHEN SAFETY: IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR YOU AND YOUR HOME
One of the major fire hazards in the home is your kitchen and it’s
inherent danger due to the presence of either a gas or electric oven
To avoid a fire in the kitchen:
Never leave your cooking unattended. This is the #1 cause of cooking
fires according to the National Safety Council, National Association of
Fire Marshals, and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
Wear short or close fitting sleeves while cooking. Loose clothing can
catch fire easily.
Supervise children in the kitchen to avoid accidents. When they are old
enough, teach them to cook safely. Do not allow kids to play in the
kitchen while anyone is cooking. Don’t hold babies in your arms while
you are cooking.
Clean cooking surfaces to prevent build up of grease and food.
Keep curtains, towels, pot holders, paper towels, matches, and flammable liquids away from the stove. Do not heat food if it is in a
flammable package ( pizza boxes). Keep your workspace clean and uncluttered.
Turn pan handles inward to prevent spills.
Insulate or provide air space underneath the stove to keep it from
directly contacting the floor.
TO FIGHT A COOKING FIRE
Call 911 first. Alert everyone to get out of the house.
If the fire is in the oven or broiler, keep the door shut and turn off the heat.
If the fire is on the range top or in a pan, turn off the power or gas. Use
baking soda (never flour or water) to smother the flames, or slide a pan
lid over the pan to smother flames. NEVER pick up or try to move a pan
with a fire in it. You may spread the fire to other parts of the room, or cause
injury to yourself or others.
Keep an ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen, but not right next to the stove. The ideal kitchen has two ways in & out, and doors that can be closed to confine a fire to one room.
Plan escape routes from your home. Make monthly family fire drills part of
your life. Teach everyone what to do in case of fire. Install and maintain
smoke detectors (and CO detectors if your home has gas appliances)
on each level of the home. Consider installing a telephone on each level of
your home for quick calls for help. Teach kids to Stop, Drop, & Roll, and
Stay Low & Go, Go, Go.
MORE KITCHEN SAFETY
- Clean up spills right away to avoid slipping and falling on a wet floor.
- Keep all work surfaces clean to avoid bacteria and spoiled food illnesses.
- Do not pile things on or around refrigerators. Objects can fall off of the
top and cause injury. Clutter behind a refrigerator can cause it to
overheat. Keep the fridge clean and well maintained, and well ventilated.
- Do not thaw meat out of the fridge. Leave it in the fridge, above other foods. If it drips, place a paper towel under the package.
- Clean utensils immediately after handling raw meat to avoid cross
contamination of other foods.
- Always wash your hands before, during, and after cooking.
- If food smells bad, it probably is bad. Throw it away.
- Don’t keep garbage pails in the kitchen.
- Keep knives sharp. A dull knife is more likely to cause injury.
- Keep a small 1st aid kit in the kitchen for burns and cuts.
- Consider wearing eye protection when cooking with hot grease that can
splatter or “pop”.
Carbon Monoxide: Silent, Invisible Killer
What is Carbon Monoxide (CO) and why is it dangerous? CO is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas that is deadly. It is a by-product of a fuel burning process; that is, it is produced any time organic fuels are burned: gasoline in your car’s engine, natural gas in your furnace, water heater or kitchen stove, charcoal in your barbecue grill, propane in your camp trailer’s refrigerator, the tobacco in your cigarette, etc. CO can displace and deprive your blood of the oxygen it needs to sustain your life. Carbon Monoxide in the blood is extremely dangerous because CO combines with the blood’s hemoglobin more readily than oxygen does and crowds the oxygen out, forms a compound called carboxyhemoglobin, and deprives the brain, heart, and other organs of the oxygen they need. Carbon Monoxide in the air is measured in Parts Per Million (PPM). When the level of CO in an enclosed space reaches 9 PPM, CO poisoning can begin to occur and human life is put at risk if exposure to the gas is prolonged. For example, a 1 per cent concentration of CO in the air (10,000 PPM, deadly in less than 3 minutes) will cause a 50 per cent concentration of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood in only 2-1/2 to 7 minutes. A 0.10 per cent concentration of CO in the air (1000 PPM) will cause unconsciousness in 1 hour. The symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can mimic the flu. Headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, confusion are all symptoms. Red skin which looks like a severe sunburn is a common symptom but does not occur in every case. If exposure continues, unconsciousness and death will follow because carboxyhemoglobin accumulates in the blood over time, even at low exposure levels, and may take years to dissipate. Many CO deaths occur in the home at night when sleeping people are attacked by the gas without even knowing or feeling its effects. Some CO deaths occur slowly over time because the victim does not realize that it is Carbon Monoxide causing the illness.
Prevention and detection are the keys to protecting yourself and your family from Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
First, have all of your gas, wood, or oil burning appliances and fireplaces checked by a qualified service technician for leaks or exhaust problems. Have your chimney cleaned and checked for clogs or blocked openings by a qualified chimney technician.
Secondly, buy and install a Carbon Monoxide Detector / Alarm in your home. All electric homes should also have a detector if the garage is attached to the home. A good one should cost around $50 and meet Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standard 2034. The “UL listed” marking will appear on these. If the detector is the “plug in” type, it should have a battery backup in case of power failures. There should also be a way to test the alarm built in to the system.
Thirdly, never leave a car running in the garage, even with the garage door open. Never have a barbecue grill indoors. Always leave a window slightly open to provide a source of fresh air when operating fuel burning appliances. Fuel burning appliances can rapidly deplete air in an enclosed space, especially newer, “tighter,” non-drafty buildings. Test your Carbon Monoxide Detector regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep an eye on the health of family members, especially the very young, very old, or those with medical conditions for symptoms of CO poisoning. See a doctor immediately if symptoms occur.
Finally, if the alarm on the detector sounds, evacuate the building. Get medical attention immediately if anyone has symptoms. Leave the building in the condition it is when the alarm sounds; that is, leave appliances operating and doors and windows just the way they are so that the source of the Carbon Monoxide problem can be found. Call the Moab Fire Department at 259-5557, 8-5 Monday through Friday, or the Grand County Sheriff’s Dispatcher at 259-8115, 24 hours a day 7 days a week to report the alarm so it can be investigated with specialized detection equipment and the source identified. Call 911 if anyone has severe symptoms of poisoning or is unconscious so that an ambulance can be dispatched. Do not re-occupy the building until the source of the alarm has been identified and corrected.
CHANGE SMOKE ALARM BATTERIES TWICE A YEAR
As the fall time change approaches, the Moab Fire Department wants to remind residents to make a change that could save their lives — changing the batteries in their smoke alarms.
Although 92 percent of American homes have smoke alarms, nearly one-third don’t work. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide. The most common cited cause of non-working smoke alarms is worn out or missing batteries.
Changing smoke alarm batteries twice a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce tragic deaths and injuries in home fires. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire.
To save lives and prevent needless injuries in Moab, the Moab Fire Department has joined forces with the International Association of Fire Chiefs and Energizer Brand Batteries for the “Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery” campaign. The program urges all Americans to adopt a simple, lifesaving habit: changing smoke alarm batteries when changing their clocks forward and back to standard time each year.
“Working smoke alarms provide an early warning and critical extra seconds to escape,” said Moab Fire Chief Corky Brewer. “This is particularly important for those most at risk of dying in a home fire, such as children and seniors.”
In addition, Chief Brewer recommends residents use the “extra” hour they save from the time change to test smoke alarms by pushing the test button, planning “two ways out” and practicing those escape routes with the entire family.
Tragically, fire can kill selectively. Those most at risk include:
- Children — An average of three American children die each day in home fires. Fire is the second leading cause of accidental deaths among children under age 5, placing them at twice the risk of dying in a home fire. Ninety percent of fire deaths involving children occur in homes without working smoke alarms.
- Seniors — Adults over age 75 are three to four times more likely to die in home fires than the rest of the population. Many seniors are unable to escape quickly.
- Low-Income Households — Many low-income families are unable to afford smoke alarms and batteries for their smoke alarms. These same households often rely on poorly installed, maintained or misused portable or area heating equipment — a main cause of fatal home fires.
- Families should prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights to help during night-time escapes and develop and practice a fire escape plan for the household. For more information on home fire safety and prevention contact the Moab Fire Department at 259-5557 or visit Moab’s Fire Station #1 at 45 South 100 East. The staff will gladly help you and your family avoid tragedy with some simple techniques and planning. “Prevention of death and injury by fire is our number one priority,” said Chief Brewer.
FIREWORKS: LAWS, RULES, AND COMMON SENSE
Fireworks! Americans have always enjoyed the boom and flash of these colorful explosives to help celebrate our holidays. To help prevent tragedy and ensure that a good time is had by all, the Utah Fireworks Act was adopted. We adhere to all laws, rules and regulations related to this act here in the Moab Valley. The most important of these are:
Fireworks cannot be sold to any person under the age of 16, unless accompanied by an adult.
Fireworks may be sold after June 19 and before July 26, after December 19 and before January 3, and 15 days before and on the Chinese New Year.
Fireworks may be discharged three days before, on the day of, and three days after July 4, July 24, January 1, and the Chinese New Year.
The maximum height which any device may travel, explode, discharge balls of fire, or produce a shower of sparks is fifteen (15) feet from the ground, and may not travel laterally on the ground for more than ten (10) feet.
The rules of safety and common sense are perhaps the best to obey. Each year, thousands of Americans, especially children, are burned, maimed, blinded, and killed by fireworks and their effects. Keep your holiday fun and safe by following these guidelines:
Fireworks are not toys. THEY SHOULD NEVER BE USED BY CHILDREN. Only capable adults should ignite and dispose of fireworks.
Read all instructions and warnings on fireworks packages before use.
Wear safety glasses or goggles when igniting fireworks.
Fireworks should be used on the ground or pavement free of all vegetation or other combustibles. NEVER USE FIREWORKS INDOORS.
Never hold fireworks, including sparklers, in your hand. Use a solid base of some non-combustible material (the ground is best) to set them on.
Avoid “spinners,” “shooters,” “rockets,” “roman candles.” They are uncontrollable once they are ignited.
Avoid sparklers. They burn extremely hot and are a major source of burns and blindings, especially for children. THEY WILL IGNITE CLOTHING.
Use a device designed for igniting fireworks rather than matches.
Never smoke while handling fireworks.
Never aim fireworks towards any person, animal, vehicle, building, or vegetation.
Carefully check the area for sparks and embers when finished using fireworks.
Keep a bucket of water handy to put used fireworks in; this will ensure that they are cold and wet before being thrown away. Keep a garden hose ready to extinguish small accidental fires.
Dial 911 in case of fire. Don’t try to fight a fire by yourself.
Have children practice the Stop, Drop, and Roll in case their clothing catches fire.
The Moab Fire Department recommends that you avoid using fireworks altogether. Instead, watch the public display presented by Grand County on July 4; its safer, cheaper, and you won’t have to clean up afterwards!