Fast Facts About Fire
Steps to Safety: How to Protect Your Family from a Fire
Step 1 - Replace Smoke Alarms every 10 years.
Choose the right alarm for the right location in every room and on each level.
Test alarms weekly. If using traditional battery-powered alarms, remember to replace batteries as needed, at least twice a year.
Step 2 - Place Fire Extinguishers within reach on every level of your home.
Install close to exits, and in the kitchen and garage. Include all locations where a fire may start.
Check the gauge monthly to be sure it is pressurized.
Replace fire extinguishers that are over 12 years old or after use.
Step 3 - Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms on each floor and near bedrooms.
Look for the “UL Listed” symbol to be sure the alarm meets quality standards.
Test alarms weekly.
Because CO weighs about the same as air, an alarm can be plugged into an outlet, placed on a table or shelf or mounted high on a wall. Refer to the user’s manual for installation instructions.
Step 4 - Create an escape plan with your family.
Practice regularly, both day and night.
Know 2 ways out of every room.
Know who will assist children and those with mobility/health issues.
Have escape ladders in upstairs rooms.
Step 5 - Commit to being a safety hero by taking the pledge at:
Choosing a Fire Extinguisher for Your Home
At home, place the power to put out small fires in your hands and within your reach.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) someone in the United States dies in a house fire every three hours, averaging approximately 3,000 deaths each year. Arm yourself with the right equipment to help prevent a small self-contained fire from spreading out of control.
Choosing a fire extinguisher
Below are minimum recommendations for the home from the National Fire Protection Association.
Step 1: Choose primary extinguishers for your home. These include solutions for your living area and garage or workshop, and they’re pieces of equipment that you absolutely must have according to the NFPA.
Living area – For your main home protection, install a 2-A: 10-B:C rated living area unit on every level of your home. No more than 40 feet apart. Class A-B-C
Garage/Workshop – Due to volumes of flammable liquids in the garage, you should install a higher rated unit such as the 3-A:40B-C Garage/Workshop unit. Class A-B-C
Step 2: Choose supplementary extinguishers for your kitchen and areas with a higher likelihood of electrical equipment fires. These are not required, but are highly recommended.
Kitchen – The kitchen is the likeliest place you will have a fire. Protect your home with a 711A extinguisher in the kitchen area.
Electrical – Ideal for tackling fires involving energized electrical equipment with a rating of 1-A: 10-B:C. Class B-C
How to use fire extinguishers
Stand 5 feet away from the fire and follow the four-step PASS procedure recommended by the National Fire Protection Association:
P - Pull the pin and hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you.
A - Aim low at the base of the fire.
S - Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly to discharge the extinguishing agent. (When the agent first hits the fire, the fire may briefly flare up. This should be expected.
S - Sweep the nozzle from side to side, moving carefully toward the fire. Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire.
When to use fire extinguishers
It’s important to remember that fire extinguishers are only one element of a complete fire survival plan. Only use your extinguisher after making sure:
All residents of the home have been evacuated to safety
The fire department has been notified
There is a clear exit behind the person using the extinguisher
Use your extinguisher only to keep a small self-contained fire from growing, only when the room is not filled with smoke, or to create a safe pathway out of the home. Be sure to read the instructions and become
Frequently Asked Questions About Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Monoxide Symptoms & Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Effective Jan. 1, 2007 in Illinois
Requires all residential dwelling to install at least one CO alarm within 15 feet of sleeping areas.
1) WHAT IS CARBON MONOXIDE (CO)?
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless and tasteless poison gas that can be fatal when inhaled.
It is sometimes called the "silent killer."
CO inhibits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen.
CO can be produced when burning fuels such as gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil or wood.
CO is the product of incomplete combustion. If you have fire, you have CO.
2) WHERE DOES CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) COME FROM?
Any fuel-burning appliance that is malfunctioning or improperly installed.
Furnaces, gas range/stove, gas clothes dryer, water heater, portable fuel-burning space heaters, fireplaces, generators and wood burning stoves.
Vehicles, generators and other combustion engines running in an attached garage.
Blocked chimney or flue.
Cracked or loose furnace exchanger.
Back drafting and changes in air pressure.
Operating a grill in an enclosed space.
3) WHAT ARE CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) POISONING SYMPTOMS?
Initial symptoms are similar to the flu without a fever and can include dizziness, severe headaches, nausea, sleepiness, fatigue/weakness and disorientation/confusion.
4) WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) EXPOSURE?
Common Mild Exposure - Slight headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, flu-like symptoms.
Common Medium Exposure - Throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, fast heart rate.
Common Extreme Exposure - Convulsions, unconsciousness, brain damage, heart and lung failure followed by death.
If you experience even mild CO poisoning symptoms, immediately consult a physician!
5) ARE THERE ANY STEPS I CAN TAKE TO PREVENT CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) POISONING?
Properly equip your home with carbon monoxide alarms on every level and in sleeping areas. The only safe way to detect CO in your home is with a CO alarm.
Every year have the heating system, vents, chimney and flue inspected by a qualified technician.
Regularly examine vents and chimneys for improper connections, visible rust and stains.
Install and operate appliances according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Only purchase appliances that have been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
Never use a gas range/stove to heat the home.
Never leave your car idling in a closed garage or use fuel-powered appliances or tools in enclosed, attached areas such as garages or porches. Carbon monoxide can seep into your home through vents and doors.
6) DO I NEED A CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) ALARM? WHERE SHOULD IT BE INSTALLED?
Every home with at least one fuel-burning appliance/heater, attached garage or fireplace should have a carbon monoxide alarm.
If the home has only one carbon monoxide alarm, it should be installed in the main bedroom or in the hallway outside of the sleeping area.
An alarm should be installed on every level of the home and in sleeping areas.
Place the alarm at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.
Make sure nothing is covering or obstructing the unit.
Do not place the unit in dead air spaces or next to a window or door.
Test the carbon monoxide alarm once a week by pressing the test/reset button.
Every month, unplug the unit and vacuum with a soft-brush attachment or wipe with a clean, dry cloth to remove accumulated dust.
7) SHOULD MY CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) ALARM HAVE A DIGITAL DISPLAY? WHAT DOES THE PEAK LEVEL FUNCTION DO?
A digital display allows you to see if CO is present and respond before it becomes a dangerous situation.
Peak Level Memory stores the highest recorded reading prior to being reset. This feature enables you to know if there was a reading while you were away from home, and also can help emergency responders determine the best treatment.
8) WHOM SHOULD I CALL IF MY CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) ALARM GOES OFF?
If anyone is experiencing symptoms, you need to get everyone into fresh air and call 911 from a neighbor's home. If no one is experiencing symptoms, you should call the fire department or a qualified technician from a neighbor's home to have the problem inspected. If you are unable to leave the home to call for help, open the doors and windows, and turn off all possible sources while you are waiting for assistance to arrive. Under no circumstance should an alarm be ignored!
About Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week is on record as the longest running public health observance, according to the National Archives and Records Administration’s Library Information Center.
NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week since 1922, when the commemoration began.
President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week on October 4-10, 1925, beginning a tradition of the President of the United States signing a proclamation recognizing the occasion. It is observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls, in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire, which began October 8, 1871, and did most of its damage October 9.
The horrific conflagration killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres
Blaming it on the cow
According to popular legend, the fire broke out after a cow - belonging to Mrs. Catherine O'Leary - kicked over a lamp, setting first the barn, located on the property of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary at 137 Dekoven Street on the city’s southwest side, then the whole city on fire. Chances are you've heard some version of this story yourself; people have been blaming the Great Chicago Fire on the cow and Mrs. O'Leary, for more than 130 years. Mrs. O’Leary denied this charge. Recent research by Chicago historian Robert Cromie has helped to debunk this version of events.
The making of a pop culture phenomenon
Like any good story, the 'case of the cow' has some truth to it. The great fire almost certainly started near the barn where Mrs. O'Leary kept her five milking cows. But there is no proof that O'Leary was in the barn when the fire broke out - or that a jumpy cow sparked the blaze. Mrs. O'Leary herself swore that she'd been in bed early that night, and that the cows were also tucked in for the evening.
After the Great Fire, Chicago Tribune reporter Michael Ahern published a report that the fire had started when a cow kicked over a lantern while it was being milked. The woman was not named, but Catherine O'Leary was identified. Illustrations and caricatures soon appeared depicting Mrs. O'Leary with the cow.
In 1893, however, Ahern admitted he had made the story up.
"Mrs. O'Leary's cow" has attracted the attention and imagination of generations as the cause of the fire. Numerous references, in a variety of media, have been made in American popular culture, including films, television, and popular music.
But if a cow wasn't to blame for the huge fire, what was? Over the years, journalists and historians have offered plenty of theories. Some blamed the blaze on a couple of neighborhood boys who were near the barn sneaking cigarettes. Others believed that a neighbor of the O'Leary's may have started the fire. Some people have speculated that a fiery meteorite may have fallen to earth on October 8, starting several fires that day - in Michigan and Wisconsin, as well as in Chicago.
The biggest blaze that week
The Peshtigo Fire, the most devastating forest fire in American history, was the biggest blaze that week, but drew little note outside of the region–in and around Peshtigo, Wisconsin– because of the attention drawn by the Great Chicago Fire.
The Peshtigo Fire, which also occurred on October 8th, 1871, roared through Northeast Wisconsin, burning down 16 towns, killing 1,152 people, and scorching 1.2 million acres before it ended.
Historical accounts of the fire say that the blaze began when several railroad workers clearing land for tracks unintentionally started a brush fire. Before long, the fast-moving flames were whipping through the area 'like a tornado,' some survivors said. It was the small town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, that suffered the worst damage. Within an hour, the entire town had been destroyed.
Nine decades of fire prevention
Those who survived the Chicago and Peshtigo fires never forgot what they'd been through; both blazes produced countless tales of bravery and heroism. But the fires also changed the way that firefighters and public officials thought about fire safety. On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. The commemoration grew incrementally official over the years.
In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls. The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week every year since 1925.
If you have anymore questions or concerns you may call the station at 815-389-3097 and ask for Lieutenant Andrew Kitson, who is in charge of the Fire Prevention / Public Education Division, or you may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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