Fires

In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

  • Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.
  • Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.
  • Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
  • Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
Before A Fire

Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly.

Twice each year, practice your home fire escape plan.  Some tips to consider when preparing this plan include:

  • Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.
  • Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened.
  • Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
  • Remember to include your pets in this plan.
  • Designate a family meeting place.
Download our Fire Escape Plan Template at this hyperlink.

 
During A Fire
Get out , and stay out!
  • After you escape, call 911 from a cell phone or a neighbor's phone to report the fire.
  • Crawl low under any smoke to your exit – heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
  • Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
  • If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
  • If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 911 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.
  • If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.
  • If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out.  Call 911. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands.  Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.  If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel. 
  • Use cool water to treat burns immediately for 10 to 15 minutes.  Cover with a clean, dry cloth.  Get medical help right away by calling 911.
Smoke Alarms
Smoke alarms save lives, and it is important that every home has working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm can double the chance of survival in a house fire by warning residents when there's still time to escape.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Test the batteries monthly.
  • Replace batteries in battery-powered and hard-wired smoke alarms at least once a year (except non-replaceable 10-year lithium batteries).
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 8-10 years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking – it can be a deadly mistake.


Smoke Alarm Safety for People with Access or Functional Needs

  • Audible alarms for visually impaired people should pause with a small window of silence between each successive cycle so that they can listen to instructions or voices of others.
  • Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired. 
  • Smoke alarms with a strobe light outside the home to catch the attention of neighbors, and emergency call systems for summoning help, are also available.
The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department will provide and install free smoke detectors to qualifying Duval County residents. To learn more about this service call 904- 630-CITY (2489) or visit this hyperlink
 
Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are a must-have home essential. Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

If you need to utilize your fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
  • Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  • Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
  • Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

  P.A.S.S. The Fire Extinguisher
Top Causes Of Household Fires
Cooking

Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.

 Cooking Safety: 

  • Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, don’t use the stove or stovetop.
  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen 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.
Heating

Heating is the second leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, and the third leading cause of home fire deaths.

Heating Safety: 

  • Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet away from heating equipment, like the a fireplace, or portable space heater.
  • Have a 3 foot “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.
Electrical

Electricity helps make our lives easier but there are times when we can take its power and its potential for fire-related hazards for granted. 


Electrical Safety:
  • Check all your electrical cords, and replace any that are frayed or cracked. Replace frayed or cracked extension cords and don't overload them or run them under rugs.
  • Have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician.
  • 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.
  • Use a light bulb with the right number of watts. There should be a sticker that indicates the right number of watts.
Smoking

Smoking materials, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014.

Smoking Safety:

  • Never smoke and never allow anyone to smoke where medical oxygen is used. Medical oxygen can cause materials to ignite more easily and make fires burn at a faster rate than normal. It can make an existing fire burn faster and hotter.
  • Use a deep, sturdy ashtray. Place it away from anything that can burn.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other smoking materials up high out of the reach of children.
  • Before you throw away butts and ashes, make sure they are out, and dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
Candles

From  2014-2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 7,610  home structure fires that were started by candles per year. 

Candle Safety:

  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room 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 away from anything that can burn.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
  • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
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