Did you know?
Fire Prevention Week starts the first Sunday in October commemorating the great Chicago fire. Each year there is a new theme emphasizing different fire safety practices.
Seasonal Reminders - Every season brings about new cautions and awareness pertaining to fire and safety. Please read up to stay informed and be safe throughout the year. Click here to read seasonal reminders.
Check your Clocks and Batteries
It's time for a change! Change your clocks and batteries...
When it’s time to "spring forward" and change the clocks, make sure to change the batteries in all of your smoke alarms. If batteries were recently changed, it's still very important to conduct your monthly test of your smoke alarms. It could save a life! Did you know that having a working smoke alarm reduces a person's chance of dying in a fire by half? For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area and in every bedroom. Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings and tested monthly. It's important to replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, unless they're 10 year lithium batteries. Even if your smoke alarms are hardwired, replace the batteries in case of a chirping sound or a power outage. Reminder: Smoke alarms do not last forever. The maximum life span is 8-10 years. After that time, the entire unit should be replaced. If the unit does not respond properly when tested, it should be replaced immediately.
Try these safety techniques to prevent spring cleaning injuries:
- Remember to take frequent breaks and stay hydrated as you complete your cleaning project.
- Get help for moving heavy furniture.
- Clean the floor with a mop rather than on your hands and knees. Push the mop forward and back to clean small areas at a time, rather than leaning too far forward.
- If you must scrub floors by hand, kneel on a pad and don’t reach too far in any direction.
- Vacuuming can put a lot of strain on the spine and neck. Keep the hose in front of your body at waist height, use both hands to push the vacuum, and walk straight across the carpet, then turn and go back. Avoid pushing and pulling in short little strokes.
- For bathtub cleaning, stand outside the tub with a long mop rather than sitting and leaning over the side.
- If you're washing high windows, use a secure ladder or step stool to stay level with the window rather than stretching your back and neck upwards for long periods of time. The same goes for painting.
- Lift items such as mulch, flower pots and other heavy objects by bending your knees and lifting with your legs rather than your back. Keep items close to your body and use both hands.
- Pull weeds with your legs and abdominal muscles tightened .
- Spring cleaning can be great exercise. Consider it a workout instead of work!
Memorial Day and Fourth of July
- The only types of fireworks that can be legally purchased and discharged in Ohio are trick and novelty devices. These include items that smoke, sparkle, snap and snake.
- Handle and discharge trick and novelty devices only under adult supervision.
- Appoint one adult to be in charge. This person should know the hazards of each type of firework being used.
- Carefully read and follow the label directions on the trick and novelty device packaging.
- Light only one sparkler at a time and hold it away from your body and others.
- Sparkler wires, which can burn up to 1800 degrees, should immediately be placed in a bucket of water to avoid injury as they remain hot for a few minutes after burnout.
- If someone gets burned, run cool water over the wound for two or three minutes and seek medical attention when necessary.
- Build where they will not spread; away from dry grass, leaves and never under overhanging trees.
- Keep campfires small, and don’t let them get out of hand.
- Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you’re done. Stir it and douse it again with water.
- Never leave campfires unattended.
- It is important to follow the park’s rules for the use and extinguishing of campfires.
- Never start a without having the equipment and ability to extinguish it.
- Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line.
- Do not overfill the propane tank.
- Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
- Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
- Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
- Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
- Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide could be produced.
- Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire. Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants medical attention. All burns to the face, hands, feet or groin require medical attention.
- Cross the street at corners, using traffic signals and crosswalks.
- Look left, right and left again when crossing and keep looking as you cross.
- Put electronic devices down and keep heads up and walk, don’t run, across the street.
- Teach children to make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them.
- Always walk on sidewalks or paths. If there are no sidewalks, walk facing traffic as far to
the left as possible. Children should walk on direct routes with the fewest street crossings.
- Watch for cars that are turning or backing up. Teach children to never dart out into the street or cross between parked cars.
Trick or Treat With an Adult
- Children under the age of 12 should not be alone at night without adult supervision. If kids are mature enough to be out without supervision, they should stick to familiar areas that are well lit and trick-or-treat in groups.
Keep Costumes Both Creative and Safe
- Decorate costumes and bags with reflective tape or stickers and, if possible, choose light colors.
- Choose face paint and makeup whenever possible instead of masks, which can obstruct a child’s vision.
- Have kids carry glow sticks or flashlights to help them see and be seen by drivers.
- When selecting a costume, make sure it is the right size to prevent trips and falls.
Drive Extra Safely on Halloween
- Slow down and be especially alert in residential neighborhoods. Children are excited on Halloween and may move in unpredictable ways.
- Take extra time to look for kids at intersections, on medians and on curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and carefully.
- Eliminate any distractions inside your car so you can concentrate on the road and your surroundings.
- Drive slowly, anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic and turn your headlights on earlier in the day to spot children from greater distances.
- Popular trick-or-treating hours are 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. so be especially alert for kids during those hours.
Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, etc. do not burn completely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of CO. Carbon monoxide incidents are more common during the winter months, and in residential property.
Most of the U.S. is at risk for winter storms, which can cause dangerous and sometimes life-threatening conditions. Blinding wind-driven snow, extreme cold, icy road conditions, downed trees and power lines can all wreak havoc on our daily schedules. Home fires occur more in the winter than in any other season, and heating equipment is involved in one of every six reported home fires, and one in every five home fire deaths.
Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky. The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. According to a 2013 Consumer Product Safety Commission report, half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools.
December is the peak time of year for home candle fires; the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve. Each year between 2012 and 2016, an average of 8,200 home candle fires were reported each year. More statistics on candle fires.
Electrical home fires are a leading cause of home fires in the U.S. Roughly half of all home electrical fires involved electrical distribution or lighting equipment, while nearly another half involved other known types of equipment like washer or dryer fans, and portable or stationary space heaters
In 2011-2015, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 54,030 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 480 civilian deaths, 1,470civilian injuries, and $1.1 billion in direct property damage. These fires accounted for 15% of all reported home fires.
Facts & Figures
Based on 2011-2015 annual averages:
- Space heaters, whether portable or stationary, accounted for just over two of every five (43%) of home heating fires and four out of five (85%) of home heating fire deaths.
- The leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) was failure to clean, principally creosote from solid-fueled heating equipment, primarily chimneys.
- Placing things that can burn too close to heating equipment or placing heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, was the third leading factor contributing to ignition in fatal home heating fires and accounted for more than half (53%) of home heating fire deaths.
- Keep anything that can burn at least 3ft from heating equip (furnace, fireplace, wood stove, portable heater)
- Nearly half (48%) of all home heating fires occurred in December, January and February.
- Inspect and maintain heating equipment regularly for safety.
- Be sure to have fixed space heaters installed by a qualified technician, according to manufacturer’s instructions or applicable codes. Or, make sure a qualified technician checks to see the unit has been properly installed.
- When buying a new, portable space heater, make sure it has the label showing it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
- Space heaters should be turned off every time you leave the room and before going to bed.
- Choose space heaters that turn off automatically if they tip over.
- Never use a space heater to dry clothing.
- Do not use your oven to heat your home.
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- Test smoke alarms monthly.
Flood Safety - Most communities in the United States can experience some kind of flooding after spring rains, heavy thunderstorms or winter snow thaws. Floods can be slow or fast-rising, but generally develop over a period of days. Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. Flash flooding can occur with little or no warning and can reach its peak in only a few minutes.
Flood waters can be extremely dangerous. The force of six inches of swiftly moving water can knock an adult person off his or her feet. The best protection during a flood is to leave the area and seek shelter on higher ground.
Flash flood waters move very quickly and can roll boulders, tear out trees, destroy buildings and obliterate bridges. Walls of water can reach heights of 10 to 20 feet and generally are accompanied by a deadly cargo of debris. The best response to any signs of flash flooding is to move immediately and quickly to higher ground.
Just two feet of moving water can float and carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks. You can protect yourself best by being prepared and having time to act.
Before a Flood
- Check with your local floodplain administrator to determine if you live in a flood-prone area.
- Consider installing check valves in building sewer traps to prevent flood waters from backing up in sewer drains.
- Plan and practice an evacuation route.
- Have disaster supplies on hand.
- Develop an emergency communication plan.
- Flood damage to vehicles is covered by auto insurance when comprehensive coverage is purchased.
During a Flood Watch
- Listen to a radio or television for the latest storm information.
- Fill bathtub, sinks and jugs with clean water in case water becomes contaminated.
- Move valuable household possessions to upper floors or to safe grounds if time permits.
- If you are instructed by local authorities, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve.
- Be prepared to evacuate.
During a Flood Warning
- If indoors, turn on a battery-powered radio or NOAA Weather Radio to get the latest emergency information. If your area is advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- If outdoors, climb to high ground and stay there. Avoid walking through any flood waters.
- If you are driving and have come to a flooded area, turn around and go the other way. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to drive through flooded roadways.
During an Evacuation
- If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Evacuation is much simpler and safer before flood waters block your escape. Leave early enough to avoid being marooned by flooded roads.
- Never attempt to drive or walk through flood waters. Water could be deeper than it appears and floodwater currents can be deceptive. Remember, it only takes two feet of water to carry away most vehicles.
- Listen to Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages on the radio or television for evacuation instructions
- Follow recommended evacuation routes. Shortcuts may be blocked.
After a Flood
The hours immediately following a flood can be very confusing. When disaster strikes, the county emergency management agency and local government initiate rescue, evacuation and shelter missions and provide emergency assistance to meet the public’s immediate needs.
If the commissioners declare a state of emergency for the county, the local EMA may contact the Ohio EMA for assistance in coordinating state resources and response activities. Based on the extent of the incident, the governor may declare a state of emergency for the affected county(ies). If disaster damages exceed state and local capabilities, the governor may request the president to grant federal disaster assistance through FEMA.
- Before entering a flood-damaged building, check the foundation for cracks and inspect porch roofs and overhangs to be sure they are adequately supported. Ask a building inspector to check the house before you go inside.
- Be alert for gas leaks. Do not strike a match or use open flame when entering a building unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area ventilated.
- Do not use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried.
- For more information on floods or flood safety, contact your state or local emergency management agency; the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water; the National Weather Service; or your local American Red Cross chapter.
For additional information on Ohio flooding and flood insurance, visit the following sites:
- Ohio Insurance Institute
- Ohio Department of Insurance
- Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Floodplain Management
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
Additional Flood Safety Tips
- Evacuate areas that are subject to flooding. This includes dips, low spots, canyons,
- If driving, be aware that the road bed may not be intact under flood waters. Turn around
and go another way. NEVER drive through flooded roads or low water crossings. Rapidly rising waters may engulf the vehicle and sweep it away.
- If camping, choose camp sites along waterways with care. Remember that storms that are miles away could bring raging water your way.
Flood – A condition that occurs when water overflows the natural or artificial confines of a stream or body of water, or accumulates by drainage over low-lying areas.
General River Flooding – follows heavy rain, snow melt or their combination. While river flooding typically occurs slowly, allowing more time to take protective measures, extreme flash flooding or a breakup of an ice jam along a river can produce more rapid river rises.
Urban and Small Stream Floods – occurs when heavy rain falls, resulting in flooded streets, underpasses or drainage ditches in urban areas, and creeks in rural areas. Not usually life-threatening on its own, but can be, if motorists drive through a flooded roadway or children play near a storm drain or drainage ditch.
Flash Floods – Rapid and life-threatening floods from heavy rains occurring in a short period of time, usually in hilly or mountainous areas, or produced by the failure of a dam.
Flood/Flash Flood Watch – Usually issued for several hours indicating that conditions are favorable for possible flooding or flash flooding.
Flood/Flash Flood Warning – Issued when flooding or flash flooding is imminent or occurring. This indicates a need to take protective measures.
Carbon Monoxide Safety - Carbon monoxide (CO) is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas known as the “silent killer.” Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to CO poisoning.
Heating Safety - FIRST AND FOREMOST: Having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.
Fireplaces regularly build up creosote in their chimneys. They need to be cleaned out frequently and chimneys should be inspected for obstructions and cracks to prevent deadly chimney and roof fires. Check to make sure the damper is open before starting any fire. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause heavy creosote buildup and are difficult to control. Use a screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. Don't wear loose-fitting clothes near any open flame. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.
Wood stoves cause over 4,000 residential fires every year. Carefully follow the manufacturer's installation and maintenance instructions. Look for solid construction, such as plate steel or cast iron metal. Check for cracks and inspect legs, hinges and door seals for smooth joints and seams. Use only seasoned wood for fuel, not green wood, artificial logs, or trash. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets. Inspect and clean your pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.
Electric Space Heaters
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over. Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip. Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use.
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community. Never fill your heater with gasoline or camp stove fuel; both flare-up easily. Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene. When refueling, allow the appliance to cool first and then refuel outside. Never overfill any portable heater. Use the kerosene heater in a well ventilated room.
School Bus Safety -
Wishing everyone a safe start to the school year. Here are a few safety tips to remember on and around school busses: Click to Read
- Ohio law requires all vehicles must stop for school busses displaying red warning lights and stop sign anytime you are driving on a road that is less than four lanes wide.
- Driving on roads that are four or more lanes, only the traffic moving in the same direction as the bus are required to stop. Oncoming traffic does not have to stop, regardless of the existence of a median.
- Train tracks are the exception. You do not have to stop for the bus warning lights when the bus has stopped for train tracks.
- When stopping, maintain at least a 10 foot distance from the bus. Please keep this in mind when the bus turns on the yellow caution flashers.
- When at a stop sign and you are neither approaching nor following, the 10 foot rule applies and you must remain stopped.
- Stopped traffic must remain stopped until the bus has turned off red warning lights and stop sign.
School Bus Safety Tips for Students:
- At the Bus Stop: Always walk on the sidewalk to the bus stop, never run. If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left facing traffic.Go to the bus stop about five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive. While at the bus stop, wait quietly in a safe place well away from the road. Do not run and play while waiting.
- Getting On and Off the Bus:Enter the bus in line with younger students in front. Hold the handrail while going up and down the stairs.When entering the bus, go directly to a seat. Remain seated and face forward during the entire ride.
- Riding the Bus:Always speak quietly on the bus so the driver will not be distracted. Always be silent when a bus comes to a railroad crossing so the driver can hear if a train is coming.Never throw things on the bus or out the windows. Keep the aisles clear at all times. Feet should be directly in front of you on the floor and book bags should be kept on your lap. Large instruments or sports equipment should not block the aisle or emergency exits.Never play with the emergency exits. Large instruments or sports equipment should not block the aisle or emergency exits. If there is an emergency, listen to the driver and follow instructions.Hands should be kept to yourself at all times while riding on the bus. Fighting and picking on others creates a dangerous bus ride.
- Exiting the Bus:If you leave something on the bus, never return to the bus to get it. The driver may not see you come back and they may begin moving the bus. Make sure that drawstrings and other loose objects are secure before getting off the bus so that they do not get caught on the handrail or the door. Respect the "Danger Zone" which surrounds all sides of the bus. The "Danger Zone" is ten feet wide on all sides of the bus. Always remain 10 steps away from the bus to be out of the "Danger Zone" and where the driver can see you.Always cross the street in from of the bus. Never go behind the bus. If you drop something near the bus, tell the bus driver before you attempt to pick it up, so they will know where you are.Never speak to strangers at the bus stop and never get into the car with a stranger. Always go straight home and tell your parent or guardian.
Smoke Alarms - About 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and about 18,300 are injured. Many of them might be alive today if they had only learned what to do if there is a fire. It is very important to have a working smoke alarm with a working battery in your home. If you have that, it greatly lowers your chances of dying in a fire