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Fire safety 'Must Haves' list

January 21, 2010 3:19:31 PM PST
Nassau County chief fire marshal Vincent McManus has developed a list of seven "must-haves" for fire safety.They are as follows:

1. SMOKE DETECTORS

Working smoke detectors are your first and best early warning of a fire in your home. Humans lose the ability to smell when sleeping, smoke detectors do it for us. Working smoke detectors give us precious seconds to escape a rapidly growing fire. Smoke Detectors should be tested monthly, and their batteries changes twice a year.

2. CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS

Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas that suffocates our cells when inhaled. Carbon Monoxide is produced by fires, running vehicles, and by all fuel burning appliances. Carbon Monoxide detectors protect us by monitoring the air we breathe. Should your carbon monoxide detector activate, move all family members to fresh air immediately, and call first responders.

3. PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

Portable fire extinguishers can be a valuable part of your family's overall safety preparedness ONLY when their role is fully understood. Portable fire extinguishers may be used to extinguish small fires in their beginning stages. If the fire is not IMMEDIATELY extinguished, the extinguisher should then be used to insure your safe exit from the structure. For that reason, portable fire extinguishers should always be located at doorways that lead out of the structure, and in the path of egress (or exit).

4. FAMILY FIRE ESCAPE PLAN

Every family needs a Fire Escape Plan. A fire escape plan should be developed by the entire family, so that each family is familiar with it. The plan should include two (2) ways of escape from every room in the event of fire. The plan should also include a safe meeting place outside the building for all to gather once out. As your plan may include the use of windows or fire escapes for exiting, family members must be familiar with their operation. Two important elements of escaping a fire are to "Stay Low and Go" (referring to crawling under smoke close to the floor for fresh air) and "Get Out / Stay Out" (referring to never "re-entering" a burning building once out safely).

5. FAMILY FIRST AID KIT

Every family should have a family first aid kit. The kit should contain items to treat minor injuries in and around your home, as well as items to keep more severe injuries from becoming worse before first responders can arrive. The kit should be easily identifiable and stored in a location known to all family members. In or on the kit should be the telephone numbers for first responders in your area, as well as your address, as it may be forgotten in a time of crisis.

6. FAMILY EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS KIT

Every family should have an emergency preparedness kit. A family emergency preparedness kit (or GO BAG) should be at the ready, if you and your family have to leave your home quickly due to a disaster, family emergency, severe weather situation, or other emergency. Your emergency preparedness kit should include such items as; Water, Food, Can Opener should your food require it, Flashlight with extra batteries, Local Maps, Portable Radio with extra batteries or hand crank, Personal Hygiene Items, A Warm Blanket, First Aid Kit, Necessary Medications and Glasses, Cash or Travelers Checks and change, Change of Clothing, Pad and Pencil, and Copies of your important documents such as Insurance Policy, Bank Account Information, and Personal Identification.

More information on a FAMILY EMERGENCY PREPARDENESS KIT can be found at Ready.gov

7. THE SEVENTH "MUST HAVE" IS THE MOST IMPORTANT...A POSITIVE ATTUTIDE TOWARD FIRE SAFETY & EMERGENCY PLANNING

The most important element of your family's safety does not cost a thing. All it takes is time from your busy day, to make safety a priority for your family. Remember...a smoke detector with a dead or missing battery will NOT SAVE YOUR LIFE. A Carbon Monoxide Detector bought and not installed will NOT SAVE YOUR LIFE. A Portable Fire Extinguisher which is empty, hidden, or missing will NOT SAVE YOUR LIFE. A Family Fire Escape Plan not practiced and rehearsed may COST YOU YOUR LIFE.


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