People 40 years ago once had an average of 17 minutes to escape a burning home after the activation of a smoke alarm. Today, that time has dropped to 3 minutes or less due to materials used in furnishings, homes incorporating more open layouts, and lightweight construction materials—all contributing to fires spreading much quicker.
One thing you can do to protect yourself is to close your bedroom door before you fall asleep. The important 5-minute video below demonstrates how a closed bedroom door can potentially save your life during a house fire.
In the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) video above, their research reveals closed bedroom doors dramatically decrease heat and CO levels versus open doors during house fires, providing trapped occupants more time to react and escape if they can do so safely.
When a fire ignites, there’s no time to act. If you would like to learn more about closing your bedroom door at night, please visit https://closeyourdoor.org/.
In this month’s NOVA Public Safety Newsletter, it described how one fast-acting NOVA employee was able to apply the Heimlich Maneuver to a fellow colleague in need. This is an important reminder to refresh yourself on how to perform this life-saving maneuver. Here’s a quick one-minute refresher on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver from the Mayo Clinic.
You can also find more specific step-by-step details on the Mayo Clinic’s A step-by-step guide explaining what to do in a choking emergency website.
Winter isn’t just around the corner—it’s hear today! Make sure your vehicle and emergency vehicle kit are ready to keep you safe and prepared.
Prepare Your Vehicle
- Install good winter tires. Make sure each tire has enough tread.
- Keep your gas tank full. A full tank keeps the fuel line from freezing, and it’s also a good idea in case you lose power.
- Batteries lose power as temperatures drop, so be sure to have yours tested.
- Have your vehicle’s antifreeze level and radiator system checked.
- Proactively replace your car’s worn wiper blades.
- To help with visibility, clean off your car entirely—including your trunk, roof, windows, and headlights.
Making sure your emergency vehicle kit is fully stocked:
- Water, non-perishable food, and an extra set of warm clothes in case you get stranded
- Jumper cables
- Cat litter or sand for better tire traction
- Car cell phone charger
- Ice scraper
- Flares or reflective triangle
For more information about winter vehicle safety, visit: www.ready.gov/car.
Live holiday trees are showing up for sale all over our region. If you purchase one for your family, please read these very important fire safety tips to ensure your family will safety enjoy your live tree.
In the video above, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrates the differences between a well-maintained ‘WATERED’ and ‘DRY’ holiday tree fires. Properly maintaining a cut tree is important to retaining a high moisture content in the branches and needles of the tree. This can help to limit ignition likelihood, fire growth rate, and peak fire size.
Holiday Tree Fire Safety Tips
The video above suggests that keeping your tree watered can reduce its fire risk. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests several steps that you can take to reduce the risk of a holiday tree fire in your home.
- Choose a healthy tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
- Immediately before placing a tree in its stand, cut 5 cm (2 in.) from the base of the trunk; this can help the tree to draw up water. If the cut surface is allowed to dry, it will reduce the water uptake to the tree.
- Always keep the tree well-watered. Make sure to check the water level in the stand daily.
- Make sure that the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source (e.g. space heaters, candles, fireplaces, heat vents, or lights).
- Make sure that the tree does not block an exit.
- Only use decorative lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Make sure light bulbs, strings, and connections are not broken or damaged in any way.
- Always turn off tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
- Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
- Get rid of the tree after the holiday or when it is dry and keep it away from your home/garage. Of the ten days with the largest shares of holiday tree fires, none were before Christmas.
For more detailed information, please visit: https://www.nist.gov/el/fire-research-division-73300/national-fire-research-laboratory-73306/holiday-fire-safety.
Halloween is a fun and spooky time of year. Whether you are participating in Halloween parties or preparing your kids to go out trick or treating, keep in mind the following safety tips to ensure you have a spooky – but safe – Halloween.
- Dried flowers, cornstalks, and crepe paper catch fire easily. Same with decorative spider webs and other decorations. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
- When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
- Remember to keep pathways and exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks exit routes.
- Use a battery-operated candle or glow-stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution.
- Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
- Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
- Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. Have them practice, stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.
For more information, you can visit the National Fire Protection Association.