7131 Bowie Lake Road
Fairview, TN 37062
Fire ChiefScott Hughes
TEL & NON EMERGENCY: (615) 799-3473
FAX: (615) 799-0701
General InformationThe Fire Department became a city department in 2001, with the appointment of its first full-time chief. Effective July 2003, the department began 24-hour protection of the City. The volunteer department served the city for over two decades and the volunteers are still vital in providing protection to the citizens. With implementation of the 24-hour shifts, the department has fourteen full-time firefighters. Fairview's Fire Chief also serves as Fire Marshall and is involved in review of building plans and enforcement of fire codes.
FIRE SAFETY & LIFE SAVING TIPS
INSTALL AND MAINTAIN SMOKE ALARMS
- Make sure working smoke alarms are installed on each level of your home. You may want a family member or friend to assist you.
- Remember to test smoke alarms monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. You may want a family member or friend to assist you.
- Audible alarms should pause with a small window of silence between each successive cycle so that blind or visually impaired people can listen to instructions or voices of others.
Get Out Safely:
A Fact sheet on Fire Escape Planning
More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires, and more than 25,000 are injured. Deaths resulting from failed emergency escapes are particularly avoidable.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), believes that having a sound escape plan will greatly reduce fire deaths and protect you and your family's safety if a fire occurs.
HAVE A SOUND FIRE ESCAPE PLAN
In the event of a fire, remember - time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.
Practice Escaping From Every Room In The Home
Practice escape plans every month. The best plans have two ways to get out of each room. If the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out. A secondary route might be a window onto an adjacent roof or using an Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved 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. Also, practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
Security Bars Require Special Precautions
Security bars may help to keep your family safe from intruders, but they can also trap you in a deadly fire! Windows and doors with security bars must have quick release devices to allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
Immediately Leave The Home
When a fire occurs, do not waste any time saving property. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low, under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases which can disorient you or, at worst, overcome you.
Never Open Doors That Are Hot To The Touch
When you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route.
Designate A Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance
Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor's home to phone the fire department.
Once Out, Stay Out
Remember to escape first, then notify the fire department using the 911 system or proper local emergency number in your area. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Teach children not to hide from firefighters. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.
Finally, having working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home dramatically increases your chances of survival. Smoke alarm batteries need to be tested every month and changed with new ones at least once a year. Also, consider replacing the entire smoke alarm every ten years, or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend.
This is Fire:
A Fact sheet on the Nature of Fire
Every day Americans experience the horror of fire. But most people don't understand fire. Only when we know the true nature of fire can we prepare ourselves and our families. Each year more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), believes that fire deaths can be reduced by teaching people the basic facts about fire. Below are some simple facts that explain the particular characteristics of fire.
Fire is FAST!
There is little time!
In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. Most fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.
Fire is HOT!
Heat is more threatening than flames.
A fire's heat alone can kill. 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. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called flashover.
Fire is DARK!
Fire isn't bright, it's pitch black.
Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you've lived in for years.
Fire is DEADLY!
Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do.
Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.
In the event of a fire, remember time is the biggest enemy and every second counts!
Escape first, then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and designate a meeting place outside. Make sure everyone in the family knows two ways to escape from every room. Practice feeling your way out with your eyes closed. Never stand up in a fire, always crawl low under the smoke and try to keep your mouth covered. Never return to a burning building for any reason; it may cost you your life.
Finally, 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.
Rural Fire Prevention Checklist:
A Fact sheet on Rural Fire Safety and Prevention
Self-reliance is the rule for fire safety for many people. If you live in an area where the local fire department is more than a few minutes away because of travel time or distance, or if you are outside the limits of the nearest town, be sure you know how to be self-reliant in a fire emergency.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA) encourages you to use this fire safety checklist to help you protect yourself, your home and its surroundings from fire. Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility ...Fire Stops With You!
Maintain Home Heating Systems
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
- Insulate chimneys and place spark arresters on top.
- Extend the chimney at least three feet above the roof.
- Remove branches hanging above and around the chimney.
Have A Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
- Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
- Practice fire escape and evacuation plans.
- Mark the entrance to your property with signs that are clearly visible.
- Know which local emergency services are available and have those numbers posted.
- Provide emergency vehicle access through roads and driveways at least 12 feet wide with adequate turnaround space.
Make Your Home Fire-Resistant
- Use fire-resistant and protective roofing and materials like stone, brick and metal to protect your home. Avoid using wood materials that offer the least fire protection.
- Keep roofs and eaves clear of debris.
- Cover all exterior vents, attics and eaves with metal mesh screens no larger than 6 millimeters.
- Install multipane windows, tempered safety glass or fireproof shutters to protect large windows from radiant heat.
- Use fire-resistant draperies for added window protection.
- Keep tools for fire protection nearby: 100 foot garden hose, shovel, rake, ladder and buckets.
- Make sure water sources, such as hydrants and ponds, are accessible to the fire department.
Let Your Landscape Defend Your Property
- Trim grass on a regular basis up to 100 feet surrounding your home.
- Create defensible space by thinning trees and brush within 30 feet around your home.
- Beyond 30 feet, remove dead wood, debris and low tree branches.
- Landscape your property with fire resistant plants and vegetation to prevent fire from spreading quickly.
- Stack firewood at least 30 feet away from your home and other structures.
- Store flammable materials, liquids and solvents in metal containers outside the home, at least 30 feet away from structures and wooden fences.
Follow Local Burning Laws
- Do not burn trash or other debris without proper knowledge of local burning laws, techniques and the safest times of day and year to burn.
- Before burning debris in a wooded area, make sure you notify local authorities and obtain a burning permit.
- Use an approved incinerator with a safety lid or covering with holes no larger than 3/4 inches.
- Create at least a 10 foot clearing around the incinerator before burning debris.
Fire Safety Lasts a Lifetime: A Fire Safety Fact sheet for Older Adults and their Caregivers
People over the age of 65 face the greatest risk of dying in a fire. Last year, more than 1,200 Americans over the age of 65 died in home fires and 3,000 were injured in fire-related incidences.
The United States Fire Administration (USFA), a directorate of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), wants older adults, their caregivers and all Americans to know that there are special precautions you can take to protect yourself and your home from fire.
UNDERSTANDING THE RISK
Why are Older Adults at Risk?
- Decreased mobility, health, sight, and hearing may limit a person's ability to take the quick action necessary to escape during a fire emergency.
- Depending on physical limitations, many of the actions an individual can take to protect themselves from the dangers of fire may require help from a caregiver, neighbor, or outside source.
INSTALL AND MAINTAIN SMOKE ALARMS
- Make sure smoke alarms are installed on each level of your home and outside all sleeping areas.
- Test them monthly and replace the batteries at least once a year.
- Caregivers are encouraged to check the smoke alarms of those who are unable to do it themselves. The chances of surviving a home fire almost doubles with the initial warning from a smoke alarm.
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
Planning fire escape plans around one's capabilities is a key element to fire safety!
- Know at least two exits from every room.
- If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure they can go through the doorways.
- Make any necessary accommoda-tions, such as providing exit ramps and widening doorways to facilitate an emergency escape.
- Unless instructed by the fire department, never use an elevator during a fire.
DON'T ISOLATE YOURSELF
- Speak to your family members, building manager, or neighbors about your fire safety plan and practice it with them.
- Contact your local fire department's non-emergency line and explain your special needs.
- The fire department will probably suggest escape plan ideas and may perform a home fire safety inspection and offer suggestions about smoke alarm placement and maintenance.
- Ask emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.
LIVE NEAR AN EXIT
Although you have the legal right to live where you choose, you'll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building.
- If you live in a multi-story home, arrange to sleep on the ground floor, and near and exit.
BE FIRE-SAFE AROUND THE HOME
The leading cause of residential fire deaths among older adults is careless smoking.
- If you must smoke, never smoke in bed or near an oxygen source, gas stove, or other flammable object.
- When cooking, never approach an open flame while wearing loose clothing and don't leave cooking unattended. Use a timer to remind you of food in the oven.
- Don't overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
- Never use the oven to heat your home. Properly maintain chimneys and space heaters.
- Take special precaution if you are on medication that makes you drowsy.
KNOW YOUR ABILITIES
Remember, fire safety is your personal responsibility ...Fire Stops With You!
Fire Prevention & Safety Tips
Often people believe that there are more fires in the winter months, and that may be so. However, fires caused by candles occur throughout the year and are on the increase nationally. We offer these recommendations to keep you safe.
“Candles can offer a warm ambiance and a festive mood, but they can be dangerous if used carelessly”, said Assistant Fire Marshal Jason Jones. “We urge everyone to take common-sense precautions when decorating with candles this winter season and throughout the year” continued Sells.
The National Fire Protection Association Recommends:
- Use candles only with constant adult supervision.
- Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep.
- Keep candles well away from items that can catch fire, such as Christmas trees, flammable decorations, clothing, books, paper, curtains, etc.
- Make sure candle holders are non-combustible and big enough to collect dripping wax.
- Do not place lit candles in windows, where blinds or curtains can close over them.
- Keep wicks trimmed to ¼ inch, and extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of the holder.
- Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.
- Do not use candles in places where they can be knocked over by children or pets.
Where young children are present:
- Keep candles up high, out of reach of children.
- Never leave a child unattended in a room with a candle. A child should not sleep in a room with a lit candle.
- Keep all matches and lighters up high and out of the sight and reach of children, preferably in a locked cabinet.
During power outages:
- Flashlights and other lights generated by batteries are much safer light sources than candles.
- Try to avoid carrying a lit candle.
- Don't use a candle to go into a closet to look for things.
- Never use a candle for light when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.
- Extinguish all candles when leaving the home or when going to sleep.
Homes and businesses should have address numbers posted to be visible and legible from the street.
- The minimum size should generally be no less than six (6) inches in height.
- Numbers on mailboxes should be posted on both sides of the box or post to be visible to emergency responders from either direction of travel.
- Reflective numbers work well.
- The numbers should contrast with their background.
- Commercial buildings with tenant suites, should also post the tenant suite number at the tenant entrance.
Precautions to take when filling a gasoline container. The following precautions should be taken when filling a container with gasoline from a dispenser:
- Keep gasoline away from ignition sources like heat, sparks, and flames.
- Do not smoke.
- Shut off the vehicle’s engine. Disable or turn off any auxiliary sources of ignition such as a camper or trailer heater, cooking units, or pilot lights.
- Only store gasoline in containers with approved labels as required by federal or state authorities. Never store gasoline in glass or unapproved containers.
- Portable containers must be placed on the ground, and the nozzle must stay in contact with the container when filling, to prevent buildup and discharge of static electricity. Do not fill a container in or on a vehicle, including in car trunks or truck beds. (Placing the container on the ground minimizes any static electricity buildup that could lead to a spark and cause a fire.)
- Fill the container at a slow rate. This will decrease the chance of static ignition buildup and minimize incidents of spillage or splattering.
- Manually control the nozzle valve throughout the filling process.
- Keep your face away from the nozzle or container opening.
- Avoid prolonged breathing of gasoline vapors. Never siphon gasoline by mouth. Do not put gasoline in your mouth—gasoline can be harmful or fatal if swallowed. If someone swallows gasoline, do not induce vomiting. Contact the Emergency Medical Services immediately.
- Keep gasoline away from your eyes and skin, because it may cause irritation.
- Use gasoline only in open areas that get plenty of fresh air.
- Never use gasoline to wash your hands.
- Remove gasoline-soaked clothing immediately.
- Fill container no more than 95 percent full to allow for expansion.
- Place cap tightly on the container after fillingdo not use containers that do not seal properly.
- If gasoline spills on the container, make sure that it has evaporated before you place the container in your vehicle.
- Report spills to the attendant.
- Use gasoline as a motor fuel only.
- When transporting gasoline in a portable container make sure the container is secure from tipping and sliding, and never leave in the direct sunlight or in the trunk of a car.
- There are some on-going studies being done about the use of cellular phones in use during pumping operations. At this point we can only recommend you use good sound judgment when talking on a cell phone while pumping gasoline. If in doubt, don’t do it.
Storage and handling of gasoline
Gasoline must be stored in an approved container or tank. Gasoline containers must also be provided with an approved label as required by federal and state authorities. Storage in anything other than an approved container is strictly prohibited by the fire code.
Gasoline is a flammable liquid and should be stored at room temperature, away from potential heat sources such as the sun, a hot water heater, space heater or a furnace, and away from ignition sources. Gasoline vapors are heavier than air and can travel along the floor to ignition sources. Therefore, appliance pilot lights or ignition devices should be kept more than 50 feet from where gasoline is stored or handled, and elevated at least 18 inches above the floor. Other precautionary measures include:
- Do not smoke where gasoline is handled or stored.
- Always keep gasoline out of reach from children.
- For better ventilation, it is best to handle gasoline outdoors.
- Keep gasoline containers tightly closed and handle them gently to avoid spills.
- Do not mix even a small amount of gasoline with kerosene or diesel.
- Do not use gasoline in kerosene heaters or lamps.
- Store gasoline in a building separate from the house or place of occupancy, such as a shed or garage.
- Put gasoline in a small engine (like a lawnmower) only when the engine and attachments are cool.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
When used properly, portable fire extinguishers can help save lives and property. They are also useful in containing small fires until the fire department arrives.
Portable fire extinguishers are not designed to extinguish large or spreading fires. Even against small fires, they are useful only under certain conditions. Before using a portable fire extinguisher, be sure the fire department has been notified. A few things to remember are.
Fire extinguishers ARE designed for:
- Small fires
- Confined fire areas
- People who are familiar with extinguisher operation
Fire extinguishers ARE NOT designed for:
- Large fires
- Rapidly growing fires
- People who are unfamiliar with fire extinguisher use
Fire extinguishers come in different classes. Know what is on fire and use the proper extinguisher.
- Ordinary Combustibles
- Flammable and Combustible Liquids
- Electrical Equipment
- Home Electronics
- Power Tools
- Flammable Metals
WARNING! Using a fire extinguisher on the wrong class of fire can MAKE THE FIRE WORSE!
Fire extinguishers should be mounted near the exit in the common path of travel, at least 4-inches off the floor, no higher that 5-feet, and the maximum travel distance to an extinguisher should be not more than 75-feet. Extinguishers in homes and businesses should have not less than a 2-A 10-B:C rating.
When a fire occurs always:
- First notify 911, and sound any alarms
- Evacuate immediately
- Rescue anyone in danger
You can try to use a fire extinguisher if you...
- Know the fire is small and confined
- Keep a clear escape route. Don't let the fire get between you and the exit
- Stay low, below the smoke
- If you have any doubt, leave the area
- Leave if fire grows out of control
- Close door to contain fire before you leave
- Wait for the fire department's permission before you re-enter the area
- Attempt to extinguish a large or rapidly growing fire
- Fight fires without an escape route
- Fight fires in a smoke filled room
- Fight fires if you are in doubt
- Assume the fire is out. Wait until the area is inspected by the fire department.
- Ignoring any of these steps can be dangerous and fatal.
Smoke alarms aren't new. The technology has been around since the 1960s. The single-station, battery-powered smoke alarm, similar to the one we know today, became available to consumers in the 1970s. NFPA estimates that 93% of U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm. They save so many lives that most states have laws requiring them in residential dwellings. So, why is all the attention being paid to smoke alarms this Fire Prevention Week?
Still a major problem
Although 13 of every 14 homes have at least one smoke alarm, almost half of home fires and three-fifths of fire deaths occur in the share of homes with no alarms. Thousands of people still die each year in home fires where smoke alarms aren't present.
In addition, there are now more homes with smoke alarms that don't work than homes without alarms at all. These poorly maintained units create a false sense of security among occupants. Approximately one-third of homes with smoke alarms that experience fires have smoke alarms that aren't working, and hundreds of people die each year in these fires.
Tragically, the grave importance of installing and maintaining smoke alarms has not yet been fully realized. Most people who die in home fires are not in the room where the fire starts; working smoke alarms alert people to fire and give them time to escape in a situation where minutes can mean the difference between life and death.
Working smoke alarms save lives
Having a smoke alarm cuts your chance of dying nearly in half if you have a home fire. By properly placing, regularly testing and maintaining your alarms, you can ensure that they are in fact working and will alert you if a fire breaks out. Make sure you buy only those alarms that bear the mark of an independent testing laboratory. Some alarms operate using an "ionization" sensor while others use a"photoelectric" sensor. An ionization alarm uses an extremely small quantity of radioactive material to make the air in the alarm chamber conduct electricity. Smoke from a fire interferes with the electrical current and triggers the alarm. A photoelectric alarm uses a tiny light source shining on a light sensitive sensor. The alarm is triggered when smoke from a fire interferes with the light. All tested and labeled smoke alarms offer adequate protection if they are properly installed and maintained.
Make placement a priority
A recent NFPA report on smoke alarms found that there is a substantial number of households that do not have the devices on every level of the home, as needed. The majority of fire deaths occur at night when people are asleep. NFPA's National Fire Alarm Code (NFPA 72) says homes must have smoke alarms on every level of the home -- including the basement -- and outside each sleeping area. New homes are required to have a smoke alarm in each sleeping area as well.
To slow the spread of smoke and fumes if a fire develops, NFPA suggests that you sleep with your bedroom doors closed. If you sleep with your bedroom doors closed, install a smoke alarm inside each bedroom. alarms should also be installed in other areas of your home where people sleep. In new homes, the National Fire Alarm Code requires hard-wired alarms to be interconnected, so that if one alarm is activated, all alarms will sound the alarm signal. On floors without bedrooms, smoke alarms should be installed in or near living areas, such as family rooms and living rooms.
Alarms that are hard-wired into the home electrical system should be installed by a qualified electrician. If your alarm plugs into a wall socket, make sure it has a restraining device to keep its plug from being pulled out. Never connect an alarm to a circuit that could be turned off at a wall switch. Most alarms are battery-powered and can be installed with a screwdriver and drill and by following the manufacturer's instructions.
"Test Your Alarms! Let's Hear it for Fire Safety"
Since smoke and deadly gases rise, alarms should be placed on the ceiling at least 4 inches from the nearest wall, or high on a wall, 4-12 inches from the ceiling. This 4-inch minimum is important to keep alarms out of possible "dead air" spaces, because hot air is turbulent and may bounce so much it misses spots near a surface. Installing alarms near a window, door or fireplace is not recommended because drafts could detour smoke away from the unit. In rooms where the ceiling has an extremely high point, such as in vaulted ceilings, mount the alarm at or near the ceiling's highest point.
Maintenance is a must
What good are smoke alarms that don't work? No good at all! That's why it is imperative that you keep your smoke alarms fit and in good shape. It's easy. Maintain your smoke alarms by:
Whether your alarms are hard-wired or battery-operated, NFPA recommends testing them once a month to make sure they are operating. A working smoke alarm greatly reduces your chances of dying in a home fire. Testing is the only way to ensure they are working to protect you. Test each alarm by pushing the test button and listening for the alarm. If you can't reach, stand under the alarm and push the test button with a broom handle.
If your smoke alarms are battery operated, replace their batteries according to the manufacturer's instructions. NFPA recommends doing this at least once a year or when the alarm chirps, alerting you that the battery power is low. Replace the batteries immediately if you move into a new home. Make sure no one disables your smoke alarms by borrowing batteries for other uses. Everyone you live with should understand how critical it is to have working smoke alarms.
Just as you clean your home, your smoke alarms need to be cleaned. Make sure you follow the manufacturer's instructions about cleaning. Cobwebs and dust usually can be removed with a vacuum cleaner attachment. If you are going to be doing work nearby that could send dust in the air, cover the alarm with a shield. Also, shield the alarm if you are painting around it, and never paint on it. Remove the shield promptly after work is completed.
Dealing with nuisance alarms
Regularly cleaning your smoke alarms and following the manufacturer's instructions may help stop "nuisance" or false alarms. If this doesn't stop them, install a fresh battery in the alarms giving nuisance alarms. Evaluate where your alarms are placed if the problem still persists. Cooking vapors and steam can set off a smoke alarm. If the alarm is near the kitchen or bathroom, try moving it farther away. If nuisance alarms continue, install a new smoke alarm.
No substitute for smoke alarms
Fire protection in the home must start with smoke alarms. There are many other kinds of alarms which may be designed to detect such factors as high temperatures, rapid changes in temperature, and certain gases produced in fires. However, these alarms are not as effective as smoke alarms in giving the first warning when a fire breaks out. NFPA does not require heat alarms in homes, however, they may be used for optional extra protection in areas like kitchens, attics, and garages, where smoke alarms are susceptible to nuisance alarms.
Tests performed on the speed of warning given by smoke alarms and heat alarms for many types of typical home fires showed smoke alarms consistently give first warning -- often by enough of a margin to make a major difference in your chances of escaping alive. Smoke and deadly gas spread farther and faster than heat.
Contrary to popular belief, the smell of smoke may not wake a sleeping person. Instead, the poisonous gases and smoke produced by a fire can numb the senses and put one into a deeper sleep.
Smoke alarms are cost-effective
A battery-operated smoke alarm for the home retails for less than $20. Smoke alarms with extra features can cost up to $50. Batteries cost $1 to $2, depending on the brand. A smoke alarm for a typical hard-wired system costs $14-$18. Smoke alarms for people with hearing impairments cost approximately $100 each. In 1994, home fires caused $481,000 in damage every hour.
Smoke Detectors and Home Escape Planning Could Save Your Life!
Why a Smoke Detector? Most fires occur at night when people are sleeping. A smoke detector can alert you when there is a fire, in time to save your life. Smoke detectors work by sensing rising smoke from a fire and sounding an alarm.
What Type Should I Buy?
1. Photoelectric uses a photoelectric bulb that sends forth a beam of light. When smoke enters, light from the beam is reflected from smoke particles into a photocell and the alarm is triggered.
2. Ionization Chamber contains a small, safe radiation chamber source that produces electrically charged air molecules called ions. When smoke enters the chamber, it causes a change in the flow of ions, triggering the alarm.
Both are EQUALLY EFFECTIVE and neither requires that you be familiar with its inner workings. As long as you buy a detector that is tested by a major testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), you can be assured it has met certain testing requirements.
Where Should I Install My Detector?
Smoke rises, so the best place to install a detector is on the ceiling or high on an inside wall just below the ceiling. If the detector is below an uninsulated attic or in a mobile home, the detector should be placed on the wall 4 " - 12" below the ceiling.
In a Multi-level home, a detector is needed on each level. On the first floor it should be placed on the ceiling at the base of the stairwell. Detectors should be installed within 15 feet of the bedrooms so they can be heard when the door is closed. But, remember not to install a detector within 3 feet of an air supply register that may blow smoke away. Don't install a detector between an air return and the sleeping area. The smoke will be recirculated and diluted resulting in a delayed alarm.
If you are installing more than one detector you may want to consider purchasing units that can be interconnected. That way when one unit detects smoke, all the detectors will sound the alarm.
How Are Detectors Powered?
Detectors can be powered two ways:
These are the easiest to install. They require no outlets or wiring connection, however, batteries must be replaced twice a year. We recommend you change them in the Spring and in the Fall when you change your clocks. All UL listed battery operated detectors are required to sound a trouble signal when a replacement is needed. The signal usually lasts 7 days, so it's advised to check the efficiency of the detector following extended periods away.
* Household current
Detectors can be powered with household current two ways. They can be plugged into any wall socket or can be wired permanently into your home's electrical system.
During Power Outages: Detectors that are powered solely by household current will not give early warning during times of power outages. The Franklin Fire Department strongly recommends that at least one battery operated detector or a detector with battery back-up is installed and maintained on every level of the home.
How Can I Best Care for My Detector?
Dirt, extreme changes in temperature and cooking exhaust can cause a false alarm or malfunction of the detector. To prevent false alarms, locate the detector away from air vents, air conditioners and fans. Keep the grillwork free of dirt by occasional vacuuming and dusting. Don't paint the cover of a smoke detector as this may clog the grillwork. Test your detector every month or more often if necessary to make sure it's working. This is usually done with the test button, if provided.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
1. What is carbon monoxide (CO) and how is it produced in the home?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. It is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels. Appliances fueled with natural gas, liquified petroleum (LP gas), oil, kerosene, coal, or wood may produce CO. Burning charcoal produces CO. Running cars produce CO.
2. How many people are unintentionally poisoned by CO?
Every year, over 200 people in the United States die from CO produced by fuel-burning appliances (furnaces, ranges, water heaters, room heaters). Others die from CO produced while burning charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent. Still others die from CO produced by cars left running in attached garages. Several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms for treatment for CO poisoning.
Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Experts believe, however, that individuals with greater oxygen requirements such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with coronary or respiratory problems are at greater risk.
3. What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
- Shortness of breath
Many people with CO poisoning mistake their symptoms for the flu or are misdiagnosed by physicians, which sometimes results in tragic deaths.
4. What should you do to prevent CO poisoning?
Make sure appliances are installed according to manufacturer's instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals. Have the heating system (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually. The inspector should also check chimneys and flues for blockages, corrosion, partial and complete disconnections, and loose connections.
Install a CO detector/alarm that meets the requirements of the current UL standard 2034 or the requirements of the IAS 6-96 standard. A carbon monoxide detector/alarm can provide added protection, but is no substitute for proper use and upkeep of appliances that can produce CO. Install a CO detector/alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the detector cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies.
- Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
- Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
- Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
- Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skills, and tools. Always refer to the owner's manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning appliances.
- Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers for heating your home.
- Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room with closed doors or windows or in any room where people are sleeping.
- Do not use gasoline-powered tools and engines indoors. If use is unavoidable, ensure that adequate ventilation is available and whenever possible place engine unit to exhaust outdoors.
5. What CO level is dangerous to your health?
The health effects of CO depend on the level of CO and length of exposure, as well as each individual's health condition. The concentration of CO is measured in parts per million (ppm). Health effects from exposure to CO levels of approximately 1 to 70 ppm are uncertain, but most people will not experience any symptoms. Some heart patients might experience an increase in chest pain. As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms may become more noticeable (headache, fatigue, nausea). As CO levels increase above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.
6. What should you do if you are experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning?
If you think you are experiencing any of the symptoms of CO poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors for more ventilation, turn off any combustion appliances, and leave the house. Call your fire department and report your symptoms. You could lose consciousness and die if you do nothing. It is also important to contact a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis. Tell your doctor that you suspect CO poisoning is causing your problems. Prompt medical attention is important if you are experiencing any symptoms of CO poisoning when you are operating fuel-burning appliances. Before turning your fuel-burning appliances back on, make sure a qualified service person checks them for malfunction.
7. What has changed in CO detectors/alarms recently?
CO detectors/alarms always have been and still are designed to alarm before potentially life-threatening levels of CO are reached. The UL standard 2034 (1998 revision) has stricter requirements that the detector/alarm must meet before it can sound. As a result, the possibility of nuisance alarms is decreased.
8. What should you do when the CO detector/alarm sounds?
Never ignore an alarming CO detector/alarm. If the detector/alarm sounds: Operate the reset button. Call your emergency services (fire department or 911). Immediately move to fresh air -- outdoors or by an open door/window.
9. How should a consumer test a CO detector/alarm to make sure it is working?
Consumers should follow the manufacturer's instructions. Using a test button, some detectors/alarms test whether the circuitry, as well as the sensor which senses CO, is working, while the test button on other detectors only tests whether the circuitry is working. For those units which test the circuitry only, some manufacturers sell separate test kits to help the consumer test the CO sensor inside the alarm.
10. What is the role of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in preventing CO poisoning?
CPSC worked closely with Underwriters Laboratories (UL) to help develop the safety standard (UL 2034) for CO detectors/alarms. CPSC helps promote carbon monoxide safety awareness to raise awareness of CO hazards and the need for regular maintenance of fuel-burning appliances. CPSC recommends that every home have a CO detector/alarm that meets the requirements of the most recent UL standard 2034 or the IAS 6-96 standard in the hallway near every separate sleeping area. CPSC also works with industry to develop voluntary and mandatory standards for fuel-burning appliances.
11. Do some cities require that CO detectors/alarms be installed?
On September 15, 1993, Chicago, Illinois became one of the first cities in the nation to adopt an ordinance requiring, effective October 1, 1994, the installation of CO detectors/alarms in all new single-family homes and in existing single-family residences that have new oil or gas furnaces. Several other cities also require CO detectors/alarms in apartment buildings and single-family dwellings.
12. Should CO detectors/alarms be used in motor homes and other recreational vehicles?
CO detectors/alarms are available for boats and recreational vehicles and should be used. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association requires CO detectors/alarms in motor homes and in towable recreational vehicles that have a generator or are prepped for a generator.
Locking FDC Caps
For several years the fire department encountered trash, bird nests, and other obstructions in automatic fire sprinkler piping during routine inspections. Fortunately no building was lost because the fire department could not support the sprinkler system because of obstructed piping. However, the common condition was a serious offense of the fire code and threatened the building and the lives of its occupants and firefighters that would enter under fire conditions.
When searching for a way to protect the integrity of the sprinkler system an article in a trade magazine advertised the Knox FDC Cap. The cap does several things including:
- Protects sprinkler system against vandalism
- Guarantees clean connection lines
- Eliminates damage to connection threads
- Assures FDC control by fire department
- Prevents frequent cap replacement
- Provides easy-on, easy-off access
- Eliminates trash, bird nests, and other obstructions
Winter Fires-Safety Tips for the Home
Many homeowners and residents search for some type of auxiliary heating appliance. Supplemental heating is growing more popular as the cost of winter heating increases. Many people turn to kerosene heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces, and electric space heaters. All of these methods of heating are acceptable. However, they do represent a major contributing factor in the ignition of residential fires. Many of these fires can be prevented minding fire safety and following these recommendations.
- Be sure your heater is in good working condition and look for excessive carbon build-up on exhaust parts. Every heater should have an emergency shut-off in case the heater is tipped over.
- Any time a heater is in operation the room or area must be ventilated to prevent the build-up of the products of combustion. Burning fuel produces deadly fumes.
- Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations for the type of fuel to use. Never use a fuel in a heater that is not designed for that type of heater.
- Keep kerosene and other fuels in an appropriate container in well-ventilated storage areas outside the home and out of reach of children.
- Never fill the heater while it is in operation or while it is hot. Pay particular attention to not overfill the unit. Cold fuel may expand in the tank when it warms up.
- Refueling should be done outside of the home and after the unit has cooled down.
- Keep children safely away from kerosene heaters—especially when they are wearing nightgowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited. Small children and toddlers may not be aware the heater is HOT. Keep them within your sight…they are counting on you for their safety.
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
- Be sure the stove or fireplace is installed properly. Wood stoves should be located at least 36 inches from combustible surfaces, including walls, room furnishings and contents.
- Wood stoves should be purchased from a quality manufacturer and bear a UL listing or be listed by another testing agency.
- Have the chimney inspected annually by a certified chimney sweep and cleaned as needed. Some chimneys may need to be swept semi-annually.
- Do not use flammable or combustible liquids to start or accelerate a fire.
- Keep glass doors or a metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers and sparks from escaping or a log from rolling out of the firebox.
- To prevent burns to the flooring or carpet outside the hearth, a flame resistant rug may be used.
- Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to start the fire. Burning paper can be drafted up the chimney and ignite creosote.
- Never use charcoal or charcoal lighter fluid to start a fire inside.
- Keep combustible materials and decorations a safe distance from the fireplace opening. Pay particular attention to hanging items on the mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
- Before you go to sleep, be sure your fire is out and the ashes have cooled. Never close the damper with hot ashes in the firebox. A closed damper will help fire and ashes to generate heat and produce carbon monoxide.
- When using synthetic logs, follow the directions on the package. Never break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
- Be sure furnace controls work properly.
- Leave furnace repairs to qualified professionals.
- Gas fired fireplaces and furnaces should be checked annually to insure proper combustion.
- Homes with a gas fired fireplace and or furnace should have carbon monoxide detector(s) installed for life safety.
Other Fire Safety Tips
- Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home, in a dumpster, municipal trashcan, or near any thing combustible. Place them in a metal container and allow cooling for 24 hours, or soak with water before disposing them.
- Never use a range or oven as a supplementary heating source. It may be a safety hazard and a source of potentially toxic fumes.
- If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Use only extension cords that have the necessary rating capacity to carry the amp load. Discontinue use if trouble signs appear.
- Avoid using an electric heater in bathrooms, or areas where it may come in contact with water. Not only is it a fire hazard but it presents a life safety hazard as well.
- Keep electric heaters 36 inches from combustible materials and decorations.
- Frozen water pipes? Never thaw them with a propane torch or other open flame. The open flame may ignite plastic pipes and metal pipes can conduct heat to combustible structural materials and result in a fire. Use hot water or a hair dryer. Extreme caution should be observed when attempting to thaw pipes with an electric device under mobile homes and in crawl spaces or other areas where moisture may be present.
- Be sure that windows used for escape operate in cold weather.
- Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke detector, and be sure to check it and clean it on a monthly basis.
- Contact the Fairview Fire Department for advice and questions on Home Fire Safety.