Each year, fire departments respond to an average of 210 structure fires caused by Christmas trees. Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.
Did you know, it’s Winter Weather Awareness Week?
The week of November 9th through the 14th is Winter Weather Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.
This program is one of many severe weather preparedness events that the National Weather Service (NOAA) coordinates across the country to ensure that people are aware of, and educated about the potential dangers that may be faced as a result of severe weather in their region.
It may be 60 degrees outside today, but soon the temperatures will fall for good and old man winter will be upon us.
So, please take a moment to visit the National Weather Service’s website to learn about winter weather:
- Prepare for Winter Storms
- Weather Terms and Definitions
- Types of Heavy Snow Events that Impact our Region
- Ice Storms
- Winter Flooding
- Frostbite and Hypothermia
You may also download NOAA’s ‘Winter Weather Preparedness Guide‘ as well.
Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries
Courtesy of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, article link:
When Turning Clocks Back After Daylight Saving Time, Replace Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Prevent Household Electrical Fires
Homes today are brimming with state-of-the art technology, entertainment and computer equipment. However, when too many lights and appliances are attached to the electrical system, it will overload and then overheat.
The heat causes the wire insulation to melt and ignite, resulting in an electrical fire.
Please take a moment to view the attached publication provided by the Fire Department, City of New York (FDNY) to learn how to prevent household electrical fires.
PDF Download Link: 10_electricity_home_safety_english
Installing Smoke Alarms Properly
It’s important to have enough smoke alarms in your home. Fire research has demonstrated that with today’s modern furnishings, fires can spread much more rapidly than in the past when more natural materials were used. Because of this, having a sufficient number of properly located smoke alarms is essential to maximize the amount of available escape time. For many years NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, has required as a minimum that smoke alarms be installed inside every sleep room (even for existing homes) in addition to requiring them outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. (Additional smoke alarms are required for larger homes.) Homes built to earlier standards often don’t meet these minimum requirements. Homeowners and enforcement authorities should recognize that detection needs have changed over the years and take proactive steps make sure that every home has a sufficient complement of smoke alarms.
Installing smoke alarms
- Choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
- Install smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- On levels without bedrooms, install alarms in the living room (or den or family room) or near the stairway to the upper level, or in both locations.
- Smoke alarms installed in the basement should be installed on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level.
- Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking.
- Mount smoke alarms high on walls or ceilings (remember, smoke rises). Wall-mounted alarms should be installed not more than 12 inches away from the ceiling (to the top of the alarm).
- If you have ceilings that are pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak (four inches down from the peak).
Figure A.22.214.171.124 from NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (2013 edition).
- Don’t install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
- Never paint smoke alarms. Paint, stickers, or other decorations could keep the alarms from working.
- For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
- When interconnected smoke alarms are installed, it is important that all of the alarms are from the same manufacturer. If the alarms are not compatible, they may not sound.
- There are two types of smoke alarms – ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires, and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, both types of alarms or combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor smoke alarms, are recommended.
- Keep manufacturer’s instructions for reference.
Testing smoke alarms
- Smoke alarms should be maintained according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
- Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning to keep smoke alarms working well. The instructions are included in the package or can be found on the internet.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
- Smoke alarms with any other type of battery need a new battery at least once a year. If that alarm chirps, warning the battery is low, replace the battery right away.
- When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions. Manufacturer’s instructions are specific to the batteries (brand and model) that must be used. The smoke alarm may not work properly if a different kind of battery is used.
Interconnected smoke alarms increase safety
In a Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) survey of households with any fires, including fires in which the fire department was not called, interconnected smoke alarms were more likely to operate and alert occupants to a fire.1 People may know about a fire without hearing a smoke alarm.
- When smoke alarms (interconnected or not) were on all floors, they sounded in 37% of fires and alerted occupants in 15%.
- When smoke alarms were not on all floors, they sounded in only 4% of the fires and alerted occupants in only 2%.
- In homes that had interconnected smoke alarms, the alarms sounded in half (53%) of the fires and alerted people in one-quarter (26%) of the fires.
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