It’s Fire Prevention Week! This year the National Fire Protection Association is reiterating the importance of planning at least two ways out when creating your fire escape plan.
About only half of Americans have developed a home fire escape plan – a quarter of those have never even practiced it. Planning (and practicing!) an escape route from your home can be the difference between life and death if there is ever a fire in your home. A regularly practiced fire escape plan can ensure that everyone in the home knows what to do and where to go when there’s a fire.
Home fires can spread very quickly, and that is why it is so important to plan at least two ways out of every room. If the fire spreads and blocks your first path out, you need to be able to react quickly and move on to plan B.
Your home fire escape plan should include working smoke alarms on every level of the home, as well as in every bedroom. There should be two ways out of every room, usually a door and a window. The escape plan should also include a clear path to an outdoor meeting place (like a tree or mailbox) that is a safe distance from the home. Once you’ve created your home escape plan, be sure to practice it at least twice a year with all members of the household, including pets!
Approximately 500,000 pets are affected by house fires each year. Many house fires are caused by pets, especially when left home alone. Read over these tips to help prevent any accidental fire started by your pets and for keeping your pets safe in the event there is a fire in your home. Make sure you include your dog, cat, or other pets in your family’s emergency plan.
Prevent Your Pets From Starting A Fire
- Beware of candles and other open flames. Dogs are curious creatures and may take interest in a flickering flame. If you do have any open flames in your home at any time, be sure to never leave them unattended and to keep an eye on your pets. If you’re using a fireplace, consider getting a fireplace screen to protect pets when sleeping in front of the fire. Also make sure the fire is completely out before heading out or going to bed. Small sparks and coals can get through a screen and result in a fire.
- Secure wires and cords. Pets are often tempted to chew on loose wires and cords. Exposed wires can be a fire hazard, so consider securing any electrical objects so that their cords are out of reach.
- Don’t use glass bowls for your pets’ water. When filtered and heated through glass, the sun’s rays can ignite the wood beneath the bowl and set a deck in flames. Try using a stainless steel or ceramic bowl instead.
Keep Your Pets Safe After/During A Fire
- Place a pet fire sticker on the door or window. In the event of a fire when you’re away, having a pet sticker will help rescuers know how many pets to look for, saving valuable time and hopefully your pets.
- Use monitored smoke detectors. Pets left home alone can’t escape on their own when there’s a fire. Monitored smoke detectors contact emergency responders when you’re not home and add an extra layer of protection beyond that of battery-operated smoke alarms.
- Keep pets near entrances when you’re away from home. Keep collars (with ID tags) on your pets at all times and leave leashes by the entrance or somewhere easy to find in an emergency. This will help firefighters to find and rescue your pets when they arrive.
- Know where your pets’ hiding spots are. It’s important that you can find your pets quickly if there’s a fire. Know where your pets like to sleep and especially where they like to go when they are scared or anxious (under the bed or hidden in a quiet corner of the house somewhere)
- Have an emergency plan in place and make sure everyone in the house knows what to do in the event of a fire. Know who will be in charge of getting your pets outside safely. Have someone in charge of leashes and pet carriers so that they can be safely secured once you’re outside. In the event that you can’t find your pet when exiting, leave doors and windows open on your way out and call to them so that they come out on their own.
- Practice fire drills with your pets. It is important to include your pets in the family fire drills. Practice finding them and getting out of the house. Also practice the “open access” scenario where you leave an exit open (preferably the one they’re most comfortable with) and call to them to come out of the home. The more you practice, the more likely they are to come out in the event of an actual fire.
If you have any questions or require restoration services due to fire damage in your home, call SERVPRO of Tustin at (714)480-1340. Our crews are available 24/7 for services.
Enjoying the great outdoors during the summertime can be fun. Nothing says summer quite like sitting around the campfire sharing stories and making s’mores. But that campfire is also a huge responsibility. Everyone in California knows the damage a wildfire can bring, so before you go out and make a campfire, it’s important you learn how to be safe when building your campfire or bonfire, whether in the woods or in your backyard.
Pick the Right Campfire Location
- If the campground or area where you are prohibits campfires, then DO NOT build one. Digging pits can be prohibited due to any number of various concerns. Whatever the reason, there is a reason – so be sure to follow the rules.
- DO NOT build a campfire under hazardous or dry conditions. Dry air increases the risk of wildfires.
- If there is an existing fire ring or pit, then use that. If not, choose a site that is at least 15 feet from tent walls, trees, shrubs, or other flammable objects. Be mindful of low hanging branches.
- When building a campfire or bonfire, choose a location that is open and away from heavy fuels such as logs, brush, or decaying leaves.
- Always be aware of wind strength and direction. If the wind picks up and direction changes, there could suddenly be embers and ashes flying into easily flammable areas. Choose a spot that is protected from gusts of wind.
How to Prepare a Campfire Pit
There may not always be a campfire pit already prepared when you arrive on a campsite. If that’s the case, don’t panic! Follow these simple steps to preparing your own fire pit.
- Start off by clearing an area that is 10 feet in diameter around the campsite. Remove any grass, twigs, leaves, or firewood while you do so.
- Dig a pit about one foot deep in the dirt or sand.
- Circle the pit with rocks and you’re ready to go!
Building Your Campfire
Your pit is ready, now it’s time to build your fire!
- Before you do anything, make sure you have a source of water, a bucket, and a shovel nearby at all times.
- You’ll have to gather three types of wood from the ground. Tinder can be small twigs and dry leaves, grass, and needles. For kindling you should look for sticks smaller than 1″ around. Your fuel will be larger pieces of wood. Keep these stacked upwind and away from the fire.
NEVER cut whole trees or branches, dead or alive. Live materials won’t burn, and you’ll also be damaging the forest. Dead standing trees can often be homes for birds or other wildlife.
- Loosely pile a few handfuls of your tinder in the center of the fire pit.
- Add the kindling in one of four methods: Teepee, Lean-to, Cross, or Log Cabin.
- Ignite the tinder with a match or lighter. (If you use a match, wait until it is cold to discard it onto the fire)
- As the fire grows, continue to add more tinder.
- Blow lightly at the base of the fire.
- Add kindling and fuel (the larger firewood) to the keep the fire going.
- Now that you have built your fire, keep it small and under control.
Extinguishing Your Campfire
- If possible, allow the wood to burn completely to ash.
- Pour A LOT of water onto the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Keep pouring until the hissing sound stops.
- If you do not have water, stir dirt and sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire.
- Using your shovel, scrape any remaining sticks and logs to remove any embers. Make sure there aren’t any embers are exposed or still smoldering.
- Continue to add water, dirt or, sand, and stir with a shovel until all material is cool.
- If it’s too hot to touch, it’s too hot to leave.
There you have it! Have fun but most importantly, be safe when building a campfire!!
Contact SERVPRO of Tustin for any fire damage cleanup needs (714)480-1340
Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for family and friends to come together and enjoy a delicious meal, but it can also be a potentially dangerous situation. Thanksgiving is the number one day for home fires involving cooking equipment, so be sure to practice these safety tips courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association:
- Remain in the kitchen while you’re cooking, and keep a close eye on what you fry! Always stay in the kitchen while frying, grilling or broiling food. If you have to leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. Regularly check on food that’s simmering, baking or roasting, and use a timer to remind you that you’re cooking.
- Stay in the home when cooking your turkey and check on it frequently.
- Keep any items that can catch fire such as oven mitts, recipes, towels, and food packaging away from the stove
- Keep children away from the stove. The stove will be hot and kids should stay 3 feet away.
- Make sure kids stay away from hot food and liquids. The steam or splash from vegetables, gravy or coffee could cause serious burns.
- Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over kids, toys, pocketbooks or bags.
- Keep knives out of the reach of children.
- Be sure electric cords from an electric knife, coffee maker, plate warmer or mixer are not dangling off the counter within easy reach of a child.
- Keep matches and utility lighters out of the reach of children — up high in a locked cabinet.
- Never leave children alone in room with a lit candle.
- Make sure your smoke alarms are working. Test them by pushing the test button.
- If you’re cooking a turkey using a disposable aluminum pan, consider doubling up and using two pans to avoid a puncture, as dripping turkey juices can cause an oven fire.
- If you have a small (grease) cooking fire on the stove-top and decide to fight the fire: Smother the flames by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled. For an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
In the event of a serious fire at home, call 911 or your local fire department right away.
Call SERVPRO of Tustin at (714) 480-1340. 24/7 Emergency Services and our expert specialists are standing by to answer any questions you may have or to respond to your emergency.