Safety Tips
 Andover Volunteer Fire Department           Emergency Calls: 911        Routine Calls: 860-742-7477
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 CANDLES The NFPA states a candle is an open flame. It can easily ignite any combustible nearby. Many lives have been lost and property destroyed because people misuse candles. With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind: Use candles only with constant adult supervision. Extinguish all candles when leaving a room or going to sleep. Do not place lit candles in windows, where blinds or curtains can close over them. During power outages, flashlights and other lights generated by batteries are much safer light sources than candles. Don't use a candle to go into a closet to look for things. These and other tips can be found at NFPA's website. Top 
CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTORS The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommend a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, including the basement. A detector should be located within 10 feet of each bedroom door and there should be one near or over any attached garage. Each detector should be replaced every five to six years. Like smoke detectors, these are another life saving device. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a deadly, colorless, odorless gas produced when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, oil and methane do not burn completely. Typical symptoms of CO poisoning include headache and/or nausea. Prolonged exposure can lead to difficulty breathing and death. Be sure to install and maintain your CO Detector according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you are experiencing CO poisoning symtoms and you suspect a CO problem in your home, get everyone out of the house and contact 911. Keep the windows and doors closed to help us locate the possible source. Top
Andover Volunteer Fire Department Safety Tips
CHIMNEY FIRES Many homes use wood stoves and fireplaces for heating. Keeping the chimney clean and free of creosote is very important. A fire in the chimney is dangerous because it can break through the mansonry and get into the house. It can also weaken the structure making the chimney a potential collapse hazard. Not all chimney fires detected right away. The Chimney Safety Institute of America has a lot of good information about your chimney. This page of their website is specific to chimney fires. Top 
CHRISTMAS TREES Buy a fresh Christmas tree. If the needles are already falling off, the tree is too dry and should not be purchased. Once a tree is selected, leave it outside until it is time to decorate it. Be sure the tree is securely fastened in a sturdy holder filled with water. It is a good idea to trim at least a one-inch piece from the bottom of the tree after purchase. This increases the tree's ability to absorb water. During the period of time that your tree is indoors, water it regularly. Do not locate the tree in an area where it will be subjected to intense heat, such as near a woodstove or heater. Be careful not to block exit paths and doorways with the tree. Use Christmas lights which utilize lower wattage bulbs or are of the "twinkle" type. This type generates less heat under prolonged use. Be certain all light strings are in good condition and operating properly. Tighten bulbs in sockets to prevent sparks. Don't overload electrical circuits by plugging too many cords into a single outlet. All circuits should be protected by the proper fuse, appropriately matched to the appliances being utilized. Christmas lights should always be turned off when no one is home or whenever everyone has retired for the evening. Never use candles or any open flame device on Christmas trees. Want to see why? These and other tips can be found at NFPA's website. Top 
CLOTHES DRYERS Dryers generate a lot of heat which makes them a potential starting point for a fire. The most common cause of dryer fires is the lint screen. Simply clean the lint off the screen before using the dryer and you've eliminated a big fire hazard. Top 
ESCAPE ROUTES Know a couple of ways to get out of the rooms in your home. Especially in the dark... or in smoke. Have a place outside where the family will meet. Make a drawing of your home and show the fastest way out and to the meeting place. The NFPA's website has some good info. Top 
EMERGENCY EXITS Most people exit an unfamiliar building through the same door they entered the building. This can be very dangerous in an emergency. Imagine lots of people trying to quickly get out the same door at the same time. This has resulted in injury and death. So what do you do? Note the location of at least one or two other exits after entering the building. If there is an emergency and you have to leave the building, don't panic. Walk to one of the exits and get out. And don't go back in! Top 
FIREPLACES & WOODSTOVES According to FEMA, more than one-third of Americans use firepalces or woodstoves to heat their homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks. Here are a few things to be aware of: Use a screen in front of fireplaces. Keep the area nearby clear of objects. Use seasoned wood. Don't burn trash (this pollutes the air, too). Dispose the ashes in a metal container outside and away from the building. Top 
HALLOWEEN Below are suggestions from the NFPA for a safer Halloween: Purchase only those costumes, wigs and props labeled as flame resistant or retardant. When creating a costume, plan carefully to ensure that it won't easily ignite if it comes in contact with heat or flame. Costumes should be made without billowing or long trailing features that present a higher risk of ignition. Avoid highly flammable fabrics and accessories. When planning party decorations, bear in mind that dried flowers and cornstalks are highly flammable. Keep crepe paper and other decorations well away from all heat sources, including light bulbs, heaters, etc. Decorating with candles should be avoided. Pumpkins can be safely illuminated with small, inexpensive flashlights. When decorating, remember to keep exits clear. Be sure children are supervised at all times. With a little creativity, using flashlights instead of candles or torch lights to decorate walkways and yards is highly effective in creating a festive atmosphere and it's much safer for trick-or-treaters. Instruct children to stay away from open flames or other heat sources. Be sure each child knows the stop, drop and roll technique in the event their clothing catches fire. (Stop immediately, drop to the ground covering your face with your hands, and roll over and over to extinguish the flames.) Instruct children who are attending parties at others' homes to locate the exits and plan how they would get out in an emergency. Provide children with lightweight flashlights to carry for lighting or as part of their costume instead of candles. Here are some suggestions from your favorite Fire Department: Do your Trick or Treating in neighborhoods known to you. An adult should accompany small children. Be on the alert for cars and carry and use a flashlight. Have an adult check the goodies (but kids, watch them so they won't eat everything). Top 
HOUSE NUMBERS Be sure your house number is visible from the road. Put the numbers on your mailbox or a post near your driveway. Use numbers that are at least 3 inches tall. Think about using the reflecting type! Better yet, purchase a sign from us. Click here for an order form. Try this test: Next time you drive home, make believe you are the person driving the fire truck, ambulance, or police car. You've never been to your house before and the only way to find it is by looking for the house number. What are you looking for? The mailbox? Is it easy to find? How well did you see the numbers? Try the same test at night. Top 
ICE Ice strength depends upon thickness, snow cover, changes in temperature, depth of the water under the ice, water flow (current), and water level. Schools of fish under the ice will also affect the integrity of the ice. The following principles should be adhered to at all ponds and lakes where ice skating or ice fishing activities take place. Ice clouded with air bubbles should be avoided. Although it may appear as solid ice, this ice is typically weak!. Ice must freeze to a uniform depth of at least four inches before it is firm enough for group skating or ice fishing. Skaters and others should not go near partially submerged obstacles such as stumps and rocks where ice is weaker, and these dangerous areas should be clearly identified and avoided. Ice over moving water is probably unsafe and should be avoided. Ice should be examined for man-made hazards such as where ice has broken or been cut, and these hazards should be clearly identified. Never permit skating or ice fishing alone. Adults should constantly supervise children skating, and skating should occur within a restricted area. When a person falls through the ice, he or she should not attempt to climb out immediately, but rather, should kick to the surface and get horizontal in the water with their legs back of the torso, rather than underneath, in order to avoid jackknifing the body beneath the ice. Once the body is horizontal, the person should attempt to slide forward onto the ice. Once out of the water, the person should avoid standing near the broken ice. Roll away from the break area instead until you are several body lengths away from the ice break. Top 
SEAT BELTS Please wear them. Like smoke detectors, they help save lives. We have seen enough accidents where people would be a lot better off (translate that to "alive") if they had worn their seat belt. Wear them even if your car is equipped with air bags. And car seats belted in are a must for small children. Not only is it smart, it's the law in Connecticut. Top 
SMOKE DETECTORS Use them! They are cheap and they save lives. Remember to change the batteries at least once a year. To help you remember, pick a "special" day or event. For example, Fire Prevention Week is a logical time. Your birthday (so you can make it to the next one) is usually a day you remember (though some of us just as soon not). The point is, pick a time and change those batteries. Top
STOP, DROP and ROLL Why are only children taught to do this? Adults' clothes can catch fire, too. Here's what EVERYONE should do: STOP where you are. DROP to the ground or floor. ROLL and roll and roll. Cover your face and mouth. Call 911 for help once the fire is out. Top
TURKEY FRYERS Great way to cook a turkey but it has to be done safely. Here's information from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is issuing safety tips for preventing fires and burns when using turkey fryers. Since 1998, CPSC has reports of 75 incidents that involved fires, flames, or burns associated with turkey fryers. Twenty-eight of these incidents were reported for the year 2002. Here are some of the hazard scenarios: House fires associated with turkey fryers leading to injuries and property damage Ignition of oil used with turkey fryers. This was often related to oil reaching excess temperatures or oil contacting the open flame of the fryer. Splashing of hot oil causing burns. The majority of reported incidents occurred while the oil was being heated, prior to adding the turkey. For this reason, it is very important consumers monitor the temperature of the oil closely. If any smoke at all is noticed coming from a heating pot of oil, the burner should be turned off immediately because the oil is overheated. There is a risk of injury resulting from splashing due to the cooking of partially frozen meats. Thoroughly thaw and dry ALL meats before cooking in hot oil. One reported burn incident occurred when partially frozen chicken wings were added to hot oil in a turkey fryer. CPSC staff is working with industry and voluntary standards organizations to improve the safety standard for turkey fryers. CPSC staff recommends consumers who choose to fry turkeys follow the following safety guidelines: Keep fryer in FULL VIEW while burner is on. Place fryer in an open area AWAY from all walls, fences, or other structures. Never use IN, ON, or UNDER a garage, breezeway, carport, porch, or any structure that can catch fire. Raise and lower food SLOWLY to reduce splatter and avoid burns. COVER bare skin when adding or removing food. Check the oil temperature frequently. If oil begins to smoke, immediately turn gas supply OFF. If a fire occurs, immediately call 911. DO NOT attempt to extinguish fire with water. For safest operation, CPSC staff recommends that consumers follow these guidelines as they prepare to use a turkey fryer: Make sure there is at least 2 feet of space between the liquid propane tank and fryer burner. Place the liquid propane gas tank and fryer so that any wind blows the heat of the fryer away from the gas tank. Center the pot over the burner on the cooker. Completely thaw (USDA says 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds) and dry turkey before cooking. Partially frozen and/or wet turkeys can produce excessive hot oil splatter when added to the oil. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to determine the proper amount of oil to add. If those are not available: Place turkey in pot Fill with water until the turkey is covered by about 1/2 inch of water Remove and dry turkey Mark water level. Dump water, dry the pot, and fill with oil to the marked level. Top
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