Fire Prevention Week 2011 – Clothes Dryers

Day 7 of Fire Prevention Week and we’re at the last day of providing fire prevention and fire safety tips. Today we’re going to focus on the hazards associated with clothes dryers.

Did you know the top cause of fires started by clothes dryers, was failure to simply keep them clean? Follow these simple tips to minimize the chance of a clothes dryer fire.

  • Always make sure the lint filter is clean and don’t operate the dryer without the filter. Make sure the interior is free of lint.
  • Use rigid or flexible metal exhaust duct. Never use exhaust duct made of plastic or any material that is capable of burning.
  • If you notice clothes are taking a longer time to dry, check interior and exterior exhaust vent openings. At the interior opening, check for excessive lint build-up or any other foreign material obstructing the passageway. At the exterior opening make sure the outdoor vent flaps open when the dryer is operating. Make sure the opening is free of foreign material (ice, snow, bird nests, etc.). If you notice excessive lint build-up you may need to hire a professional to clean. The vents should be checked at least once a year or more if necessary.
  • Keep the dryer free and clear of materials that could potentially burn (clothes, boxes, cleaning supplies, etc.)
  • Any rags or clothes in contact with flammable materials (paints, solvents, gas, etc.) should first be laid to dry outdoors, then washed, and last in the clothes dryer.
  • Maintain dryers in good operating condition. Gas dryers should be inspected as recommended by the manufacturer to ensure gas lines and fittings are tight and free of leaks.
  • Make sure the correct plug and electrical outlets are used and the dryer is connected per manufacturer instructions.
  • Always follow operating instructions from the manufacturer. Avoid overloading the dryer.
  • This is the last day of Fire Prevention Week 2011. We hope you enjoyed our series. Make sure to always follow good safety practice throughout the year.

  • Fire Prevention Week 2011 – Electrical Safety

    Day 6 of Fire Prevention Week. Today we”re going to focus on electrical safety.

    Did you know the top causes of electrical fires are faulty electrical systems, lamps/light fixtures/light bulbs, and extension cords? Electrical fires contribute on average 24,000 home fires per year with approximately 320 fatalities and 830 injuries.

    Follow these tips to minimize the chance of electrical fires occurring in your home.

  • Consider hiring a qualified electrician to conduct an inspection of your entire electrical system when buying or making renovations to your home.
  • Have a qualified electrician vist your home if circuit breakers trip or fuses blow frequently, experience any tingling when touching appliances, outlet are warm or discolored, lights are flickering, and sparks are coming from outlets.
  • Replace damaged electrical cords and power supply units.
  • Don”t run extension cords under carpets, mats, or doorways. Don”t rely on extension cords to be a permanent power solution. Consider additional electrical outlets if feasible.
  • If you have young children provide tamper covers for all electrical outlets.
  • Dont”t overload electrical outlets. Any type of heat generating appliance (hair dryer, coffee maker, toaster, etc.), should be plugged in one at a time directly to the electrical receptacle.
  • Lamps should be placed on sturdy level surfaces. Never hang or place anything on top of, or near lamps and light fixtures. Radian heat from lamps or fixtures are a potential ignition source to start fire. Make sure replacement bulbs and fixtures match the recommended wattage.
  • Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) provide protection from electrical shock. GFCIs should be provided in all bathrooms, kitchens, laundry, basement, and outdor areas.
  • Consider installing Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs). AFCIs are designed to continuously monitor electrical current in a circuit and minimize the potential of arcing as a potential ignition source. IF the AFCI detects any unintended arcing it will trip and shutdown the circuit.
  • Join us our last day tomorrow as Fire Prevention Week 2011 comes to a successful conclusion.

    Fire Prevention Week 2011 – Candles

    Day 5 of Fire Prevention Week. Today we’re going to focus on candles.

    Did you know fire departments respond to home fires caused by candles every 30 minutes? Approximately 1/3 of fires caused by candles occur in the bedroom with nearly 50% of candle flames being the source of ignition when combustible materials are nearby. Some tips to consider to reduce the risk of candle fires in your home.

  • Make sure candles are free of anything nearby that could potentially burn. A minimum separation distance of 12 inches should be maintained from candles and any nearby combustible materials.
  • Never leave rooms where candles are unattended. If you are going to leave the room make sure to blow out the candles.
  • Avoid lighting candles in bedrooms and any other sleeping areas where people can easily forget to blow candles out.
  • Make sure candles are firmly held in candle holders and on sturdy surfaces to prevent them from tipping over.
  • When lighting candles keep hair and loose clothing away from candle flames.
  • Don’t let candles burn all the way down to the holder.
  • Don’t burn candles if there is oxygen stored inside the home.
  • Don’t burn candles in the garage near any flammable liquids (gas, paints, solvents, oils, etc.).
  • During power outages use flashlights and battery-powered lights. Avoid lighting candles.
  • Don’t let children play with matches, lighters, or candles. Keep them stored and out of sight when not in use.
  • The best way to minimize the risk is to eliminate traditional candles from the home. An alternative to consider, would be flameless candles. Flameless candles are battery powered, fire safe, and made of real wax. The technology provides glowing light from within creating the appearance of a traditional candle.
  • Hope this information has been helpful to you and your family. Join us the next 2 days as we wrap up Fire Prevention Week.

    Fire Prevention Week 2011 – Smoking

    Day 4 of Fire Prevention Week. Today we”re going to focus on smoking risks.

    Do you know smoking products (cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the number one cause of fire deaths in the US? The best way to eliminate the risk is quit the nasty smoking habit. If you insist with this disgusting habit, take note of the following tips.

  • If possible smoke outdoors with readily available ashtrays. Make sure outdoor smoking areas are free of combustible storage and materials.
  • If smoking indoors always make sure cigarette butts are completely out, dousing with sand or water before discarding into the trash. Avoid smoking while in bed. Check to make sure cigarette butts have not fallen into and under furniture or any other areas where you have been smoking.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of sight and away from children. Make them aware of the dangers and risks. Don”t give them a chance to experiment and play with fire.
  • Make sure to be alert when smoking. If you”re feeling tired, sleepy, on medication, intoxicated, or in an impaired state, hold off smoking until you are fully alert.
  • Consider smoke free electronic cigarettes as an alternative to traditional smoking. Smoke free electronic cigarettes don”t generate a flame and minimize the fire hazard.
  • Keep the home clean and minimize excessive storage in areas where you are smoking. Make sure ashtrays are set on a solid surface and is clear of combustible materials.
  • Fire Prevention Week 2011 – Smoke Detectors

    Day 3 of Fire Prevention Week. Make sure to stop by as we”ll be posting tips everyday during National Fire Prevention week. Today we”re going to focus on smoke detectors.

    Did you know that nearly 2/3 of all home fire fatalities occur in home with either no smoke detectors or non-working smoke detectors? Working smoke alarms have been documented to cut the fatality rate by 50%.

  • Provide smoke detectors in all bedrooms, outside the bedrooms, on all levels of the home, kitchen, attic space, basement, and any other living areas. Larger homes may require additional detection.
  • If jameshallison casino possible connect all smoke detectors together, so if one detector goes off the other detectors will simultaneously operate.
  • There are various types of smoke detectors on the market; photoelectric, ionization, and combination. Photoelectric smoke detectors respond better to smoldering (slow burning,low flame) fires. Ionization smoke detectors respond better to flaming fires. Combination detectors provide both photoelectric and ionization response. The best protection would be to have combination detectors that respond to multiple scenarios.
  • Test and replace batteries in all smoke detectors at least once a year. Smoke detectors giving a chirping noise frequently, are a sign that batteries need to be replaced as soon as possible.
  • Make sure detectors are installed on the ceiling or high on the walls in accordance with manufacturer specifications.
  • Smoke detectors that are 10 yrs. old or not operating correctly during testing, should be replaced.
  • Special alarm systems with strobe lights and vibration are available for the deaf and people with hearing problems. If you have family members in the home with these issues, special alarms should be provided.
  • Fire Prevention Week 2011 – Escape Planning

    Day 2 of Fire Prevention Week. Make sure to stop by as we’ll be posting tips everyday during National Fire Prevention week. 1/3 of households in the US have developed fire escape plans. Today we’re going to focus on tips for the family home escape plan.

  • Draw an escape plan for the home. The plan should show all doorways and windows. All family members should be familiar with the plan.
  • Know all possible ways to exit each room. Test doors and windows to make sure they can be easily opened.
  • Teach your kids how to escape on their own, in case you can’t help them. Instruct them to stay low to the ground, if the home is full of smoke. Make sure young children know how to dial 911 and know their home address.
  • If there are occupants sleeping on the second level, consider purchasing emergency exit ladders for each room that is occupied.
  • Designate an outside meeting point a safe separation distance away from the home.
  • Conduct home fire drills twice a year, during the day and night using different ways to exit the property.
  • Instruct family members to shut doors as they leave the premises.
  • Make sure to call the fire department once you are safely outside the home.
  • Also, If your interested in becoming a firefighter , make sure to visit our friends at They have good basic information about joining the fire service and training such as Firefighter 1 certification.

    Fire Prevention Week 2011 – Tips on Cooking and Kitchen Fires

    This week Oct. 9-15 is National Fire Prevention Week.  The theme this year is “Protect your Family from Fire”. Home fires are reported to occur every 90 seconds, with an average of 7 people dying each day. Make sure to stop by as we”ll be posting tips everyday during National Fire Prevention week.

    The number one cause of fires in the home are cooking/kitchen related and the third leading cause of home fire deaths.    Some useful tips to always remember.

    • Never leave your stove unattended.  Don”t let distractions (phone, answering door, kids, tv, etc.) give you the chance to leave the stove when the pilots are turned on.  If your going to leave the stove or kitchen make sure to turn off the stove or have someone attend the area for you.
    • If you are feeling sleepy, on medication that makes you drowsy, or have been drinking, avoid cooking and turning on the stove.
    • Electric stoves are at higher risk than gas fired.  Gas pilot flames can be immediately turned off, electric burner heating elements need time for free mobi games the heat to dissipate.
    • Oil frying poses the highest risk with the highest occurrence of oil fires during Thanksgiving. Never use water to put out an oil fire. Oil and water don”t mix and would cause a violent explosive reaction. Make sure to always have a lid nearby, if the oil fire is small, try to cover it with a lid, turn off the burner and use an approved fire extinguisher if necessary. If the fire is too large, evacuate all occupants, get out of the house and dial 911.
    • Don”t store or put combustible materials (hand towels, paper rolls, plastic containers, cooking oils, recipes, etc.) near the stove.
    • Don”t allow children to play or run around the stove or in the kitchen. A majority of the accidents to kids under 5 are non-fire related with nearly 45% due to scalding water from the microwave.
    • For oven fires keep the door closed and shut the oven off.

    Highlights of Citizens Firefighter Academy – Week 7

    Another great week to report at the Citizens Firefighter Academy.   This week suited up and put our new firefighting skills to the test.  We’d be suiting up in full bunker gear and attack both structure and car fires manually with fire hose.  It was family night,  and we were invited to bring our families to watch us battle fire. The fire exercises would be conducted at Collin County Community College in McKinney,Texas.  The College has a fire science program and we’d be using their facilities for the exercises.  The class started off with filling out paperwork and Asst. Chief McMurphy giving us a briefing of the exercises.  The first part of the exercise would start with structure fires and second part  would be car fires. The chief drew a layout of the room for the structure fire and gave us a plan of attack. The structure fire would use natural gas and the car fire would use propane.  The gas systems would be controlled remotely by firefighters and could be shut off if required.  Before suiting up we took a brief tour of the areas where the exercises would be conducted. The chief asked if we had any other questions and off we went.

    Structure Fire

    Citizens Firefighter Academy live burnWe were grouped into pairs of  two.  We suited up in our bunker gear along with air tanks.  The chief would be directing us as we conducted our exercise.  We volunteered as the first group for the structure fire.    We’d first attack fire at the ceiling level in a hallway and then enter an adjacent room that would simulate a bed catching on fire.   My partner  would be the front man controlling the hose and I would be standing behind support.   Chief McMurphy would be directing us where to aim the hose and help if needed.   We got into position, the hose was charged, and told the chief we were ready to go.  The hallway was pitch black… all of a sudden instant fire at the ceiling level. Damn, you could feel the heat quickly hit your body… the nozzle was turned on and off to the races we went.   The water was aimed at the ceiling level, my partner had to move the hose back and forth, he did this for several minutes and the fire was out we would then move to the adjacent  room and attack the bed fire.    The chief instructed us to spray and hit the back wall in a circular motion with water next to the bed as there was a measuring device that would calculate the amount of water sprayed onto the fire.   Round and round with the water hose we sprayed the back wall,  this was getting very tiring spraying the fully charged hose,  we did this for several minutes and the fire was out.   We then switched out going through the same exercise, I would take the lead and man the hose.  This was twice as hard, as it takes great strength and energy to move the pressurized hose in the circular sweeping motion.

    Aahh Rest….

    Citizens Firefighter Academy Live Burn3I couldn’t imagine doing this for more than ten minutes without taking frequent breaks.  The heat from the fire, weight of the bunker gear, and physical demands are just too taxing on the body. The chiefs were great in helping us out during this exercise.  Came out sweating profusely and felt extremely out of shape.    I  would  need to spend lot of time in the gym if I ever wanted to become a firefighter.    After we finished our exercise the next group came in and we took a long break to get hydrated and prepare for the car fire.

    Car Fire

    Citizens Firefighter Academy Live Burn 4After the entire class got a chance to participate in the structure fire our next challenge would be to be combatting a car fire.   This exercise was held out in the open with several of us manning the hose a remote distance from the vehicle.   This was more of the same sweeping motion and using our physical ability to combat the fire. By the time the exercises were complete it was dark.

    Another great class.  This would be the last day of practical training.  The next class would be graduation at Station No. 3.    Please visit next week as I will have a summary of the class and graduation.

    Also, If your interested how to become a firefighter, make sure to visit our friends at

    NFPA Conference & Expo – Boston,MA

    Hanging out the next few days in Boston for the NFPA Conference and Expo.  Here”s a few pictures.  The weather will He has held multiple leadership positions at Pittsburgh Public school store supplies both in central office and school based administration, most recently leading the turnaround of an under-performing elementary school. be  50-60 deg. F.,  a little bit chilly for summer.  Make sure to bring a jacket.

    Highlights of Citizens Firefighter Academy – Week 6

    Hey guys.  Reporting another cool week at the Citizens Firefighter Academy.  This week we suited up in our bunker gear and got to flow water from hose and drive a fire truck. For this weeks activities we met at the parking lot at Hawaiian Falls.  Hawaiian Falls is local water park in our area.

    Flowing Hose with Water

    Firefighter Hose OperationWe suited up in our bunker gear and split up in two groups.  Our group first flowed water. Firefighters showed us how they connect 4-inch supply hose from a hydrant to the fire pumper truck.  From the fire pumper truck a smaller attack hose (1-3/4 inch or 2-1/2 inch) is used when conducting manual firefighting. The truck has a fire pump that to regulate the flow and pressure. Flow rates can vary from 100 to 300 gallons per minute (gpm) depending on the hose size.  We used 1-3/4 inch hose and flowed 1oo gpm.  Let me tell you, flowing a mere 100 gpm and maintaining it for long periods will wear you out.  My partner and I held the hose for a few minutes and we were struggling.  I imagine it would be even more difficult at higher flow rates.

    View Inside Fire TruckDriving a Fire Truck

    There were four of us in our group.  Three of us would be in the back with a firefighter while the driver of our group would take several laps around the parking lot. There would be a firefighter driver with us at the passenger side.   He gave us basic instructions, not that much different than driving a truck, just a bit bigger and no rear view mirrors.  There is a monitor mounted on the dashboard that gives the driver a rear view. After the firefighter driver  gave us brief instructions we were ready to go.  As we took off the firefighter turned on the sirens and  lights.  We were ready to get to the scene.  All fire apparatus owned by The Colony Fire Department are equipped with flashing lights that emit a frequency that controls traffic lights to change green along their path of travel. Not all fire departments are equipped with this technology.  Though they have this technology extreme caution must still be taken at intersections.  I have to admit I was a little nervous about this one, I’ve never driven a truck this size.  Making turns was a slight challenge however I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was drive.  Quite fun.

    Make sure to visit next week as we suit up for a LIVE BURN with both structure and car fires.  Have a great week.