fire safety

  • Prevent Kitchen Fires - National Fire Prevention Week

    Prevent Kitchen Fires

    The theme of this year's Fire Prevention Week is Preventing Kitchen Fires... there's a lot you can learn and a lot you can do:


    Fire Prevention Week commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but brinedd through the night and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871. Learn more about Fire Prevention Week @ NFPA

  • Stay healthy and safe during a Wildfire



    Health Threat From Wildfire Smoke

    Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and other plant materials. Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases.

    How to tell if smoke is affecting you

    Smoke can cause—

    • Photo of wild fire.Coughing
    • A scratchy throat
    • Irritated sinuses
    • Shortness of breath
    • Chest pain
    • Headaches
    • Stinging eyes
    • A runny nose
    • Asthma exacerbations

    If you have heart or lung disease, smoke might make your symptoms worse.

    People who have heart disease might experience—

    • Chest pain
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Shortness of breath
    • Fatigue

    Smoke may worsen symptoms for people who have pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as respiratory allergies, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), in the following ways:

    • Inability to breathe normally
    • Cough with or without mucus
    • Chest discomfort
    • Wheezing and shortness of breath

    When smoke levels are high enough, even healthy people may experience some of these symptoms.

    Know whether you are at risk

    If you have heart or lung disease, such as congestive heart failure, angina, COPD, emphysema, or asthma, you are at higher risk of having health problems than healthy people.

    Older adults are more likely to be affected by smoke, possibly because they are more likely to have heart or lung diseases than younger people.

    Children are more likely to be affected by health threats from smoke because their airways are still developing and because they breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults. Children also are more likely to be active outdoors.

    Protect yourself

    Photo of respirator mask.Limit your exposure to smoke. Following are ways to protect your health:

    Pay attention to local air quality reports. Listen and watch for news or health warnings about smoke. Find out if your community provides reports about the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index (AQI). Also pay attention to public health messages about taking additional safety measures.

    Refer to visibility guides if they are available. Not every community has a monitor that measures the amount of particles that are in the air. In the western part of the United States, some communities have guidelines to help people estimate AQI based on how far they can see.

    If you are advised to stay indoors, keep indoor air as clean as possible. Keep windows and doors closed unless it is extremely hot outside. Run an air conditioner if you have one, but keep the fresh-air intake closed and the filter clean to prevent outdoor smoke from getting inside. If you do not have an air conditioner and it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, seek shelter elsewhere.

    Do not add to indoor pollution. When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces, or gas stoves. Do not vacuum, because vacuuming stirs up particles already inside your home. Do not smoke, because smoking puts even more pollution into the air.

    Follow your doctor's advice about medicines and about your respiratory management plan if you have asthma or another lung disease, Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen.

    Do not rely on dust masks for protection. Paper "comfort" or "dust" masks commonly found at hardware stores are designed to trap large particles, such as sawdust. These masks will not protect your lungs from smoke. An “N95” mask, properly worn, will offer some protection. For more information about effective masks, see the Respirator Fact Sheet provided by CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

    Safe evacuation

    Fire & Evacuation Essentials Fire & Evacuation Essentials

    As you evacuate and then return home, be cautious and take the same safety measures you would when there is no emergency: buckle up and do not drink and drive. See CDC’s Impaired Driving and Seat Belts fact sheets for more information on these hazards.

    Also, make sure that children are properly buckled up and in the rear seat. See CDC’s Child Passenger Safety fact sheet for more information.

    Power outages

    Power outages can be more than an inconvenience. Click on the What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out page for more information about carbon monoxide poisoning, food safety, safe drinking water, power line hazards and more.

  • Grilling safety tips

    Barbecues are fun Holiday Weekend Traditions... be Safe while you enjoy!

    Use soap and water to check for leaks at propane connections before you even turn on the gas, the Department said. If you have a charcoal grill, make sure there are no holes in the bottom.

    With any grill, use utensils with long handles, and keep kids and pets away from the fire.

    "It can be very dangerous business," said Greg Buelow with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department. "We want people to have fun, but there's some simple rules that we just discussed that people can follow to make sure it's a fun activity."

    The fire department also says grills should never be left unattended and charcoal should be put into a metal container with a lid after cooking, not a plastic garbage bin.

    General Grilling Safety

    With more Americans lighting their grills than ever before, it’s important to remember that a fun barbecue is a safe barbecue.

    The following safety tips are designed to guide you through the grilling process. Remember, anytime you work with fire, there’s a chance of getting burned. So, take precautions. Common sense and planning will prevent injuries.

      • Read the owner's manual.
        Always read the owner's manual before using your grill and follow specific usage, assembly, and safety procedures. Contact the grill manufacturer if you have specific questions. (Be sure to locate your model number and the manufacturer’s consumer inquiry phone number and write them on the front page of your manual.)
      • Grills are for outside, only.
      • Barbecue grills are designed for outdoor use, only. Never barbecue in your trailer, tent, house, garage, or any enclosed area because carbon monoxide may accumulate and kill you.
      • Use in well-ventilated area.
      • Set up your grill in an open area that is away from buildings, overhead combustible surfaces, dry leaves, or brush. Be sure to avoid high traffic areas and always barbecue in a well-ventilated area. Be aware of wind-blown sparks.
      • Keep grill stable.
      • When using a barbecue grill, be sure that all parts of the unit are firmly in place and that the grill is stable (can’t be tipped over).
      • Follow electric codes.
      • If electrically-operated accessories are used (rotisseries, etc.), be sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Electrical cords should be placed away from walkways or anywhere people can trip over them.
      • Use long-handled utensils.
      • Use barbecue utensils with long handles (forks, tongs, etc.) to avoid burns and splatters.
      • Wear safe clothing.
      • Wear clothing that does not have hanging shirt tails, frills, or apron strings that can catch fire, and use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
      • Keep fire under control.
      • To put out flare-ups, either raise the grid that the food is on, spread the coals out evenly, or adjust the controls to lower the temperature. If you must douse the flames with a light spritz of water, first remove the food from the grill.
      • Be ready to extinguish flames.
      • Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. A bucket of sand or a garden hose should be near if you don’t have a commercial extinguisher.
      • Consider placing a grill pad or splatter mat beneath your grill.
      • These naturally heat resistant pads are usually made of lightweight composite cement or plastic and will protect your deck or patio from any grease that misses the drip pan.
      • Never leave a grill unattended once lit.
      • Stay away from hot grill.
      • Don’t allow anyone to conduct activity near the grill when in use or immediately following its use. The grill body remains hot up to an hour after being used.
      • Don’t move a hot grill.
      • Never attempt to move a hot grill. It’s easy to stumble or drop it and serious burns could result.
      • Read about Food Safety

    BBQThese tips are not intended to be an exhaustive review of safety guidelines and should not be interpreted as precluding other procedures which would enhance safe barbecue grill operations. Issuance of these safety tips should not be construed as an undertaking to perform services on behalf of any party either for their protection or the protection of third parties. First Aid Mart & The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association assumes no liability for reliance on the contents of this information.

        Fact Sheet on Grilling Safety

    Are you stocked up on Burn First Aid Products? Are you stocked up on Burn First Aid Products?
  • OSHA urges increased safety awareness in fireworks industry in advance of July 4 celebrations

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to be vigilant in protecting workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events.

    Fireworks are beautiful, but can be dangerous when proper precautions are not observed. Fireworks are beautiful, but can be dangerous when proper precautions are not observed.

    News Release

    OSHA News Release: [06/24/2013]
    Contact Name: Adriano Llosa or Jesse Lawder
    Phone Number: (202) 693-4686 or x4659
    Email: or
    Release Number: 13-1249-NAT

    OSHA urges increased safety awareness in fireworks industry in advance of
    July 4 celebrations

    WASHINGTON — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is urging the fireworks and pyrotechnics industry to be vigilant in protecting workers from hazards while manufacturing, storing, transporting, displaying and selling fireworks for public events.

    "As we look forward to July 4 celebrations with fireworks and festivities, we must also consider the safety of workers who handle pyrotechnics," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Dr. David Michaels. "Employers are responsible for keeping everyone safe on the job and taking appropriate measures to protect workers from serious injuries or death."

    In March 2012, three workers suffered serious burns caused by an explosion at Global Pyrotechnic Solutions Inc. OSHA cited the Dittmer, Mo., company nearly $117,000 for safety violations relating to explosive hazards.

    OSHA's pyrotechnics directive, Compliance Policy for Manufacture, Storage, Sale, Handling, Use and Display of Pyrotechnics, provides inspection guidance and OSHA requirements as they apply to pyrotechnics facilities and operations. The directive is available at

    OSHA's Web page on the pyrotechnics industry addresses retail sales of fireworks and fireworks displays. Information on common hazards and solutions found in both areas of the industry, and downloadable safety posters for workplaces are available at It also includes a video, available at, which demonstrates best industry practices for retail sales and manufacturers based on National Fire Protection Association consensus standards.

    Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit

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  • Summer is Heating Up... Think about Fire Prevention

    Photo: Man showing a fire detector to an elderly man

    Protect Your Family from Fire

    Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit

    CDC has developed the Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit to help you effectively implement a smoke alarm installation and fire safety education program targeting older adults. The tool kit includes:

    • An implementation guide with helpful information for planning and running a comprehensive fire safety program for seniors.
    • Three different training curricula.
    • Tools for conducting home assessments, education, smoke alarm installations, and process evaluation.

    Place your order for a FREE Fire Safe Seniors Tool Kit and additional items today.

    The Risk is Real

    The risk of injury and death from home fires is real. Consider that:

    • In 2011, fire departments across the country responded to 384,000 home fires.
      • These fires claimed the lives of 2,640 people and injured another 13,350.
      • Approximately 4 out of 10 home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms.
    • The main reason smoke alarms fail to operate during home fires is missing or disconnected batteries.

    Keep Your Home Fire Safe

    Your home should be a safe and comfortable place—and you can help keep it fire-safe by following these prevention tips.

    Cook with care. When you cook, never leave cooking food unattended on the stove. Keep anything that can catch on fire, like potholders and towels, away from the cooking area. Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves that can catch on fire. Also, keep pot handles turned in.

    If you smoke, attempt to quit. Don't smoke inside your home. If you do smoke in your home, never smoke in bed or leave burning cigarettes unattended. It is unsafe to smoke while drowsy or under the influence of alcohol or medications. Also, don't empty burning or hot ashes in a trash can, and keep ashtrays away from upholstered furniture and curtains.

    Stay warm—safely. If and when you use a space heater, keep it more than three feet away from anything that can catch on fire, like draperies.

    Graphic: When it comes to protecting children against burns...

    In an effort to raise parents' awareness about the leading causes of child injury—including burns— in the United States and how they can be prevented, CDC launched the "Protect the Ones You Love" initiative. Parents can play a life-saving role in protecting children from injuries. Information is available in English and Spanish.

    Learn more.

    Be alarmed. Install smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including the basement, and make sure you have smoke alarms near all sleeping rooms. For better protection, install smoke alarms in sleeping rooms, especially if they are occupied by a smoker. Test all smoke alarms once a month using the test button.

    Make and practice an escape plan. Create a home fire escape plan. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible, and have a meeting place outside. Practice your escape plan twice a year with everyone living in your home.

    For more tips on protecting children from burns, visit CDC's Protect the Ones You Love.

    More Information

    Video screen capture: A Time To Act.An online video available through CDC-TV, "A Time to Act", explores one of the most common causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States.

    CDC Resources

    External Resources

    Burn First Aid & Fire Safety Burn First Aid & Fire Safety

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