Home/ Fire Safety
Now, let’s take a few minutes to talk about home safety. Most people believe their home is a safe haven when, in fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents in the home are extremely common and account for approximately one-third of all injuries.
On duty, whether you’re in the motor pool, the field, at a range, or are participating in some other mission, you typically apply the composite risk management process to identify hazards and put controls in place to eliminate the hazards or mitigate the risks. This acts as a combat multiplier and assists you in successfully accomplishing your mission.
Once you leave work, you must continue to use composite risk management to identify and mitigate hazards in your home and during off-duty activities.
Let’s look at some of the hazards we can find in our homes.
There are multiple hazards in and around the home from the kitchen to the bathroom and out in the backyard.
The top five leading causes of accidental death in homes are falls, poisoning, fires/burns, choking/suffocation, and drowning. Together, these account for 90% of all accidental deaths at home.
Slips, trips and falls is the number one category for injuries with over 8,000,000 reported annually nationwide and is the leading cause of accidental death at home. Everyone is at risk. Slips, trips and falls can happen anywhere, but the most common areas are showers, tubs, stairs and wet floors.
FY10 Soldier deaths in and around the home:
- Soldier fell from a tree and contacted a fence, rupturing his liver.
- Soldier died due to the presence of high levels of toxic gas fumes in the apartment. Another Soldier was evacuated and treated.
- Soldier was sleeping in his residence when it caught fire. Suspected cause of death is smoke inhalation.
Every year, Soldiers and Family members are seriously injured or killed in house fires.
Cooking equipment, most often a range or stovetop, is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than 2,000 Americans die every year and over 12,000 are injured in home fires. Preventing and surviving a fire is not a question of luck, but a matter of planning ahead.
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of kitchen fires. Other culprits that start fires in the home include heating equipment, candles, smoking and electrical devices.
Find more info at http://www.nfpa.org
Listed here are a few safety tips that will prevent home fires.
- Dispose of materials from fireplaces and grills in non-flammable containers.
- Inspect wires. If you find any worn or exposed wiring from appliances, discontinue their use immediately - a fire is imminent!
- Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas.
- Always unplug space heaters before going to sleep.
- When lighting a candle, keep it away from combustible material and always blow it out when you leave the room.
In the event of a fire:
- Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher in your kitchen (one rated for grease fires and electrical fires) and know how to use it.
- Smoke alarms are critical for early detection of a fire in your home and could make the difference between life and death. Install smoke detectors outside every bedroom and on every level of your home. Ensure you test them monthly and replace the batteries twice a year. Your life depends on it.
- Make an escape plan with two ways out of every room and practice it.
Remember the acronym PASS when using a fire extinguisher:
P – Pull the pin that keeps the extinguisher from accidentally discharging
A – Aim nozzle toward the base of the fire – the burning fuel.
S – Squeeze the handle
S – Sweep back and forth, so the extinguishing agent is spread over all of the fuel. Continue to discharge the agent until the extinguisher is empty and the fire is out.
Kitchen Fire Video: http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4522976n
Fire in a grill, cooking hot dogs and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout, but fire anywhere else can make your summer kick-off barbecue memorable for the wrong reasons.
Here are some safety tips when using your grill:
- Using a grill indoors or in any enclosed space such as a tent, poses both a fire hazard and the risk of exposing occupants to toxic gases and potential asphyxiation.
- Periodically, clean the trays below the grill so the heat from the grill cannot ignite it.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited.
- Check the gas cylinder hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. A light soap and water solution applied to the hose will quickly reveal escaping propane by releasing bubbles.
Note: You can find additional tips at http://www.nfpa.org
The Quiet Killer - C0
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas; you can’t see or smell it and it is extremely poisonous and can kill within minutes. Each year in the U.S., nearly 500 people die and as many as 20,000 visit emergency rooms for exposure primarily from poorly maintained heating systems or gas stoves and gas-powered generators used for heat or power during storms. Even more people die from CO produced by idling cars.
If appliances that burn fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of CO produced is usually not hazardous. However, if appliances are not working properly or are used incorrectly, dangerous levels of CO can result. So how do you know if carbon monoxide is present? Well, it’s not easy. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light-headedness and/or headaches. High levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal, causing death within minutes.
You can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by following some basic guidelines:
- Maintain your heating system and fuel- burning appliances.
- Install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds, leave your home immediately and call 911.
- Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement or garage or near a window.
- Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
- Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
There is a video, The Quiet Killer, available at http://www.cdc.gov/cdctv/quietkiller/index.html
Running Time: (3:15) Release Date: 11/03/2008
Source: National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH)