Community Development

Fire Safety Tips

Test Your Smoke Alarms for Life

Smoke alarms are the first line of defense against deadly fire. Having a working smoke alarm in your home cuts your risk of dying in a fire nearly in half. In a fire every second is needed to get out safely. Early warning from a smoke alarm can make the difference between surviving a fire and dying in one.

Tips for installing your smoke alarms correctly:

  • Install smoke alarms Listed by a qualified testing laboratory on every level of your home, including the basement. Make sure there is an alarm in or near every sleeping area.
  • Mount the smoke alarms high on ceilings or walls. Remember, smoke rises! Ceiling-mounted alarms should be installed at least four inches away from the nearest wall; wall-mounted alarms should be installed four to 12 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Don't install smoke alarms near windows, outside doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere wither their operation.
  • Don't paint your smoke alarms; paint or other decorations could keep them from working when you most need it.

Tips for keeping your smoke alarms working properly:           

  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month by using the alarms' "test button."
  • Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms regularly, or as soon as the alarm "chirps," warning that the battery is low. Reminder: "Change your clocks, change your batteries!"
  • Regularly vacuuming or dusting your smoke alarm following manufacturer' instructions can help keep it working properly.
  • Replace your smoke alarms once every 10 years.
  • Never "borrow" a battery from a smoke alarm.
  • Make sure that everyone in your home can hear and recognize the sound alarm and knows how to react immediately. 

Home Fire Escape Plan

Fire can grow and spread through your home very quickly. It's important that you are prepared to react as soon as the smoke alarm sounds.  Developing and practicing a home fire escape plan that everyone understands can mean the difference between life and death.

  • Draw a floor plan of your home, showing two ways out of each room, including windows. Don't forget to mark the location of each smoke alarm.
  • Test all smoke alarms monthly to ensure that they work. Replace batteries as needed. (Reminder:  "Change your clocks, change your batteries.")
  • Practice the escape plan at least twice a year, making sure that everyone is involved - from kids to grandparents. If there are infants or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them.
  • Agree on an outside meeting place where everyone can meet after they've escaped. Get out first, then call for help. Never go back inside.  
  • Memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. 9-1-1
  • Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. Once your out, stay out - leave the firefighting to the professionals!
  • If you live in an apartment building, make sure you are familiar with the building's evacuation plan. In case of fire, use the stairs, never use the elevator.
  • Inform guests or visitors to your home about your family's fire escape plan.
  • Make a Plan!

Uncover Home Hazards

Are your everyday habits contributing to fire danger in your home?

  • Never leave cooking food on the stovetop unattended, and keep a close eye on food cooking inside the oven.
  • Keep cooking areas clean and clear of materials that could catch fire, such as pot-holders, towels, rags, drapes and food packaging.
  • Give space heaters plenty of space! Space heaters should be at least three feet away from anything that could burn. Always make sure to turn heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Chimneys, chimney connectors, fireplaces, and wood or coal stoves should be inspected by a professional every year and cleaned as often as necessary.  
  • Lit candles should be monitored constantly by an adult and extinguished when adults leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Use candleholders that won't tip over easily, are made of non-combustible materials, and are big enough to catch dripping wax safely.
  • Never leave children alone with burning candles. Candles should not be allowed in children's bedrooms.
  • If there are smokers in your home, make sure ashtrays are large and deep and won't tip over. Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before discarding them.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach - preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Replace or repair any electrical devise with a loose, frayed, or broken cord.
    Follow the manufacturer's instruction for plugging an appliance into a receptacle outlet. As an added precaution, avoid plugging more than one high-wattage appliance into a single receptacle.
  • In homes with small children, receptacle outlets should have plastic safety covers.
  • Liquids like gasoline, kerosene, and propane are highly flammable. Make sure to store these liquids outside the home in a properly ventilated shed or garage. Store them only in small quantities and in their original containers or in safety containers. Never bring even a small amount of gasoline indoors. The vapors are highly flammable and can be ignited by a tiny spark.
  • In the hands of an adult who knows how to use it, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and minimize property damage by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. But never forget that fire spreads rapidly.  Your first priority should always be to get out of the house.

Display Address Numbers Clearly

When emergency services are requested, there is the expectation of immediate response. Unlabelled residences or poorly displayed addresses lead to slower response times. "We can't help you, if we can't find you."

Address numbers should be clearly visible from the road. If your residence is located back from the road, or you have a hidden driveway, you are encouraged to display your address at the roadside and again on your home. If there is an alley behind your house, label both the front and back of your house as an extra measure of safety.

Know Your Facts

  • Three in every 10 reported home fires start in the kitchen - more than any other place in the home.
  • Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.
  • Cigarettes and other smoking materials are the number one cause of home fire deaths in the United States.
  • Nearly half of fatal U.S. home smoking fires start in upholstered furniture. 
  • Non-smokers can help smokers make sure ashes, embers and butts do not fall in or on couches and chairs, and that ashes and butts are doused with water before being thrown away.
  • Heating equipment fires are the second leading cause of home fires and of related deaths.
  • Candle fires are on the rise in the United States. In recent years, candles have been associated with more than 10,000 home fires, more than 150 related deaths, and more than 1,000 related injuries each year.
  • Smoke alarms are the most effective early warning device available. 
  • Having working smoke alarms Listed by a qualified testing laboratory in your home cuts your chance of dying in a fire nearly in half.
  • One-half of fire deaths occur in the six percent of homes with no smoke alarms.
  • Automatic fire sprinkler systems typically reduce chances of dying in a fire and the average property loss by one-half to two-thirds in any kind of property where they are used.

Posted: 01/30/2015 05:10 PM
Last Updated: 04/07/2022 09:44 AM

Community Development Calendar

Upcoming events and schedules at the county!

  • 05
    Jun 2024
    09:00 AM - 10:00 AM

    Hearing Examiner - June 5, 2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    By Zoom Video Conference or in person call 509-667-6518
  • 19
    Jun 2024
    01:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    Hearing Examiner - June 19, 2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    By Zoom Video Conference or in person call 667-6518 ******HOLIDAY***********
  • 26
    Jun 2024
    06:30 PM - 09:00 PM

    Planning Commission - June 26,2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    400 Douglas Street
  • 03
    Jul 2024
    09:00 AM - 10:00 AM

    Hearing Examiner - July 03, 2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    By Zoom Video Conference or in person call 667-6225
  • 19
    Jul 2024
    01:00 PM - 02:00 PM

    Hearing Examiner - July 17, 2024

    Posted by: Community Development

    400 Douglas Street or via Zoom