Home Fire Safety
Are smoke detectors really that important?
Absolutely! Smoke detectors save lives and are extremely effective when families are sleeping. Did you know that your sense of smell does not work when you are asleep? It's true. In order to rouse people from their slumber, a loud noise or a bright light must be employed. If there were a fire in your house when you were sleeping, if you didn't have a working smoke detector, you might never wake up. Smoke detectors are inexpensive and they can save your life.
What kind of maintenance do I need to perform on a smoke detector? Where do I install a new detector? Do the detectors ever need to be replaced?
These are all good questions. First of all, you should test your smoke detector once a month to make sure that it is functioning properly. For most smoke detectors, this means just pushing the button on the detector. Also, you should change the batteries twice a year (if your detector is not hard-wired into the structure's electrical system). A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clocks forward and back for daylight savings time. Installing smoke detectors is rather easy. Try to find a place on a ceiling to install a smoke detector (remember, smoke rises). If a ceiling doesn't work, you can install a smoke detector on the wall, but the top of the detector should be no closer to the ceiling than 4" and it should be no lower than 12". If the detector is located on the wall and it is outside of this 4" to 12" window, it may not pick up the smoke until it is too late. Lastly, smoke detectors do have a life, although nobody is positive as to how long they truly last. A good rule of thumb is to replace your smoke detectors every 10 years.
I've heard a lot about Carbon Monoxide (CO). Is it really that bad? If so, what can I do about it?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a silent and deadly killer. CO is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. If it is in your house, you may never know it until it is too late. For your protection, the Fire Department recommends that you purchase CO detectors for your house. How many you need will depend on the design of your house. Make sure to have one in the basement, one by your sleeping area, and one by the garage. If you have a separate laundry room and you have a gas dryer, it is not a bad idea to have one in that room as well. It has been recommended that Carbon Monoxide detectors be replaced every 7 years from the date of manufacture.
I've been thinking about purchasing a fire extinguisher for my home. What kind of extinguisher should I buy? Where should I put them?
All-purpose fire extinguishers are filled with a dry chemical, not too unlike baking soda. When you pick up a fire extinguisher, make sure that it is rated to extinguish Class A, B, and C fires. (A is ordinary combustibles, B is flammable liquids, and C is electrical fires.) In terms of good locations to keep them in your house, the kitchen is a good idea, as is the garage. If you have a basement, it probably would not be a bad idea to have one down there as well.
Am I allowed to burn leaves, trash, or other items in the City?
No. It is illegal to burn any "recyclable" materials within the City of Marshfield. For a detailed explanation on the City Ordinance on outdoor fires, please refer to Chapter 6 - Fire Protection, Section 6-31 Outdoor Fires.
Some Additional considerations for home fire safety include:
- Sleep with your doors closed. If there is a fire in your house at night, this will give you a little extra time by keeping smoke out of your bedroom.
- Remember to crawl low in smoke (smoke and heat rise).
- Have two ways to escape from any room in your house, especially your bedroom. If you are on the second floor or higher, purchase an escape ladder that can be secured to the window sill to allow you to climb safely to the ground.
- Practice exit drills with your family. Have a meeting spot somewhere outside (preferably somewhere by the road) where everybody can meet if there ever is a fire in the house.
- Never re-enter a burning house, even if someone is missing from your meeting spot. Tell the firefighters immediately upon their arrival if someone is missing. If the person is still in the house, the firefighters will find him or her. Most people that run back in to a burning house never come back out.
- Never use water on a grease fire (use an extinguisher or baking soda).
- Don't leave things on the stove unattended.
- If you clothes start on fire, remember to Stop, Drop and Roll.
- Exercise a lot of caution when using candles. Do not leave them unattended. Make sure that all candles are extinguished when you leave or go to sleep. Be extremely aware if you have pets, they have been known to knock over candles and start fires.
- Never store flammable liquids (such as gasoline) in a basement
I have other questions about home fire safety. Who should I call for help?
Contact the City of Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department at 486-2094 for additional assistance.