Fire Safety Information

General Fire Safety Information
General Fire Safety

Keep children away from open flames and electrical receptacles.

Make sure your smoke alarm is maintained and working properly.

Have a smoke alarm in every level of your house.

Keep your emergency numbers near the telephone.

Always call the fire department for any fire, even if the fire has been completely extinguished.

Have a fire evacuation plan and practice it with your family!

Candle Safety Tips

Candles can be beautiful and romantic. Unfortunately, they can also be deadly. Here are some safety few tips to keep you and your family from being a fire statistic.

General Candle Safety

Remember: A candle is an open flame. It can easily ignite any combustibles nearby!

Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.

Keep candles away from items that can catch fire (e.g. clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees, flammable decorations).

Use candleholders that are sturdy, will not tip over easily, are made from a material that cannot burn and are large enough to collect dripping wax.

Do not place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them.

Place candleholders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface and do not use candles in places where they could be knocked over by children or pets.

When purchasing or using candles, consider what would happen if the candle burned low. Could it burn the candleholder or decorative material nearby? Extinguish candles when they get within two inches of the holder or decorative material.

Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.

Keep candlewicks trimmed to one-quarter inch and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.

Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them. Try to avoid carrying a lit candle. Do not use a lit candle when searching for items in a confined space.

Never use a candle for a light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.


Holidays and Candles

December is the peak month for candle fires, with nearly twice the average number of incidents.

Never use real candles to decorate a Christmas tree. Open flames from candles often lead to fire.

Follow all the general safety tips listed above.

Kids and Candles

Use candles only with constant adult supervision.

Keep candles up high out of reach of children.

Never leave a child unattended in a room with a candle. A child should not sleep in a room with a lit candle.

Do not allow children or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.

Store candles, matches and lighters up high and out children's sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

Do not put candles in a location where children or pets could knock them over.

Power Outages

Observe all the general fire safety tips

Try to avoid carrying a lit candle. When you carry a lit candle, you are carrying something that could start a fire. Do not use a candle to go into the closet to look for things; it could easily catch items on fire.

Never use a candle for light when fueling equipment such as a kerosene heater or lantern. The flame may ignite the fumes.

Extinguish all candles when leaving the house or when going to sleep.

Flashlights and other lights generated by batteries are much safer light sources than candles. Consider using flashlights instead of candles.

Using these simple rules coupled with common sense may help keep your family safe throughout the year.

Carbon Monoxide

The Santa Clara Fire District (SCFD) is issuing a warning to all SCFD residents on the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO).

CO is a colorless, odorless gas. Because you can't see, taste, or smell it, CO can kill you before you know it's there. Recent studies conducted by Iowa State University indicate that cold car engines running in an attached garage, even for a short period of time (as little as one to two minutes) can raise CO to dangerous levels in a home. These extremely high levels of CO have the potential to harm occupants.

CO is a byproduct of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, wood or coal. Some common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
malfunctioning appliances
furnaces
stoves
ovens
water heaters
blocked chimney flues
fuel burning cooking appliances
charcoal grills
motor vehicles.

Symptoms may include flu-like symptoms such as:

headaches
nausea
fatigue and tiredness
dizziness
confusion
breathing difficulties
Young and old are particularly at risk, but everyone is at risk.
The Santa Clara Fire District recommends the following steps to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning:

Purchase and install CO alarms in your home!

Place a CO alarm on each level of your home and in areas near appliances that are potential sources of CO.

Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year or as recommended by the manufacturer.

   Never leave a motor vehicle running in an attached garage or carport where CO may enter your home.

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. The Santa Clara Fire District encourages every resident to take steps to protect themselves from this "silent killer".

Christmas Safety

Christmas trees can be a beautiful symbol of the holiday season. Unfortunately, they can also be deadly. Do not let this holiday season leave you homeless from a fire because you and your family did not practice fire safety. Here are a few safety tips to keep you and your family from being a fire statistic this holiday season:

Buying a live tree

Natural trees should be cut at a 45 degree angle at the base and placed in water.

Check for freshness.

A fresh tree is deep green in color and has a strong sent of pine.

The needles of a fresh tree are hard to pull from branches and do not readily fall from the branches; moreover, the branches should bend easily.

The trunk of a fresh tree is also sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.

Displaying your tree

Trees should be securely fastened in the holder.

Keep the tree in an area away from a radiator, fireplace, or other heat sources.

Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.

Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Water your tree often.

When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly.

Never put tree branches in a fireplace or wood-burning stove.

Decorating your tree

Use only U-L labeled tree lights. Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards.

Do not overload outlets. Be careful how many items you plug into a receptacle. Be careful where you lay cords and lights. For added electric shock protection, plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's). Portable outdoor GFCI's can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. A qualified electrician can permanently install GFCI's into household circuits.

Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Do not use damaged lights.

Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord

Do not knot or tangle the wires.

Do not leave lights on unattended. Always unplug lights before leaving the house or going to bed.

Use only lights designated for outdoor use, outdoors. Do not use indoor-labeled lights outside.

The best lights are new ones.

Outdoor Holiday Lights

Indoors or outside, use only lights that have been tested for safety by a recognized testing laboratory, which indicates conformance with safety standards.

For added electric shock protection, plug outdoor electric lights and decorations into circuits protected by ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's). Portable outdoor GFCI's can be purchased where electrical supplies are sold. A qualified electrician can permanently install GFCI's into household circuits.

Fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, house walls, or other firm supports to protect the lights from wind damage. Use only insulated staples (available at hardware stores) to hold strings in place, not nails or tacks.

Other Decorations

Never use real candles on a tree or near other evergreens or decorations. Open flames from candles often lead to fire. December is the peak month for candle fires, with nearly twice the average number of incidents.

When decorating the house with candles, always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they will not be knocked over by children or pets.

Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded metals. Leaded materials are hazardous if ingested by children.

Do not smoke near the tree or decorations.

In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable, keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to avoid the child swallowing or inhaling small pieces, and avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.

Artificial Trees

When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label "Fire Resistant." Although this label does not mean the tree will not catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.

Never use electric lights on a metallic tree. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.

Always follow the same safety tips listed above regarding decorations.

Fireplaces and Christmas

Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.

Do not burn wrapping papers in the fireplace. It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion. A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Fire Escape Plans

Planning is the key to a fast and safe exit from a fire. Do it today, don't wait until a fire occurs.

Start by drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room; especially the sleeping areas. If you live in a two story house, you may want to invest in a fire safety ladder, available at most hardware stores.

Remember to set up a meeting place outside your home for everyone to report to after they have gotten out (a tree, basketball goal the mailbox, etc.)

Practice your escape plan! Have a fire drill just like your children do in school. Make it as realistic as possible. Pretend the lights are out and the house is filling up with smoke. Remember to stay low and crawl under the smoke, touching the doors with the backs of your hand to check for heat before opening the door. Remember not to open a hot door! Go to another exit instead.

If you live in an apartment, use the stairs where necessary and never use an elevator, as it may get stuck between floors or worse take you to the floor of the fire.

Last, but not least, be prepared. Make sure everyone in your family understands the escape route and knows what to do. Remember, get out first then call 911 at a neighbor's house. Never go back into a burning structure once you have escaped!

The Santa Clara Fire District will be glad to help citizens who have questions about escape plans. To speak to a fire professional, call 541 688 3697 during normal business hours.

Grilling Safety Tips

Summer fun often includes cooking and eating outdoors with family and friends. Citizens in Eugene who want to share in this favorite pastime must take special precautions. Using portable grills in some instances is unsafe and against the law.

For the protection of everyone who resides in other than a one or two family dwelling, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 1, 10.11.7) states that “ no hibachi, gas fired grill, charcoal grill, or other similar devices used for cooking, heating, or any other purpose, shall be used or kindled on any balcony or under any overhanging portion or within 10 ft. (3 m) of any structure. However, listed electric ranges, grills, or similar electrical apparatus shall be permitted”.

The storage of grills when they are not in use, or when they're cool and not subject to creating a fire hazard, is not regulated by this requirement; however, the following clarification is in effect:

Any device used for cooking or any other purpose shall not be used or stored on any balcony, in any breezeway, on any porches, or under any overhanging portion or within 10 ft. of any structure.

If during a routine inspection grills are discovered meeting the above conditions the property owner or their designee shall be in violation of this code and subject to action by the Fire Safety Management Division.

These regulations also apply to portable electric grills if the grill contains loose heat storage material such as lava rock.

The 10 feet of clearance also applies to combustible materials such as pine straw, pine bark, and other combustible landscaping materials.

The regulations do not apply to fixed grills, but strict attention should be paid to the grill instructions to insure that required clearances are maintained.

Grilling Tips:

Never use charcoal lighter fluid on a burning fire.

Leave the grill hood open until ignition occurs when lighting gas grills.

Don't grill near combustible materials such as pine needles or leaves.

Keep a fire extinguisher or charged garden hose accessible.

Always shut off valves to propane tanks when not in use.

Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

The Santa Clara Fire District will be glad to help citizens who have questions about potential fire hazards in their homes. To speak to a fire professional, call (541) 688-3697 during normal business hours.

Halloween Safety

Hey kids! Check out these Halloween safety tips with your parents and have a fun and safe Halloween!

Baggy sleeves or billowy capes and skirts can trip you up and catch fire if they brush against jack-o-lanterns or candle flames.

My shoes fit: Big, floppy shoes (clown shoes, adult shoes)—that are hard to walk in may make you fall.

My costume props are flexible: Costume props can hurt you badly if you fall. Make sure swords, knives, etc. are made of flexible plastic or rubber.

The eyeholes in my mask are wide enough: Make sure your mask fits properly and the eye holes allow you to see fully. Don't wear a mask that is too loose; it can slip and block your vision. Even better, paint your face instead of wearing a mask.

Drivers can see my costume in the dark: Be original with a glow-in-the-dark costume: Jazz up your costume by attaching some retro reflective tape and stickers.

I'm trick-or-treating in a group: Don't go it alone while trick-or-treating. Kids, if you're under age 13, make sure you go with an adult. Older kids should always go with buddies.

I cross streets at crosswalks and intersections: Stop at street corners. Look left, right and left again before crossing and don't cross between parked cars!

Remember, never step into the street without looking to see if a vehicle is coming.
   
I make sure my parents check my treats before I eat them: Pick only wrapped candy when you trick-or-treat. Ask your parents to check all treats to make sure they are safe.

Motorists are reminded:

   Slow down in residential neighborhoods.
   Obey all traffic signs and signals.
   Watch for children walking in the street or on medians and curbs.
   Enter and exit driveways and alleyways carefully.
   Teach children to exit and enter the car on the curb side, away from traffic.

By following these simple safety rules, Halloween night will be a real treat for the whole family.

For more information contact USFA Kids in our Kids Zone.

Heating Tips

Nothing is cozier than a fire – as long as it stays in the fireplace! Unfortunately, they can also be deadly. Here are a few tips to keep you & your family from being a fire statistic.

Fireplaces and Woodstoves

Remember: Fireplaces contain open flames. It can easily ignite any combustibles nearby!

Use care with "fire salts," which produce colored flames when thrown on wood fires. They contain heavy metals that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation and vomiting if eaten. Keep them away from children.

Do not burn holiday wrapping papers in the fireplace. It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion.

A flash fire may result as wrappings ignite suddenly and burn intensely.

Use only clean dry wood, do not burn trash. Use a metal container for ash removal and store it outside, away from combustibles such as a wood deck or pine needles.

Have your chimney cleaned regularly, because creosote buildup from burning wood can ignite your roof, chimney, even the whole house.

Use fireplace screens to confine sparks and embers.

Always supervise children when a fire is burning in the fireplace.

Do not allow children to light the fire.

Space Heaters

Remember - Space Heaters Need Space!

When selecting an alternative heater, look for one that has been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

Read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and directions on all appliances. A good practice is to read aloud the instructions and warning labels to all members of the household to be certain that everyone understands how the heater is to be operated safely. Keep the owner's manual in a convenient place to refer to when needed.

Make sure your alternative heaters have "tip switches." These "tip switches" are designed to automatically turn off the heater if the heater gets knocked over.

Keep children and pets away from space heaters. Some heaters have very hot surfaces. Heaters could operate in a manner that is unsafe if children are permitted to either adjust the controls or jar the heater.

Keep doors open to the rest of the house if you are using an un-vented, fuel-burning space heater. This helps to prevent pollutant build-up and promotes proper combustion. Even vented heaters require ventilation for proper combustion.

Never use a space heater overnight in the room where you are sleeping. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide could accumulate from fuel-fired heaters, or uncontrolled burning could cause a fire.

Never use or store flammable liquids (such as gasoline) around a space heater. The flammable vapors can flow from one part of the room to another and be ignited by the open flame or by the electrical circuit of an electric heater.

Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heaters to dry clothes or shoes. Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could fall on the heater and start a fire.

Never leave a burning heater unattended. Extinguish your heater if you're leaving the room or area for more than a few minutes. Never use a space heater while you're sleeping or bedridden.

Be sure the location you choose can be ventilated according to manufacturer's instructions.

Do not place a heater in a doorway, hall, or walkway where it is likely to be bumped.

Kerosene Space Heaters

Never use gasoline in a kerosene heater. Even small quantities of gasoline in the heater tank can cause a fire.

Use only K-1 kerosene in kerosene heaters. Kerosene should be purchased from a dealer who can certify that it is K-1 grade kerosene. The fact that kerosene is "water clear" does not ensure that it is K-1, since both K-1 and K-2 can appear clear.

Never fill the fuel tank of a kerosene heater beyond the full mark because as the fuel warms, it expands and could spill and cause a fire.

Do not attempt to move the heater, remove the fuel tank, or refuel the heater when it is operating or hot.

Always refuel heater outside a building.

In case of flare-up or uncontrolled flaming occurs, do not attempt to move the heater. If your heater is equipped with a manual shut-off switch, activate the switch to turn off the heater. If activation of the shut-off switch does not extinguish the flame, leave the area and immediately call the fire department.

Keep kerosene stored outside in a seated blue container labeled "Kerosene."

Electric Heaters

Never use your electric heater near water. Water is a good conductor of electricity and increases the changes of electric shock. Do not touch an electric heater if your hands are wet or you are in contact with water in any way. Never use an electric heater:
   In a bathroom
   In a damp basement
   Near water

Always unplug your heater when it is not in use. Touching an electric heating element while it is on can cause a serious burn or shock. Some heaters have electrically "live" elements whenever they are plugged in--even if the switch is turned off! The best way to prevent accidental shock or burns is to unplug your portable electric heater whenever it is not being used. Always unplug it before going to bed.

Check the safety features:

Be sure the grill protects the heating elements from children's fingers and toys.

Keep children and pets away from heaters.

Be sure that the grill, cover or sides do not become hot enough to burn when touched.

Make sure there is a tip-over switch or a heat sensor (or both) that turns off the heater if it falls over.

Do not overload your wiring.

Plug your heater directly into an outlet if possible. If you must use an extension cord, be sure its electrical rating is as high as the one listed on the heater.

Some electrical heaters use the full capacity of a normal household circuit. You may not be able to use other appliances at the same time.

If a fuse blows or a circuit breaker trips, unplug the heater before replacing the fuse or resetting the breaker.

Call a professional if you have any signs of a wiring problem--frequently blown fuses, dimmed lights, hot cords or outlets.

The Santa Clara Fire District to many heater fires during colder weather.

We want to remind you of the importance of proper use and maintenance of all heating devices. Using these simple rules coupled with common sense will keep your family safe and warm throughout the year.

Kitchen Fire Safety

Unattended cooking continues to be the number one cause of fire in Orlando and throughout the country. Every year more people are injured and killed in fires in the home. Cooking fires cause the most injuries by far. Here are a few safety tips to keep you and your family from being a fire statistic.

Grease Fires

If you are cooking with oil or grease and it ignites, do not throw water on the fire. Do not attempt to remove the pan.

Turn the burner off if you can reach it safely.

Smother the fire with a pan lid.

If a chemical extinguisher is near and you know how to use it, use the extinguisher to put out the fire.

If that does not work, evacuate the house and call 9-1-1.

General Kitchen Safety Tips

Always keeps an eye on food being heated. Do not leave the kitchen while you are cooking.

If you have to leave the kitchen, turn the stove off or take something like a spoon or oven mitt to remind yourself of the food on the stove.

Pay attention! Never cook if you are sleepy, intoxicated, or heavily medicated.

Remember to turn all pot handles inward. Small children and animals can easily bump a pot handle spilling hot grease or boiling water, causing someone to be burned or start a fire.

Keep the stovetop clean and clear. Keep all appliances free of grease buildup. Wipe up spills and routinely clean the oven. Move combustible items such as oven mitts and utensils away from heat sources.

Keep children away from appliances when cooking. Create a "kid-free zone" around the stove, and teach children not to play in that area. If you allow older children to cook, supervise them closely and teach them safe cooking practices.

Keep pets away from the stove.

Dress appropriately for cooking. Wear short or tight fitting sleeves when cooking.

Use caution when working near heat sources.

Try not to reach over the stove for other items. Do not store items above or behind the stove that are combustible or may cause you to burn yourself as you reach for them.

Carefully monitor hot oil, keeping the pan lid close at hand.

Be careful around the sink while using electrical appliances. Electrical appliances near water could cause electrocution. Never stand in or near water while using an electrical appliance.

Check regularly for frayed or damaged cords to appliances. Plug one appliance in a receptacle at a time. If you need to plug more appliances into a receptacle than there are plugs, use a surge protector or have a professional electrician install more receptacles.

Keep appliances in proper working order. Do not use them if they are defective.

Keep appliance cords as short as possible. This helps to keep from tripping or knocking the appliance over.

Keep an ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher near the kitchen.

If you have a fire in your microwave oven, do not open the door. Close the door to the microwave if you do open it and unplug it immediately. Do not use the microwave again until a professional has checked it.

Never put metallic materials in the microwave oven. These materials cause sparks, which may result in a fire.

Remember that steam escaping from a pan or container can cause severe burns.

Open food that has been cooked in the microwave carefully.

Keep your emergency numbers near the telephone.

Always call the fire department for any fire, even if the fire has been completely extinguished.

Have a fire evacuation plan and practice it with your family!

Living Area Safety

Install smoke alarms

Smoke alarms should be placed either on the ceiling or 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling on a wall.

Plan escape routes

Plan, know and rehearse your escape route. It is best if you can plan two escape routes. Make sure everyone in the family understands the route and knows where the meeting place is. Remember! Get out first then call 911 at a neighbor's house.

Have a deep, large, non-tip ashtray for smokers. Before going to bed, check for smoldering cigarettes under cushions of chairs and couches. Keep all matches and lighters up high, where children cannot reach or see them.

Use a metal screen or glass door around your fireplace.

Have your chimney inspected by a professional once a year. Use only seasoned, dry wood. Always discard ashes in a metal container and never store ashes on wooden decks or porches.

Space heaters

Keep any type of heater at least three feet from anything that will burn. Always turn off heater before going to bed or leaving the house. Never allow children to be left alone near any type of heater. Refuel outside after until has cooled down. Use proper fuel.

Never cover lamps with clothing or other combustibles. Clothing, paper, curtains or other combustible materials could come in contact with a hot light bulb and cause a fire.

Check electrical cords. Electrical cords could have frays, tears or exposed wire. If you find one, discard it immediately.

The Santa Clara Fire District will be glad to help citizens who have questions about potential fire hazards in their homes. To speak to a fire professional, call (541) 688-3697 during normal business hours.

Know How to Escape

Your smoke alarm will awaken you, but you may not be thinking clearly. You should practice escaping before an emergency strikes. Learn more about fire escape plans here.

Why ?
Once a fire has started, it spreads rapidly. You may have only seconds to get out. Normal exits from bedrooms may be blocked by smoke or fire. It is important everyone knows exactly what to do.

Identify Escape Routes
Plan two exits from every room. Second story windows may need a rope or chain ladder to enable occupants to escape safely. Choose a meeting place outside the home so you'll know everyone has escaped.

Practice Escaping
Practice allows you to test your plan before a real emergency. You may not be able to reach your children! It is important that they know exactly what to do.

Maintenance is Important

Your smoke alarm must be maintained properly to provide you and your family with protection.

Smoking Safety

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Smoke alarms, smolder-resistant bedding and upholstered furniture are significant fire deterrents. Here are a few safety tips to keep you and your family from becoming a fire statistic:

Never smoke in bed. Replace mattresses made prior to the 1973 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard.

Do not put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs

Use large, deep ashtrays with wide lips. While smaller ashtrays may be more attractive, they are not safe. Cigarettes can roll off the edge, and the ashes can easily be blown away.

Water down your ashes. Empty ashtrays into the toilet or an airtight metal container. Warm ashes dumped in waste cans can smolder for hours, and then ignite into fire.

Do not leave cigarettes, cigars, or pipes unattended. Put out all smoking materials before you walk away.

If you begin to feel drowsy while watching television or reading, extinguish your smoking materials in a safe container.

Close a matchbook before striking and hold it away from your body. Set your cigarette lighter on "low" flame to prevent burns.

If friends or relatives who smoke have paid you a visit, be sure to check on the floor and around chair cushions for ashes that may have been dropped accidentally.

Kids and Fire Safety

Store matches and lighters up high and out of children's sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

Do not put ashtrays in a location where children or pets could knock them over.


Thanks to the Orlando Fire Department for their help with this page.
Share by: