Use Candles With Care: When You Go Out, Blow Out!
The Tallahassee Fire Department (TFD) is joining the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to remind citizens about fire safety during Fire Prevention Week, October 9-15. This year's theme, "Use Candles with Care: When you go out, blow out!" highlights the importance of candle safety in the household, since home candle fires have risen steadily over the last decade.
TFD encourages residents to pay special attention when using candles in the household. Here are some important candle safety tips to follow:
- Place candles on stable furniture, in sturdy holders that will catch dripping wax.
- If the power goes out, use flashlights for illumination, not candles.
- Place candles on higher furniture, where they won't be knocked over by children or pets.
- Never place lit candles in windows, where they could ignite blinds or curtains.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
- Extinguish candles when they burn down to within two inches of their holder or any decorative material.
- Ask questions about the candles and candle-holders you buy. There are new standards that major suppliers will follow, to make sure the candles and candle-holders won't break, tip over, or otherwise malfunction in ordinary use.
In addition to using candles safely, Tallahassee residents are urged to ensure that smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home and kept working with monthly testing and annual battery replacement. "Change your clocks, Change your batteries" is a great way to remind yourself to check for working batteries. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms: worn or missing batteries. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Please be sure to follow these life-saving smoke alarm tips:
- Test your smoke alarms once a month, following the manufacturer's instructions.
- Never "borrow" a battery from a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms can't warn you of fire if their batteries are missing.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, making sure that there is an alarm outside every separate sleeping area.
- Hard-wired smoke alarms operate on your household electrical current. They can be interconnected so that every alarm sounds regardless of the fire's location.
- Smoke alarms do not last forever. Replace yours once every 10 years.
- Replace the batteries in your smoke alarm once a year, or as soon as the alarm "chirps" warning the batteries are low. ** Schedule battery replacements for the same day you change your clocks from daylight savings time to standard time in the fall. **
Basic fire escape planning is essential to you and your family. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning. Here are some helpful tips when developing a fire escape plan:
- Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through the home together and point out all possible exits and escape routes.
- Choose an outside meeting place, like a neighbor's house or light post, which is a safe distance from your home.
- Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.
- When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice crawling low on their hands and knees, one to two feet above the ground. By keeping your head low, you'll be able to breathe the "good" air that is closer to the floor.
- Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
- In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice "sealing yourself in for safety" as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover all air vents from coming in. If possible, open your windows to allow fresh air to get in.
For more safety tips visit the National Fire Protection Website (NFPA) at www.NFPA.org.