House and Apartment Fire Safety

House Fire, Bowling Green Daily News
What to do if there’s a fire:
·         Get out of the house/apartment.
·         Once out – STAY OUT! Do not go back in for ANY reason.
·         Call 9-1-1 from a safe location.
·         Give the dispatcher as much accurate information as you can.
·         Use your fire escape plan. Go to the designated family meeting place.
·         Try to let neighbors know to get out. Help elderly folks or families who have many children.
·         Have someone meet the fire trucks when they arrive, if it can be done safely.
·         Keep the fire lanes open.
·         If you can’t get out, use a cell phone to stay in touch with 911 dispatchers. Shine a flashlight or wave a sheet out the window to alert firefighters that you’re trapped.
·         Stay calm and don’t panic.

House Numbers

Every second counts when emergency crews are responding to your home.  Can they find you easily?  Is your street address clearly marked?  Can the numbers be seen from the street?  It’s helpful to have numbers on both your mailbox and on your house.

* House numbers should be:Visible from the street, both during the day and at night
* Located near the front door
* A minimum of 4 inches in height
* Numbers, not letters (for example - 417, not four hundred seventeen)

Home Fire Safety 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2008, U.S. fire departments responded to 386,500 home structure1 fires. These fires caused 13,160 civilian injuries, 2,755 civilian deaths and $8.2 billion in direct damage.  Here are some other quick facts about home structure fires:

* 83% of all civilian fire deaths resulted from home structure fires.

* Cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries.

* Kitchens are the leading area of origin for home structure fires (40%) and civilian home fire injuries (36%).

* Only 4% of home fires started in the living room, family room, or den; these fires caused 24% of home fire deaths.

* 8% of reported home fires started in the bedroom. These fires caused 24% of home fire deaths, 21% of home fire injuries, and 15% of the direct property damage.

* Careless smoking is a leading cause of civilian home fire deaths.

* December, January and February were the peak months for reported home structure fires and home fire deaths.

* Almost two-thirds (63%) of reported home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke detectors or no working smoke detectors.

* Most fatal fires kill one or two people. In 2008, 13 home fires killed five or more people. These 13 fires resulted in 79 deaths.

* Homes are dwellings, duplexes, manufactured homes, apartments, townhouses, rowhouses, and condominiums.

Apartment Fire Safety 

Because families in apartment complexes live so close together, there are special areas of concern when it comes to fire safety.  Apartment complexes are simply a series of small, connected homes.  It’s important to remember that what you do in your apartment can affect people living six-doors down, or even in the next building.

Special hazards that affect people who live in apartments:

·         Often, there is only one way in or out---no back door.
·         Stairways are often built entirely of wood. If the stairwell or walkway is on fire, you may not be able to exit through the front door.
·         Congested parking can mean blocked fire hydrants and/or blocked fire lanes. (A ladder truck can be 8 to 9 feet wide and 50 feet long. A blocked fire lane can slow down response time.)
·         An apartment building is, in effect, a very densely populated neighborhood. (If the downstairs or next-door apartment is on fire, it can spread quickly to adjoining apartments in a matter of minutes.)
·         Without properly working smoke detectors, it may take a long time before you find out that another part of the apartment building is on fire. Consequently, this could decrease your chances of getting out of the building alive.

Tips for living safely in apartment buildings:

·         Make sure you have smoke detectors that work. The Fire Code requires working smoke detector(s) in every apartment unit. Existing apartments require smoke detectors in the hallway outside sleeping areas. Newly constructed apartments require them in the sleep room(s) as well. Remember to check the batteries once a month, and replace the batteries at least once a year.
·         The Fire Code states that no person shall use gas or charcoal grills in or under any attached covered patios, balconies, covered walkways or roof overhangs.  Electric grills are acceptable.  When in use, any gas or charcoal grill should be a minimum of 10 feet from buildings, structures, covered walkways or roof overhangs.
·         Don’t park in front of fire hydrants and don’t park in fire lanes. Respecting the fire restrictions may literally save your life. When friends visit, be sure to remind them to park only in appropriate parking areas.
·         Never leave smoking materials burning. Never smoke in bed. The most common cause of people dying in a fire is a result of careless smoking.
·         Have a fire escape plan. Practice it. Know at least two ways to get out of your apartment. Pick a family meeting place outside the apartment building. Don’t use elevators (they may take you right into the fire!)  Use the stairs instead!
·         Make sure there’s a number on your apartment door. If there isn’t, contact management.
·         Don’t run extension cords under carpets or from unit-to-unit. They can easily overheat. Extension cords are for temporary use only. They are not to be used as a substitute for permanent wiring.
·         Get acquainted with the elderly or disabled folks in your building or community. If there’s a fire, they may have extra difficulty getting out. You may be able to help them, or you can direct firefighters to their apartment.
Target Arson and Crime Stoppers Offer $1,000 Reward for Information Leading to Arrest and Indictment

Contact: Target Arson: 1-800-27ARSON, Bowling Green Fire Department, (270) 393-3702 or Crime Stoppers, (270) 781-CLUE