Safety and Fire Prevention
This page is intended to provide
information on how to better protect yourself, your family and your home
from the dangers of fire. It also highlights some of the activities of the
SMFPA in the areas of fire prevention and education. Find out about
year-round safety tips and tools, as well as special events such as open
houses and demonstrations.
The U.S. Fire Administration encourages you to remember that many fire
deaths and injuries are preventable.
than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and more than 20,000 are
injured. Many of them might be alive today if they had only had the
information they needed to avoid a disaster. The following life-saving
tips could make a big difference. By incorporating them in your habits
now, you could help save a life.
Did you know?
Eighty-two percent of all fire deaths occur in the home.
Electrical fires are a special concern during the winter months, which
call for more indoor activities and increased use of lighting, heating
Deaths caused by winter fires are particularly preventable.
Following these simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates
dramatically. Please share them with your neighbors because knowledge is
the best fire protection.
Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test smoke alarm
batteries every month and change them at least once a year. Consider
installing a 10-year lithium battery-powered smoke alarm, which is
sealed so it cannot be tampered with or opened.
Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, away from combustible
surfaces, have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation. Never
use flammable liquids (such as gasoline) to start or accelerate fire.
Make sure your space heaters have an emergency shut off in case they tip
over. Kerosene heaters are not permitted in many areas. ONLY use the
fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Never refill a space heater while
it is operating or still hot. Refuel outside, away from the house.
Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected annually and
cleaned if necessary. Chimney tar build-up is a common cause of chimney
Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks
igniting nearby carpets or furniture.
Never thaw frozen pipes with a blow torch or other open flame. Use hot
water or a UL listed device such as a hand-held dryer.
Dispose of hot ashes in metal containers placed away from the house.
Never use the range or oven to heat your home.
there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of snow for easy
FEMA Urges Caution When Using Portable
WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) has joined with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) in issuing a warning to consumers confronted by the
recent winter weather. When there’s a power outage, exercise caution when
using portable generators.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible killer. You can’t see or smell it. A
generator’s exhaust contains poisonous CO which can kill you in a matter
year, at least 65 people died from generator-related CO poisoning. Many of
the deaths occurred after winter storms knocked out power.
Follow these important generator safety tips:
Never use a portable generator inside a home, garage, shed or other
partially enclosed space, even if doors and windows are open.
Place portable generators outside only, far away from the home. And keep
the generator away from openings to the home, including doors, windows
Read the label on the generator and the owner’s manual, and follow the
Install CO alarms with battery backup in the home outside each sleeping
Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy.
CO poisoning from exposure to generator exhaust can quickly lead to
incapacitation and death.
Last year, CPSC mandated a
new danger label on
generators manufactured after May 14, 2007. The label states that, "Using
a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES."
and CPSC also caution people to never use charcoal for cooking in the
home. Every year individuals lose their lives attempting to cook with
charcoal when power is out. Charcoal fires should only be used outside of
more information, please visit these pages on the CPSC and U.S. Fire
Administration Web sites:
Help us to find you
to may emergency calls, we have noticed that there are many homes and
businesses which have missing or illegible street numbers. Precious
moments are lost when the exact street number cannot be found immediately.
Township ordinance requires each address to be clearly marked, and in the
case of multiple residences off a single driveway, signs with arrows can
save valuable time in an emergency.
Smoke Alarms Missing in Two-thirds of Deadly Residential Fires
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Nearly 3,400 people die each year in fires at home,
according to a new study released by the Federal Emergency Management
Agency's U.S. Fire Administration. Michael D. Brown, Under Secretary of
the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for Emergency Preparedness and
Response and FEMA's Director, called the special report, Fatal Fires,
"Residential structure fires,
the very place people should feel the safest, unfortunately account for
the vast majority of fatal fires," said Brown. "What's most worrisome is
that in a full two-thirds of these fires, smoke alarms are missing or not
Smoke alarms, when present
need to be tested frequently and batteries need replacing every six
"As we move toward spring with
Daylight Savings Time, it's time to change those batteries when you change
your clocks. And it's time to do some spring cleaning on your alarm to
make sure it works when you need it most," Brown said.
According to the new FEMA
report, structure fires accounted for 74 percent of the 3,300 fatal fires
in 2002. Of these fatal structure fires, 94 percent occurred in
residences. Arson was the leading cause of fatal residential structure
fires at 22 percent, followed closely by smoking at 21 percent. There were
3,380 fire-related deaths in 2002, down slightly from other years. The
report summarizes some of the major characteristics of fatal fires and is
based on data from the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS).
"An unacceptable number of
Americans are losing their lives and being injured by fires each year,"
said U.S. Fire Administrator R. David Paulison. "We know that smoke
alarms, escape plans, child fire prevention programs, and residential
sprinklers save lives. We continue to encourage everyone to take the steps
necessary to ensure their homes are fire safe today."
A copy of the report can
be downloaded from:
FEMA statistics & reports
Links to Fun Fire Safety Sites:
Visit our friend,
at his very own website.
Kidde Home Safety Education Center,
to see great tips and games for fire safety
ABC Operation Save a Life
site for useful
fire prevention information.
the Fire Dog® game
to help children learn about emergency preparedness.
Please Let Us Through - It's the LAW!
Unfortunately, over 100 firefighters
are killed in the line of duty each year. What most people don't know is
that some of these firefighters are killed before they even reach the
scene. These firefighters are killed in tragic and often preventable motor
Firefighters, through the
years, have been killed while riding to fire scenes on fire apparatus or
sometimes even in their own personal vehicles. It has recently become a
concern of firefighters all over the country, that the drivers of fire
trucks receive adequate training before they drive such vehicles to
scenes. In Washington Township, apparatus drivers must undergo an
extensive emergency vehicle training course.
We also need your assistance
and cooperation to assure that firefighters arrive at the scene safely.
First of all, when there is a
fire call in Washington Township, the fire siren will sound 5 times. This
should be an indication to you that firefighters will be responding to the
station to man the apparatus, and that the trucks will soon be responding
to the scene. Although we use extreme caution when responding, there may
be some motor vehicle or pedestrian confusion when the firefighters are
Secondly, if you are driving
and hear sirens, please pay special attention to the traffic around you
and more importantly, behind you. If you observe fire apparatus
approaching from behind, please pull over to the side of the road
immediately and wait for the truck to pass. Do not attempt to drive faster
to avoid pulling over. Even if the truck is several blocks behind you, it
makes it safer for us if you pull over right away. It is also important
that you do not pull over in an intersection, since you never know when or
where the fire truck is going to stop or turn.
The volunteers are issued
permits for using blue warning lights on the personal vehicles. When in
use, your act of yielding to these vehicles will make our response safer
Finally, a common danger to
firefighters is that very often a vehicle will pull to the side of the
road but then immediately pull back after the truck has passed. This is
dangerous because often a second piece of apparatus may be directly behind
the one you observe. Please check to see that there are no other emergency
vehicles responding prior to continuing on your way.
Your assistance in pulling
over for emergency apparatus is not only an important safety factor, it's
the law. New Jersey Motor Vehicle Law (39:4-92) states: "Upon the
immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle giving audible
signal... the driver of every vehicle shall immediately drive to a
position as near as possible and parallel to the right hand edge or curb,
clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until
the emergency vehicle has passed". The law further states: "The driver of
every vehicle shall not follow any authorized emergency vehicle, traveling
in response to an emergency call, closer than 300 feet, or drive nearer to
or park the vehicle within 200 feet of any fire apparatus stopped in
answer to a fire alarm." Failure to react to an emergency vehicle as
described above could result in a summons and fine of up to $500 and 2
points for "Failure to Yield".
Just as importantly, keep in
mind that besides being the law, it is the right thing to do. When an
emergency vehicle displays its warning lights and siren, it is responding
to assist someone who has called for help. This someone could very easily
be a loved one, friend, or neighbor. Someday, it could even be you!
The rules are simple. PULL
OVER and STOP. Wait until all emergency vehicles have passed. Someone's
life could depend on it.
Fire Prevention in the Schools
year during Fire Prevention Week, the Schooley's Mountain firefighters
visit and work with pre-school, kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders to teach
and reinforce key elements of fire safety such as 9-1-1, "Stop, Drop &
Roll", don't play with fire. We look to these children to help "teach"
their parents about necessary fire safety precautions. If you have a group
interested in a tour or presentation, please e-mail us or call the
station. To view some photos of one of our annual school visits, click on
the thumbnails below.
Be alert to the nature of lightweight construction used in many newer homes and businesses, and how it
reacts in the event of a fire.
for an informative video on
the subject. The local photos below also show how quickly collapse can
occur, even from a relatively minor fire.
Click on each of the thumbnails below for larger images.
Due to this serious
concern, developments built in Washington Township with this type of
construction have red triangles attached to the top of the street signs to
alert firefighters to the potential added danger in a fire.
indicates both floor & roof trusses were used in construction.
Click here for links to other
valuable fire prevention resources.