Fire Prevention and Safety
Please be aware smoke detectors are available free of charge from the Wellington Fire/EMS Department. Detectors are provided by the Nichols Family Trust. Contact the Fire/EMS Department for information and to obtain a smoke detector.
- Proper placement of smoke detectors in a home.
Smoke detectors are one of the most important safety features of any home. As the name implies, smoke detectors sound an alarm to alert inhabitants of the home to the presence of smoke that may be caused by a fire. Proper placement of smoke detectors, therefore, is key so you are always alerted to the presence of smoke.
- Number of smoke detectors.
At the very least, you will want to use at least one smoke detector for each bedroom. The ideally protected house is one that also has a detector in the living room, and any other living area. Also place detectors in hallways that connect each bedroom to each other. You can place detectors near, but not in kitchens. Each level of the home should be protected with smoke detectors.
Place smoke detectors either on the ceiling facing downward at the floor or high on the wall facing the inside of the room. Whichever type of placement you choose, make sure to not place a detector in a corner, smoke tends not to collect in these so-called “dead corners”. If you choose the wall placement, make sure to leave at least 4 to 6 inches clearance between the detector and the ceiling, but do not place them any lower than that.
Never install a smoke detector near a venting duct used by a central heat system. Vents can blow smoke away from the detector, inhibiting its ability to detect the smoke. To save yourself trouble in the long run, spend some time choosing a location for the smoke detector that meets all safety requirements discussed above but that is also easily accessible for maintenance and battery replacement. Change batteries at least once a year.
According to Ready.gov, a fire can go from a hazard to life-threatening in a matter of minutes. If a fire starts while you’re asleep, you need to get out fast. A full quarter of home fire deaths are caused by fires that started in the bedroom, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Practice fire drills.
Despite there being over a million residential fires each year, only a third of American households have a fire escape plan. Schedule a twice-yearly fire drill, and make one of those at night. This way you and your family are truly prepared. With a fire, every second counts, so practice your escape plan quickly. In case smoke makes it dark, practice with your eyes closed or a bandana over your head to see if you can feel your way out. If a fire starts outside your bedroom, practice crawling low to the ground toward the door. Practice touching the door knob before opening it. If it’s hot to touch, go to your other route and practice unrolling your safety escape ladders. Confirm that you can easily open your bedroom window. Practice the stop, drop, and roll in case you catch on fire.
- Regularly maintain smoke detectors.
Keep a smoke alarm in every room of your house, including your bedroom. Smoke alarms reduce your risk of dying by fire by half. Choose smoke alarms with sealed-in 10-year lithium battery. If your house is currently using hard-wire smoke alarms, replace them with battery-powered models or install battery-powered models as backups. Each month, test the alarm and clear it of dust. Every year, replace the batteries. Every 10 years, replace the smoke alarm unit. Get a separate carbon monoxide alarm and place one outside your bedroom so you’ll wake up if it starts to beep.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Most people keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen for kitchen fires, but that’s not helpful if a fire occurs upstairs or in their bedroom. Keep a fire extinguisher in your bedroom or close by. Buy a fire extinguisher with an ABC rating. This means they are able to extinguish fires caused by the widest variety of items, flammable liquids, and electronic equipment. Every year, confirm that the gauge reads 100% full, and replace it if not. Train yourself on how to use a fire extinguisher and rehearse the motions during your fire escape plan (but don’t actually squeeze it).
- Remove obvious fire hazards.
Do not light candles in your bedroom. Avoid using space heaters in the bedroom. Never smoke in your bedroom. If you have a rug in your bedroom, avoid running electrical cords under it. Regularly check that all of the electronics in your bedroom are not showing frays or damage to the wires, and if so, replace them immediately. If you live in an older home, hire a professional to come take a look at your wiring and replace anything that’s old.
Carbon Monoxide – Understanding the Risk
- What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
- Where does carbon monoxide come from?
CO gas can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces and motor vehicles.
- Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning. Protect ourself and our family from CO poisoning install at least one carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms. Make sure the alarm has been evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Carbon monoxide alarms measure levels of CO over time and are designed to sound an alarm before an average, healthy adult would experience symptoms. It is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This does not mean that CO is not present. Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year. Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage. Never keep a car running in a garage. Even if the garage doors are open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of CO. When purchasing an existing home, have a qualified technician evaluate the integrity of the heating and cooking systems, as well as the sealed spaces between the garage and house. The presence of a carbon monoxide alarm in your home can save your life in the event of CO buildup. If your carbon monoxide alarm activates call 911.
Are you prepared for a Natural Disaster?
The Wellington Fire/EMS Department is committed in educating residents by providing public awareness of what to do in case of a natural disaster.
- “Shelter in Place”
In the event of a hazardous materials release the fire or police department may ask residents to "shelter in place" or stay indoors until the release can be contained. To shelter in place means to stay in hour home, close all windows and doors, bring your pets in, and turn off your heating and air conditioning. Stay indoors, and monitor television and radio announcements for further instructions. Shelter in place is preferable to evacuation when it is not feasible to move a large amount of people in a short period of time, or to expose them to a hazardous material. Do not hesitate to call 911 if there is an emergency during the shelter in place order.
An evacuation order may be authorized by the fire or police departments. An evacuation order will be given in the event residents need to leave their homes quickly, but in a calm and orderly fashion. A shelter location such as a church, school, or other property will be detailed in the evacuation order. You can also seek shelter at a family or friends home that is far away from the emergency incident. Pets are usually not allowed in shelters so make sure you have a pre-arranged place for your pet to stay. If an evacuation order is given please take only essential items or your family disaster care kit with you, lock your home, and leave immediately. If you do not have transportation, emergency responders will arrange transportation. Know two ways out of your residential area in case one is blocked. Monitor television and radio for further information on the length of the evacuation order.
Family Disaster Supply Kit (72 hours)
If you cannot leave your home, or need to evacuate immediately and cannot return for several days you need to have a disaster kit readily available with essential items. Here is what you need:
- one gallon of water per person per day for three days
- canned meat/fruit/vegetables
- battery operated radio and extra batteries
- paper cups/plates/utensils
- flashlight and extra batteries
- cash or traveler checks
- non-electric can opener
- soap and liquid detergent
- personal hygiene items
- rain gear
- shoes or work boots
- blankets or sleeping bags
- baby items
- prescription medicines
- a first aid kit