Late winter blizzards, variable temperatures, and early spring windstorms have forced households in many parts of the country to use their fireplaces more and more. And when storms knock out power, the fireplace can also become the primary source of warmth.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than a third of Americans use fireplaces and other fuel-fired appliances as primary home heating sources, particularly in rural areas. Unfortunately, heating fires account for about one in three residential home fires in rural areas every year, often because of a buildup of creosote, a dark brown or black flammable tar deposited from wood smoke on the walls of a chimney, in chimneys and stovepipes. Learn More “As Winter Hangs On, Use Fireplaces Safely”
Each year, when Daylight Saving Time returns and we change our clocks, we are also reminded by fire departments across the country to check our smoke alarms and to change their batteries if necessary. But if your smoke alarms have “long-life” batteries or are hard-wired, is this advice still timely?
One word, from the U.S. Fire Administration and others: Yes!
Although long-life batteries are sometimes called “10-year” batteries, not every single long-life battery will work for 10 years. A recent study in Dallas, TX, showed a marked reduction in working smoke detectors due to battery failure after six years and according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half.
So yes, you should still test your smoke alarms at least twice a year. In fact, the NFPA recommends testing your alarms once a month. Get the basics of home smoke alarms, including how to test them, from this 2-minute video.
It is important to recognize that even hard-wired alarms can fail, so they also need to be tested. The NFPA recommends replacing any smoke alarm after 10 years.
When testing your smoke alarm, it is critical to make sure that everyone in your home is familiar with your home’s escape plan. You can learn more about planning and practice your escape at homefiredrill.org.
As reported in the Sugarhouse City Journal, Molly Clifford and the play safe! be safe! team recently hosted a workshop in Utah for teachers in the Salt Lake City School District. The goal of the workshop was to provide educators with techniques to teach fire safety to young children.
While fire safety is always relevant, the need for it is heightened during the winter due to the increased use of fireplaces, candles, heaters, and ovens. Clifford explained that kids are curious and don’t understand the impact fire can have so it’s important to teach them early how to be safe. She encouraged the educators to go on playsafebesafe.com to learn about four important fire safety lessons: go to the firefighter, stop drop and roll, crawl under the smoke, and fire prevention (i.e. staying away from matches and lighters).
Learn More “play safe! be safe!® Serves as an Important Fire Safety Education Resource to Teachers in Salt Lake City”
The play safe! be safe!® program recently won the Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award for 2016 from The National Fire Heritage Center (NFHC). The award program was created in recognition of Benjamin Franklin’s unique combination of being a writer and an advocate for fire protection in the community. In fact, Franklin was credited with creating one of the first fire companies in 1736 in Philadelphia.
The play safe! be safe! program, which educates first responders, educators and community leaders across the United States and Canada about fire prevention, was nominated by Krista Fischer for its multi-faceted, multi-media fire safety education that introduces and demonstrates four essential safety skills for pre-school children. The program has been in existence for over 21 years and has been used at more than 220 workshops. Learn More “play safe! be safe!® receives prestigious Benjamin Franklin Fire Writer’s Award”
When was the last time you checked your smoke alarms? While most people know to change the batteries of their alarms, many do not realize that the alarms themselves also expire after 10 years. The American Red Cross is leading a Home Fire Campaign that aims to help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from home fires in the U.S. by 25% by 2020.
Learn More “BIC Joins American Red Cross Initiative to Install Lifesaving Smoke Alarms in Local Neighborhoods”
Last month, BIC hosted a play safe! be safe! workshop in Rochester, New York. Molly Clifford, Executive Director at Community Health Strategies who facilitated the workshop, was in studio at FOX Rochester to help promote the program and to provide information and tips about talking to young children about fire safety.
Learn More “Play Safe! Be Safe! Workshop Featured on FOX Rochester”
According to the U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) website, 17 states now have laws that ban the sale and/or distribution of novelty and toylike lighters. Novelty lighters can be appealing to a child because they resemble a cartoon character, toy or gun, or produce flashing lights or sounds.
Learn More “Novelty Lighter Law Update”
Kathi Osmonson has been helping educate young children about fire safety and prevention since 1998. She is certified by the National Fire Academy as a Juvenile Fire-Setter Intervention Specialist and established Youth Firesetting Intervention Teams (YFIT) in 10 regions across the state.
Learn More “play safe! in Action: Kathi Osmonson, Minnesota State Fire Marshal Office”
The Fire Marshall Challenge game was developed by the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s Office and is based on the game show Jeopardy. It can be used in the classroom via smartboard, with one student designated to get input from classmates and select the correct multiple-choice answer each round before the timer runs out. Players can choose from a number of existing characters, or create and customize their own character, including profession, gender, clothes, headgear and much more.
Learn More “Classroom Activity: The Fire Marshal Challenge”