Fire is one of the most common disasters, causing more deaths than any other type of disaster. About 75% of deaths in fires are from smoke inhalation. Most deaths in house fires occur when people are sleeping. Smoke numbs the senses and causes deeper sleep. But fire doesn't have to be deadly if you have early warning from a smoke detector and everyone in your family knows how to escape calmly. Please be serious about the responsibility for planning for and practicing what to do in case of a fire. One way to be prepared is by having various household members do each of the items on the checklist below. Then sit down together to discuss and finalize your personalized Fire Plan. If this plan doesn’t work for your family, adopt another plan. The important thing to remember is to have a working plan, whatever the source.
If a fire occurs in your home, GET OUT, STAY OUT and CALL 911 for help.
If you see smoke in your first escape route, use your second way out.
If you must exit through smoke, crawl low under the smoke to escape.
If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it is hot, use your second way out.
Once you are out, stay out!
When the fire department arrives, make sure someone in the family tells them immediately where someone is trapped in the house OR that everyone is out of the house.
If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a bright-colored cloth at the window.
If there is a telephone in the room, call 911 and tell them where you are.
Is your chimney safe?
How do you know?
You need to know whether your chimney is safe or not before using your stove or fireplace each fall and winter. Broken or cracked chimneys can let heat, smoke and toxic gasses such as carbon monoxide into your home, and your home could even catch fire. Some damage is obvious, and some is hidden:
Check to see if bricks have fallen or the chimney is leaning.
Look for cracks at joints where the chimney connects to the firebox, at the roofline and in the attic.
Check to see if the chimney cap is clogged
Use a screwdriver to check the mortar between the bricks or stones. If it crumbles when you pick at it, the chimney may be a hazard.
When in doubt, consult a licensed engineer or contractor. For the name of an inspector, call your insurance or mortgage company.
Clean your chimney or have a chimney sweep clean it annually. Look around the outside of your home for other fire dangers.
Store all combustibles such as firewood, picnic tables, boats, etc away from your home.
Regularly clean roof surfaces and gutters of pine needles, leaves, branches and other debris to avoid accumulation of flammable materials.
Remove portions of any tree extending within 10 feet of the flue opening of any stove or chimney.
Keep any open flames, such as candles or torches enclosed in glass or other fire proof material.
Place portable fire pits on stable fireproof surfaces, such as concrete and away from combustibles.
Keep your grill away from walls, out from under eaves, and away from overhanging leaves/branches.
Keep your grill at least three feet away from your home. If you are unsure of how to properly install smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, call 789-3610. Accomack County residents who do not have a smoke detector and are unable to purchase one may call 789-3610