April 04, 2011 –
MAYETTA: The Potawatomi Tribal Fire Department will install free smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in homes of qualified applicants on the Reservation. To apply for the program, contact the Fire Department at (785) 966-2164 and request to be put into the applicant pool.
Deaths from fires and burns are the fifth most common cause of unintentional injury deaths in the United States and 80 percent of all fire deaths occur in the home. Particularly at risk are the very young, the very old, people with disabilities, and people who are living on a very limited income. Having a working smoke detector more than doubles one’s chances of surviving a fire.
The Potawatomi Tribal Fire Department has been awarded a limited quantity of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors through the Kansas Fire Injury Prevention Program to be installed in residences that have an occupant that is either:
- 5 years old or younger,
- 65 years old or older, or
Following are some safety tips to protect yourself and your family.
- Homes should be equipped with smoke alarms on every level, particularly outside of sleeping areas.
- Ensure that your smoke alarms are tested monthly and batteries are replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Encourage children to help test the smoke alarms. Familiarize them with the sounds of the alarm(s).
- Keep matches, lighters and candles out of reach and out of sight of children!
- Smoking is dangerous! No one should ever smoke in bed. Make sure that cigarettes/ cigars are extinguished properly before dumping ashes.
- Avoid grease build-up in the kitchen and on appliances. Cooking fires are common. Don’t leave food cooking on stovetops unattended.
- If a fire should occur, suffocate it with a pot/pan lid or a cookie sheet, or close the oven door.
- Around the holidays, Christmas trees are a primary concern. Consider using an artificial tree that is labeled “flame resistant.” If you do use an evergreen, water it daily to keep it from drying out.
- Dispose of materials from fireplaces and grills in non-flammable containers.
- Never put children to sleep in “day” clothes. Fire-retardant sleepwear can make a difference in burn outcomes.
Electrical Safety and Heat Sources
- Make sure your electrical system is not being over-taxed, this can cause a fire. Do your lights dim or flicker when extra appliances are plugged in? If you have questions or concerns, consult a certified electrician.
- Inspect wires. If you find any worn or exposed wiring from appliances, discontinue their use immediately! A fire is imminent!
- Space heaters can be dangerous if not used correctly. Make sure yours will automatically shut off if tipped over. Consult the operating instructions to make sure you are using space heaters, gas fire places, and other heat sources as intended by the manufacturer.
- Keep all flammable materials away from heat sources! If there are young children in the house, make sure space heaters and hot water heaters are inaccessible.
- Chimney fires are common. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- Keep appliances unplugged when not in use.
Escaping a Fire
- Keep bedroom doors shut while sleeping. If you think there is a fire, feel the door and knob for heat before opening.
- Have an escape route for each area of the home and a designated meeting place outside.
- Draw a map—one that’s easy for all members of the family and visitors to understand.
- When planning for a family with young children, be sure to teach them not to hide from fire or smoke and to go to firefighters who are there to help them.
- All children should be familiar with the ideas of “crawling underneath the smoke” to escape a fire. “Stop, drop and roll” is another safety principle that must be ingrained into children’s minds.
- Multi-storied buildings are of special concern. Ensure that everyone is familiar with how to use an escape ladder if necessary.
- Make sure every sleeping room has two means of escape in the event of a fire. Windows provide a secondary means of escape. Ensure they are in proper working order, are not painted shut, and guards are able to be disengaged in case of fire and escape is necessary through that window.
- Everyone must understand that once you escape, you must never reenter a burning building—no matter what you might have left behind.
- Call emergency responders (911) from a neighbor’s house.
- Make sure to practice your escape plan periodically. It will be easier to remember in case of an emergency.
- Young children should know their street address and last name (and, of course, how to dial 911).
- After you’ve planned for the family, don’t forget the pets. Alert firefighters about your pets. Don’t rely on window or door decals to alert firefighters—such decals are often found to be outdated. In the event your pet suffers from smoke inhalation, rush the animal to the vet.