Fire Prevention and Safety Practices from the RFD

Practice Fire Safety in the Home 

 If you have a fire in your home, get out and stay out, and call 911 from a neighbor's house.

 Exit Drills In The Home (EDITH)

To escape a house on fire; first maintain working smoke alarms in your home, and second; have a plan in which to escape your home in case of fire. EDITH is very important along with having working smoke alarms. Once a smoke alarm goes off in your home, members of your household along with yourself should react, by using your preplanned escape route to exit safely from a fire. Use the following steps to develop your escape plan.

Plan your escape.

Draw a simple floor plan of your home, showing two ways out of each room. 

Ensure all household members understand the escape routes from the plan. 

Make sure routes are clear, and that the doors and windows on the route can be opened properly.

Crawl while using your escape route, it is safer because heat and smoke rise in a fire

Practice your escape plan at least twice a year with your household members and test your smoke alarms monthly while checking the batteries twice a year (A tip to remember is: change your clock, change your batteries).

Agree on a meeting place outside where everyone can meet after exiting the home. (This will allow for a head count and allow the arriving fire fighters to gain information about possible missing members, and the fire inside.)

Remember; People who live in an apartment building should use the stairways and NOT the elevator to escape to the outside. Some high-rise buildings may use a "defend in place" plan dependent on the fire location. Know your escape plan before a fire happens.

Fire Safety in the Kitchen

Kitchens are the No. 1 source of home fires, and unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause. Moreover, children under 5 are at an increased risk of sustaining non-fire burns from cooking activities. (grease, boiling water)

 Cooking Tips for Fire Safety  

Don't leave the kitchen with something cooking on the stove;

Don't cook if you are drowsy or feeling the effects of alcohol, medication or other drugs;

Roll up your sleeves and don't wear loose fitting clothing. If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll until the fire is out

Clean cooking equipment regularly to remove grease or cooking materials that can ignite;

Keep pot pot and pan handles from extending beyond the edge of the stove so children won't bump of pull them off 

 Extinguishing Grease Fires

Built up grease catches fire easily. Wipe appliance surfaces after spills and clean stove surfaces, ovens and appliances regularly. An appropriate sized lid should be kept near the stove to cover and smother any grease fire contained in a pan. Baking soda can also be used. Never use water to extinguish a grease fire. 

 Smoke Alarm Information

  • Smoke alarms should be installed in every room of your home except the kitchen.
  • Test your batteries once every six months, and replace your alarm every ten years, or immediately if it becomes defective. 

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

 What is Carbon Monoxide? 

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and toxic gas. It is produced as a by- product of combustion. (Combustion refers to a heat producing, chemical reaction between some substance and oxygen) Carbon monoxide is abbreviated as "CO".

 What produces Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is produced by gas or oil home appliances and also fireplaces, wood burning stoves, and automobiles; through the exhaust.

 Why is Carbon Monoxide dangerous?

Carbon monoxide is dangerous because it displaces oxygen in the body needed for life.

If appliances are improperly vented, Carbon monoxide levels could build up and poison occupants.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, which are similar to the flu, are headache, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. Protect yourself and your family from the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning by: 

  • Install a CO alarm with an audible alarm near sleeping areas.
  • Maintain and inspect gas fired home appliances for proper venting.
  • Do NOT start an automobile in a closed attached garage.

 Fire Extinguishers

Fire extinguishers used properly can be effective against small fires. There are certain conditions that you must follow before attempting to use an extinguisher:

  1.  First, know how to use the fire extinguisher before an emergency. There is no time to try to read the instructions on its use during a fire.
  2.  Alert someone to call 911 to alert the fire department. Depending on your occupancy, alerting others may be done by pulling a local alarm box if you have this type of alarm system. 
  3.  Make sure you have the right fire extinguisher for the class of fire, and that you have an exit to your back in which to escape.  DON’T put a fire between you and an exit in which to escape.
  4.  Use the “PASS” word as a reminder for using the fire extinguisher:
    •  Pull the pin out (this will break the plastic seal used to hold the pin in).
    •  Aim at the base of the fire with the nozzle, or hose.
    •  Squeeze the levers together to discharge the extinguisher.
    •  Sweep the fire from side to side while aiming at the base of the fire. 

 The Classes of Fires

  •  Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, and paper.
  •  Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, and oil-based paint.
  •  Class C: Energized electrical equipment such as a TV, computer, stereo, etc.
  •  Class D: Combustible metals such as magnesium.

 Basic Types of Fire Extinguishers

  •  ABC Dry Chemical:  Multipurpose type, useful for class A, B, and C fires.
  •  Carbon Dioxide: Useful on class B and class C fires
  •  Water: Used only on class A fires
  •  ABC Dry Chemical: Fire extinguishers are the best type to purchase for the home.

 FIRE PLAY: When a Child’s Curiosity Can Kill

The Fire Related Youth services or (FRY) of the Rochester Fire Department was developed to deal with a very serious concern; fires involving youths. At least 40% of all set fires involve youngsters, and 65% of those are caused by children between 5 & 9 years old experimenting with matches & lighters.

The real problem is that curiosity about fire is a very normal part of growing up, especially for boys between 5 & 9. Normal, though does not mean “okay”. Most fires caused by children occur at home, where there is most danger to lives & property, even when adults are on hand. Only auto accidents injure more kids than fires.

The Rochester’s Fire Departments Fire Related Youth services can HELP! Trained firefighter investigators experienced with youngsters, and fire educational teaching skills welcome the chance to talk to any child, and/or family in need. FRY’s goal is to educate through intervention, and NOT punish. FRY has a 94% success rate with first time fire offenders. FRY’s education intervention is not just an individual contact, but an involvement with the entire family of those affected.

Discuss fire safety in your home with your family. Ensure your home has a working smoke alarm to help protect you against the threat of fire. Teach your family the dangers of fire, and how to escape your home if fire should occur. Also, KEEP MATCHES & LIGHTERS OUT OF THE REACH OF CHILDREN! Set a good example by taking special care when using them. Children learn best by imitating the adults around them.

If you need any further information, or help with this topic, please call the Fire Related Youth services department at (585) 428-7103To receive additional fire safety information related to other topics, contact the Fire Department’s Community Outreach Unit at (585) 428-1362We have various pamphlets available, and firefighters to answer your questions.

Additional information about juvenile fire setting may be found at this website

911 and it's Use

911 is the emergency number to call in the Rochester area. 911 is for any emergency, and can be used to receive help from either the fire department, police department, or ambulance. Children should be taught the emergency number 911, and when to use it.

When teaching children about 911, they should be made aware of it’s importance. 911 is for emergencies only, and not for prank calls. Prank calls to 911 unduly tax the 911 system, and may cause a delay to someone who may really need help. A common mistake by Rochester area children with 911 is confusing it with the police non-emergency number 311. 311 is not an emergency number, and is used for non-emergency police service. Another common mistake small children make with 911 is believing that the "11" part of 911 is actually an eleven. Children should understand that a "1" must be pressed twice.

When dialing 911, the caller should be ready with some important information to relay to the emergency operator. This should include the callers name, address, phone number, and the nature of the emergency. Children should be reminded that if they have a fire in their home, they should get out and call 911 from a neighbor’s house or a nearby pay phone. Remember, 911 calls made on a pay phone are free.

If you have a fire, get out and stay out, and call 911 from a neighbors house. To receive additional fire safety information related to other topics. Contact the Fire Department’s Community Outreach Unit at (585) 428-1362.

House Numbering and its Importance

In the event of an emergency, are your home or business address numbers visible to emergency responders? Help the Rochester Fire & Police Department, along with the ambulance find your address quickly. By ensuring your home or business have its numbers posted, and that they are clearly visible from the street.

As a reference, Rochester City Code Chapter 61 outlines specific requirements for house numbering in the City of Rochester. Follow these general hints to help ensure your numbers are visible:

  1. Use numbers at least 4 inches high.
  2. Use numbers that contrast the color of your home or business.
  3. Ensure that trees or shrubs do not block the view of your numbers; trim back as necessary.
  4. Provide lighting to numbers during evening hours to ensure visibility.
  5. Check to see if your numbers are indeed visible, by viewing them from the middle of your street.