To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Homeowners responsibility is key to fire safety whether it be outside the home, or inside the home.
Outside, wildland fire safety begins with creating and maintaining clearance around your home; cutting weeds and dry grass before 10 a.m. when the humidity is higher and temperatures cooler to reduce the chance of fire; and following proper guidelines for burning debris on your property, or when enjoying a campfire.
Inside, basic fire safety begins with checking the battery in your smoke detector; practicing fire drills with your family; ensuring that your burglar bars have quick release mechanisms; and keeping working fire extinguishers available.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio. (From “Ready.Gov/home-fires.”)
How do I teach my family how to leave the house quickly in an emergency? A fire escape preplan will help everyone move in the right direction. Study a few preparedness tips and share them with your family.
What kind of smoke alarm should I buy? How do I install it? All your questions and more can be found in the links below. Learn the difference between an ionization smoke alarm and a photo electric smoke alarm. If you are hard of hearing, go to the Special-Needs link for additional solutions.
Should I be worried about carbon monoxide poisoning? Learn why a CO detector is mandatory in your home and when to change the batteries. Get more information about carbon monoxide or “CO”. Find out what the symptoms are of carbon monoxide poisoning. Take a few simple steps toward identifying the cause of this invisible, odorless, colorless gas.
Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms. Use your fire extinguisher for small fires or containing the fire until the fire department arrives. Portable extinguishers have limitations and should only be used if the fire is not growing; everyone has exited the building and the fire department has been called.
Hayward has a large urban interface with seasonal brush and grasses. When we build homes in these areas known as the Wildland Urban Interface, they are prone to wildfire-like conditions. Property owners have a year-round responsibility and obligation to maintain vegetation on their property in a condition that will not contribute to the spread of wildfire. Effective fire prevention measures can keep fires from starting and reduce hazards that threaten yours and your neighbors’ property. Know what materials to use on your home for fire resistance. Know how to create a safe zone around your house, visit our webpage on Defensible Space and Weed Clearance.
For more information:
We have created a Wildfire Preparedness and Evacuation Guide for you to use in preparation for such an event. The information in this booklet is designed to help you prepare your family, home and neighborhood for the approaching wildland fire season. Over the past few years California has experienced a dramatic rise in both the number and severity of wildland fires. These fires have ravaged wildland-urban interface areas taking lives, destroying homes and obliterating infrastructure.
The Environmental Protection Agency can help guide you to other locations for more of an extensive look at the health and the byproducts of fire. The EPA site also has the ability to check the air quality in our area.
The National Weather Service issues Red Flag Warnings & Fire Weather Watches to alert fire departments of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity.
There are many informative websites to learn more about fire safety.