"Sky Lanterns" are the new craze for weddings and parties. Sky lanterns are small hot air balloons usually made from oiled rice paper on a wire frame and heated by a candle or a waxy fuel cell. The idea is to light them and then release them in to the air. The heat of the flame can carry sky lanterns miles into the air. They "float majestically across the sky lighting up the night in a serene and peaceful manner". The theory is they will float for a while, the fuels will be spent and the lantern will come harmlessly down to earth. Unfortunately this doesn't always happen; many times the lantern will come back to the ground while the fuel is still burning causing an increase in fire related incidents. For this reason the use of these lanterns is highly discouraged for the safety of the user as well as the property owner that may be miles away.
Guide to Safe Outdoor Burning
We encourage you to practice fire safety in your homes and on your property. Please give every consideration to your neighbors while enjoying the outdoors and use the tips included in the flyer below to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
A Guide to Safe Outdoor Burning - Downloadable PDF
Safe Space Heating
Portable space heaters and gas or electric fireplaces are convenient but can be hazardous if not used properly.
Prevent burns, fires and carbon monoxide hazards by following these safety tips:
- Use appliances only for their intended purpose. Never try to heat your home using your stove, outdoor grill or any other appliance not specifically designed for indoor heating
- Keep children and pets a safe distance from heating appliances
- A portable space heater should never be left unattended. Don't use a space heater overnight in the room where you are sleeping.
- Maintain proper ventilation in the room where a fuel-source (gas, kerosene, etc.) heater is being used. Open the fireplace damper or open a window slightly to ensure the flow of fresh air and prevent carbon monoxide build-up.
- Place heaters at least three feet away from bedding, furniture, drapes and other combustibles.
- Always follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing, operating and maintaining your heating appliance.
- Keep properly functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home and close to sleeping areas.
- Never use electric heaters near water because of the possibility of shock or electrocution.
- Avoid using extension cords with electric heaters.
Cooking Safety Tips
- Wear short or close fitting sleeves while cooking.
- Be on alert! If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol don't use the stove or stovetop.
- Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
- If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
- Keep anything that can catch fire - oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains - away from your stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire:
- Turn off the appliance and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
- Never throw water on a grease fire to extinguish it.
- If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
- Keep a lid nearby when you're cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
- For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
Click here to view Fire Prevention and Safety Tips
Smoke Alarms/Home Safety
Eighty percent of all fire deaths occur in the home. Having a working smoke detector/alarm more than doubles one's chances of surviving a house fire. Nearly half of the residential fires and three-fifths of residential deaths occur in homes with no smoke detector/alarms.
- Install a smoke detector/alarm on every level of your home, at least one in every hallway serving bedrooms and inside of all bedrooms. Whenever possible use smoke detector/alarms that use the home's electricity with battery backup, and that will activate ALL alarms in the home. This means, if one detector/alarm sounds, they ALL sound providing precious extra seconds to escape.
- Develop and practice a Fire Escape plan for the whole family.
- Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector. Carbon Monoxide is a DEADLY, colorless, odorless gas caused by incomplete combustion usually caused by faulty appliances such as furnaces, water heaters, gas fired clothes dryers, kerosene heaters, fireplaces, and other open flame devices.
- Change the batteries in all types of detector/alarms at least once a year - perhaps when you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time.
- Check smoke alarms monthly by pushing the test button. If you cannot reach the button easily, use a broom handle.
- If cooking sets off the alarm, do not disable it. Turn on the range fan, open a window or wave a towel near the detector to dissipate the smoke. Correct the problem that is causing the smoke.
- Smoke detectors/alarms wear out over time. Replace yours if it is 10 years old or more. The preventable loss of a loved one can be much more costly than the price of a smoke detector or battery.
- Keep lighters, matches, and other ignitables secured out of the reach of children.
- Do not run electrical cords under your bed, carpets/rugs or trap them against a wall where heat can build up. If you must use an extension cord make sure it is properly sized and not overloaded.
- Take extra care when utilizing portable heaters. Keep bedding, clothes, curtains and other flammable items at least three feet away from space heaters. Never use extension cords with heaters.
- Make sure everyone in your family knows at least two escape routes from their bedroom and practice them often. Windows are usually one route. Make sure the windows operate easily and the occupant of the room is able to open them. An easily accessed ladder may be necessary for bedrooms of two-story homes.
- In case of fire, stay low to the floor beneath the smoke, and have an escape plan already worked out. Get out, stay out.
- Be sure your address is visible from the street.
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