DURING OR AFTER A DISASTER:
A wide range of natural disasters
occurs within the United States every year. Natural disasters can have
a devastating effect on you and your home. The Haworth Volunteer Fire Department
and the U.S. Fire Administration encourage you to use the following safety
tips to help protect yourself, your family and your home from the potential
threat of fire during or after a summer storm. You can greatly reduce your
chances of becoming a fire casualty by being able to identify potential
hazards and following the outlined safety tips.
Fire Safety Factsheet
SOME TYPES OF FIRE RELATED
HAZARDS PRESENT DURING AND AFTER A SUMMER STORM
Lightning associated with thunderstorms
generates a variety of fire hazards. The power of lightning's electrical
charge and intense heat can electrocute on contact, splitting trees and
Pools of water and even appliances
can be electrically charged.
Appliances that have been exposed
to water can short and become a fire hazard.
Generators are often used during
power outages. Generators that are not properly used and maintained can
be very hazardous.
Look for combustible liquids
like gasoline, lighter fluid, and paint thinner that may have spilled.
Thoroughly clean the spill and place containers in a well-ventilated area.
Keep combustible liquids away
from heat sources.
If your home has sustained
flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse
box, turn off the power.
Assume all wires on the ground
are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
Be aware of and avoid downed
utility lines. Report downed or damaged power lines to the utility company
or emergency services.
Remove standing water, wet
carpets and furnishings. Air dry your home with good ventilation before
Have a licensed electrician
check your home for damage.
Smell and listen for leaky
gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave
the house and leave the door(s) open.
Never strike a match. Any size
flame can spark an explosion.
Before turning the gas back
on, have the gas system checked by a professional.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
and guidelines when using generators.
Use a generator or other fuel-powered
machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm
Use the appropriate sized and
type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat
and cause fires.
Never run cords under rugs
or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
Never connect generators to
another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity
or “backfeed” can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.
Kerosene heaters may not be
legal in your area and should only be used where approved by authorities.
Do not use the kitchen oven
range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be
a source of toxic fumes.
Alternative heaters need their
space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away.
Make sure your alternative
heaters have “tip switches.” These “tip switches” are designed to automatically
turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
Only use the type of fuel recommended
by the manufacturer and follow suggested guidelines.
Never refill a space heater
while it is operating or still hot.
Refuel heaters only outdoors.
Make sure wood stoves are properly
installed, and at least 3 feet away from combustible materials. Ensure
they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.
Use a glass or metal screen
in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets,
furniture or other combustible items.
Be careful when using candles.
Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children.
Some smoke alarms may be dependent
on your home’s electrical service and could be inoperative during a power
outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install
a new battery at least once a year.
Smoke alarms should be installed
on every level of your home.
All smoke alarms should be
tested monthly. All batteries should be replaced with new ones at least
once a year.
If there is a fire hydrant
near your home, keep it clear of debris for easy access by the fire department.