Fire Safety Tips

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Whether at home, college or work, fire safety is always a top priority. Here are some tips to help you, your family and friends stay safe.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Remember, fire is not the only danger in your home. Protect yourself and your family from deadly carbon monoxide by installing detectors.

Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips [PDF] 

Maintenance and Care of Alarms and Systems

Commercial Fire Alarm Systems 

If the alarm goes off and you smell smoke or see fire, get out of your home and CALL 911.

Before doing any maintenance or repair on your alarm system you must contact the monitoring company and have your system taken off-line. Any repairs must be completed by a licensed fire alarm contractor.

Residential Security and Fire Alarm Systems

If the alarm goes off and you smell smoke or see fire, get out of your home and CALL 911.

Before doing any maintenance or repair on your alarm system you must contact the monitoring company and have your system taken off-line. Battery replacement and cleaning should be performed as noted in the above section.

Residential Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

If the alarm goes off and you smell smoke or see fire, get out of your home and CALL 911.

If the alarm goes off or starts to beep and you do not smell smoke and do not see any fire, here are a few things you can do BEFORE calling the fire department:

  1. Look for a red light on one of the alarms. A red light indicates that devise in in an alarm condition.
  2. Disconnect the detector from all power sources for 15 minutes. Replace the battery with a fresh one and re-install the detector.
  3. Vacuum or used compressed air to clean dust and dirt from the alarms. Like most appliances in your home they accumulate dust. It is a good idea to do this each time you replace the battery.
  4. Replace batteries and clean alarms at least once each year.
  5. Replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Replace carbon monoxide alarms every seven years.
  6. If your detector continues to beep after cleaning and replacing the battery it should be replaced.

Smoke Alarm Chirp Flyer [PDF]

Safety Information for College
  1. Housing: Choose housing (whether on or off-campus) that has smoke alarms and sprinklers.
  2. Cooking: Only cook in designated areas and never leave cooking unattended.
  3. Smoking: If you smoke, only do so outside the building.
  4. Electrical: Do not overload electrical outlets.
  5. Candles: Never leave candles unattended. Use flameless candles instead.
  6. Escape Plans: Always have an escape plan whether in class, at home or at a party.
  7. React: If you hear a fire alarm, don’t just stay in your room. Follow the appropriate escape plan. It may not be a drill.
  8. Know Campus Rules: Many colleges and universities have policies regarding candles, cooking appliances and smoking for safety reasons.
Safety Information for Home
  1. Install smoke detectors and fire sprinklers: Smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home and in each bedroom. Test smoke detectors monthly and replace their batteries at least once a year. Detectors more than 10 years old should be replaced.
  2. Plan your escape: Sit down with your family and come up with an escape plan to practice at least twice a year. If a fire breaks out in your home, you have to get out fast. Be sure to know at least two ways out of every room and have a meeting place outside.
  3. Crawl low under smoke: If you must escape through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees. During a fire, smoke rises with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor.
  4. Stop, drop and roll: If your clothes catch fire, don't run. STOP where you are, DROP to the ground, and ROLL over to smother the flames.
  5. Matches and lighters are tools, not toys: Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where kids can't see or reach them.
  6. Keep an eye on smokers: Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed or when you are drowsy could be fatal. Provide smokers with deep ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them.
  7. Practice candle safety: Candles are a leading cause of home fires. Never leave a candle unattended and always keep candles away from anything that can burn or where they might be knocked over. Consider using flameless candles instead.
  8. Cook carefully: Never leave cooking unattended. Enforce a "kid-free zone" around your kitchen stove and keep pot handles turned inward. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat source. Leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  9. Give space heaters space: Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed.
  10. Cool a burn: Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never use ice or butter. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately.
  11. Use electricity safely: Never overload electrical circuits, outlets or cords. If an electric appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, and have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cord that is cracked or frayed. Don't overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don't tamper with your fuse box or use improperly sized fuses.
  12. Use outdoor cooking grills and recreational fires with caution: Never add gasoline to start or rekindle a fire. Make sure that the grill or fire is away from nearby structures and that children are supervised at all times.

Find a Comprehensive Guide to Fire Prevention and Safety here.

Safety Information for Work
  1. Eliminate Fire Hazards: Keep work spaces clear of combustible clutter, have damaged electrical cords replaced and don’t overload circuits.
  2. Know the locations of fire extinguishers and fire alarm stations and how to use them
  3. Have an escape plan: Know all building exits and participate in workplace fire drills.
  4. Report fires or unsafe conditions immediately: Report unusual odors or defective equipment to a manager immediately. If a fire is detected, pull the fire alarm and/or call 911.
  5. Evacuate safely: Crawl low under smoke, test any doors with the back of your hand to ensure they are cool before you open them and always use the stairs instead of elevators in an emergency.
Think you know everything there is to know about fire safety? Test your knowledge with interactive games on the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s website.