Prevention Tips

Whether you are 9 years old or 90 years old, you’re never too old to protect yourself, your family, your home, and your possessions from fire.

If you have kids, teach them proper fire safety with the assistance of the Elmira Fire Department mascot, Matches the Careless Pup.

Make sure you set a good example for your kids when teaching Fire Safety- always be safe yourself. Use the tips below to help you protect your family from common fire and safety hazards in and around the house.

  • Install and maintain smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. Smoke detectors should be located on each level of your home and outside every bedroom.
  • Plan and practice fire drills with all family members using alternate means of escape, including not being able to use the main exit.
  • Know two ways to get out of every room in your house.
  • Know whether your children will wake up to the sound of the smoke detector.  If they don’t, install a smoke detector closer to their bed or have a plan in place to wake them in case of fire.
  • Familiarize yourself to the location of the fire alarm, pull stations, and locations of portable fire extinguishers. Know how to use portable fire extinguishers. Know which type of fire extinguisher to use depending on the type of fire.
  • Do not use elevators during a fire evacuation.
  • If you discover a fire, immediately alert the building occupants of the fire and do not re-enter the building. Dial 911 from a nearby location.
  • Upon the activation of the smoke detector or the detection of a fire:
    1) Begin evacuation procedures immediately.
    2) Dial 911.
    3) Assist or direct others to the exit.
    4) Close doors behind you when leaving the building.
    5) Assemble in a designated area, away from the building.
    6) Take a head count to assure that everyone has exited the building safely.
  • To avoid scalds and save money on utility bills, turn down the temperature of the hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Always test the water before getting into the tub. Never place a child or infant into the tub without first placing your hand in the water to make sure it is not too hot.
  • Never hold a child while you drink or handle hot beverages. Keep cups of coffee or tea out of children’s reach.
  • Coal, wood, and pellet stoves need space. Keep curtains, furniture, and paper away from the stove. Never leave a child alone near a stove.
  • Always turn pot handles in towards the stove. Keep young children away from the oven door.
  • Portable kerosene heaters can be dangerous. Never refuel a heater while it is still hot and only refuel outdoors. Only use kerosene as a fuel. Watch children closely. It is easy for a child to fall into or against a portable heater.
  • Keep children, especially crawlers and toddlers, away from furnaces and heating vents.
  • Many fires are started by children playing with matches or lighters. These are tools not toys. Remember, children are no match for fire.
  • When selecting a Christmas tree, shake the tree or run your fingers through the branches. If the needles fall off the tree, the tree is too dry.
  • Keep the tree three (3) feet away from exits or heating sources. Place the tree near an outlet so cords are not running across hallways and rooms. This prevents a tripping hazard.
  • Place the Christmas tree in a sturdy base or tree stand. If you have pets, secure the tree or tie the tree to prevent it from tipping.
  • Do not place cords under doorways or beneath rugs.
  • Keep the tree fresh by checking the water daily and adding more when necessary.
  • When the tree becomes dry, remove the tree from the home. Do not place the tree in a garage or next to the house.
  • REMEMBER: Dry wood is a fire hazard!
  • Any artificial tree should be flame-retardant.
  • When decorating the tree, use only approved lights. Follow directions and do not use more than the recommended number of sets.
  • Look for worn, frayed or broken cords.
  • If you have decorative lights outside, use only those bulbs designed for outdoor use.
  • If you plan to hang stockings on the fireplace, do not start a fire in the fireplace.
  • Always unplug the tree lights before leaving the house or before going to bed.
  • Any type of paper or combustible decorations should be kept away from heat sources such as lights.
  • Candles should be placed on a non-tipping stand.
  • Never allow candles to burn unattended or while everyone is sleeping.
  • Never leave candles burning when leaving the house for any reason.
  • Fans and air conditioners should not be used with electrical extension cords. They should be plugged directly into an outlet.
  • When going swimming, always supervise your children. Never leave the pool area for even a moment.
  • When using a barbecue grill, make sure the grill is at least 36″ away from all combustible materials.
  • Be sure to store the gasoline that you use for the lawnmower, in an all metal safety-type can, outside of the house or in a garage or shed.
  • Never store gasoline or propane indoors. They should be stored outside the home.
  • Place the burned area in cool water immediately to reduce pain.
  • Do not put butter, greasy ointments, or other home remedies on the burn.
  • Call your doctor for any burn except those that are red, sore, and not blistered.
  • Do not open blisters.
  • Do not remove clothing stuck to the wound.
  • For burned skin that is blistered white, charred, or brown, cover with a clean, wet cloth and see your doctor.
  • Burns often cause shock. Shock can include: loss of consciousness, convulsions, reduced blood pressure and shivers. If the person is in shock:
    1) lay the person flat
    2) keep warm with a clean sheet
    3) take to the hospital
    4) do not give food or drink