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Be Fire Safe PA

The Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner (OSFC) provides important year-round and seasonal fire prevention information to help Pennsylvanians stay safe and healthy.

Explore the below information to Be Fire Safe PA!

Spring Season Fire Safety

Graphic with house and grill with text "Spring Cleaning for Fire Safety Inside the Home and Outside The Home"

With the arrival of spring and warmer temperatures, OSFC is offering Pennsylvanians seasonal fire safety tips to help with annual spring cleaning chores.

Inside the home, it is important to think about removing fire hazards:

  • Test your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Discontinue the use of any electrical appliances with frayed cords, and make sure they are not extended under rugs or other flammable materials.
  • Water can leak into homes during the winter months; it is a good idea to check for water around electrical appliances.
  • Take a moment to inspect the lint trap and exhaust duct of the clothes dryer for debris.

It is also important to take extra safety precautions outside the home:

  • Remove dead leaves and other flammable debris from around foundations and from under decks, porches, and stairs.
  • Outdoor work areas such as garages and tool sheds should be kept organized, and flammable materials should be stored in fire-rated containers away from children.
  • Grills should be checked for rust, insects, spiders, grease, and other debris before use.
  • Worn gas hoses should be replaced.
  • Never grill indoors, in a garage, breezeway, or carport. Grills should only be used 10 feet away from your house or any building.

Year-Round Fire Safety

Have a Plan and Practice It

Do you know what to do in the event your home catches fire? Does your family? This knowledge is critical to ensure everyone’s safety. From the moment a smoke alarm sounds, you and your loved ones may have just 2 minutes to respond, according to NFPA. 

Take the time to develop an evacuation plan. Families should have a designated meeting place a safe distance from their home, for instance, a mailbox. Everyone should be able to identify to points of escape from each room in the house. Its also a good idea to practice one’s emergency plan under challenging conditions, like when it is dark.

Make sure the kids understand how and when to dial 9-1-1. (They should also know their home’s physical address.) Teach them the stop, drop, and roll method for extinguishing fire, and when practicing one’s escape plan, teach them to crawl to avoid smoke.

Don’t forget about older adults. These individuals often have unique health challenges or mobility issues that make evacuation burdensome. Unsurprisingly, home fire fatalities disproportionately affect older adults.

Check Your Smoke Alarms and Fire Extinguishers

Smoke and CO alarms are vital to ensuring your family’s safety. Test these devices frequently (at least once a month) and replace any batteries when needed. 

If you have fire extinguishers in your home, they should be routinely checked to make sure they’re fully charged, and within their expiration dates.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Homes should be equipped with CO detectors. Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed.

The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). Symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscular coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Ultimately death

Keeping Safe in the Kitchen

Cooking fires are the number one cause of fires and home injuries. The leading cause for fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Don’t let a holiday or special occasion in the kitchen turn into a disaster:

  • Stay 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, boiling, or broiling food.
  • If you are simmering, baking, or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the kitchen 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:

  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • 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.

Learn More

To learn more about fire prevention and safety, visit these websites and resources: