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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!

Summertime Fire Prevention and Safety

Graphic with fireworks and text "summertime fire prevetion and safety"

Summer is here! As we journey outdoors to enjoy the season, we need to take a moment to think about how we can all be more fire safe at home and during recreation activities.

Enjoy the Outdoors Safely

Summer is the season of cookouts. Grill safety with these tips:

  • 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.
  • Likewise, firepits should be properly maintained and operated away from dead leaves and other flammable debris.

Learn more about grilling safety from the National Fire Protection Association. 

A Word on Fireworks Safety

Even legal fireworks can cause injury and property damage if they’re not used properly.

  • Always have a competent adult in charge and never give fireworks to young children, even sparklers.
  • Only buy legal consumer fireworks from a licensed store, stand, or tent. These products typically have brightly colored labels with the manufacturers name, directions, and safety warning printed on them.
  • Always wear safety glasses when igniting fireworks, and only light one at a time.
  • Under no circumstances should you aim or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Do not attempt to reignite fireworks that failed to light the first time; allow it to stand for 20 minutes and then submerge it in water. Dispose outside in a covered trash can.

Pool Chemical Safety

Pool chlorinating products are generally safe when handled correctly.

  • Make sure to follow all the safety rules at the pool and follow the instructions for handling all pool chemicals.
  • Store all pool chemicals in temperature-controlled environments and away from public access, direct sunlight, and water.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment (e.g. gloves, goggles) when handling pool chemicals. Pool chemicals will cause irritation to the skin and eyes, and fumes can make breathing difficult.
  • Many pool chemicals are strong oxidizers. While not combustible on their own, if exposed to a fire, pool chemicals can drastically increase its intensity.

Visit the CDC website for more pool chemical safety resources and other tips for healthy pool usage.

Fire Hazards Inside Your Home

Inside your home this summer, remember to:

  • 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.
  • Take a moment to inspect the lint trap and exhaust duct of the clothes dryer for debris.
  • If you store gasoline for lawn maintenance equipment, do so using only approved containers.

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: