Fire Prevention and Education

Recall Information

Kidde Recalls TruSense Smoke and Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarms due to Risk of Failure to Alert Consumers to a Fire (.pdf)


Garbage Can Public Service Annoucement

Bar-B-Q Safety
U.S. fire departments respond to an average of 8,900 home structure and outdoor fires involving grills, hibachis or barbecues per year. These fires caused an average of ten civilian deaths, 160 civilian injuries, and $118 million in direct property damage annually.  The leading causes of grill fires were a failure to clean, having the grill too close to something that could catch fire and leaving the grill unattended.

There are three types of grills on the market.
  1. Propane gas grills which use propane tanks.
  2. Natural gas grills which use gas piped in from your house.

    CAUTION: These two types of grills are not interchangeable. Make sure all fittings are tight, and there is adequate ventilation.
  3. Charcoal grills which use charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid.
Safety Tips
  1. Read all instructions before using your grill. Note safety, operation and handling instructions.
  2. Clean grill thoroughly before and after using. This is to avoid grease build up that can cause flare-ups and/or fire. NEVER put lighter fluid directly on flames!
  3. Keep all grilling activities away from buildings, houses and garages.
  4. Use all grills outdoors. Never grill inside houses, garages or on wooden porches.
  5. Store all lighting fluids away from children.
  6. Have a multipurpose A-B-C fire extinguisher, a garden hose, bucket of water or sand nearby.
  7. Keep all children and pets away from grilling area (at least 5 feet in all directions).
  8. Never leave cooking unattended.
  9. Use proper grilling utensils for safe handling.
  10. Use only fluids recommended for charcoal grilling, and dispose of charcoal properly in a metal container dowsed with water. Check cooking area for proper extinguishment.

Who should have a CO Detector?

Single Family Residences
A single family residence, heated by a forced air furnace or a boiler that burns a fossil fuel , should have a carbon monoxide detector within forty (40) feet of all rooms used for sleeping. The carbon monoxide detector should be placed so it will be easily heard in all sleeping areas and should be installed according to manufacturers instructions.
Multiple Family Dwellings & Apartment Buildings
A multiple family dwelling or apartment building, in which a hot water or steam boiler, that burns a fossil fuel and is located in the basement, should have one approved carbon monoxide detector installed in the room containing the central heating unit. The carbon monoxide detector should be installed according to manufacturers instructions.
Every apartment that has its own warm air heating plant (portable furnaces, space heaters, etc.) that burns a fossil fuel, should have a carbon monoxide detector within forty (40) feet of all rooms used for sleeping. The carbon monoxide detector should be placed so it will easily be heard in all sleeping rooms and should be installed according to the manufacturers instructions.
What is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a odorless, colorless gas produced by burning fossil fuels (Fossil fuels include natural gas, coal, kerosene, oil, propane and wood etc.) Exposure to lower levels of CO over several hours can be just as dangerous as exposure to higher levels for a few minutes.
Who is at risk?
Those most at risk are:
  • Children
  • Elderly
  • People with lung and heart disease
  • Pregnant woman
Signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include:
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Dizziness, Confusion
  • Trouble Breathing

If prolonged exposure continues, LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS, COMA and ultimately DEATH will occur.
Do you have any of these fuel burning appliances?
  • Gas furnace
  • Gas water heater
  • Fireplace
  • Wood burning Stove
  • Gas ranges or Ovens
  • Gas dryers
  • Kerosene heaters
  • Charcoal/gas grills
  • Lawn mowers
  • Snow blowers
  • Chain saws
Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can occur if these appliances are improperly installed/maintained, damaged, malfunctioning or improperly used/ventilated. Furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves and chimneys should be checked yearly by a professional service. This is to ensure proper function and ventilation. Yard equipment (ie., lawn mowers, snow blowers, etc.) or charcoal/gas grilles should never be used or run in the home.
What to do if detector goes off?
  1. Ventilate the house and get out
  2. As you leave, turn off fuel burning appliances if possible.
  3. Get fresh air
  4. Call 911
  5. Seek medical attention if you have signs or symptoms of CO poisoning
  6. Don’t go back into the building until cleared by the fire department

Portable Fire Extinguishers

Used properly, a portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives.
Extinguishers Have Limits
The operator must know how to use the extinguisher. There is no time to read directions during an emergency.  The extinguisher must be within easy reach and in working order, fully charged.
The extinguisher must be kept near the exit, so the user has an escape route that will not be blocked by fire.  The extinguisher must match the type of fire you are fighting. Extinguishers that contain water are unsuitable for use on grease or electrical fires.  The extinguisher must be large enough to put out the fire. Most portable extinguishers discharge completely in as few as eight seconds.
Choosing Your Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers are tested by independent testing laboratories. They will be labeled for the type of fire they are intended to extinguish.
Class of Fires: There are three basic classes of fires. All fire extinguishers are labeled using standard symbols for the classes of fires they can put out. A red slash through any of the symbols tells you the extinguisher cannot be used on that class of fire. A missing symbol tells you only that the extinguisher has not been tested for a given class of fire.
Class A: Ordinary combustibles such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.
Class B: Flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, grease, tar, oil-based paint, lacquer, and flammable gas.
Class C: Energized electrical equipment including wiring, fuse boxes, circuit breakers, machinery, and appliances.
Many household fire extinguishers are “multipurpose” A-B-C models, labeled for use on all three classes of fire. If you are ever faced with a Class A fire and don’t have an extinguisher with an “A” symbol, don’t hesitate to use one with the “B-C” symbol.
WARNING: It is very dangerous to use water or an extinguisher labeled only for Class A fires on a grease or electrical fire. The “C” in a rating indicates that you can use the unit on electrical fires.
Extinguisher Sizes: Portable extinguishers are also rated for the size of fire they can handle. Normally, an extinguisher that has a rating of 2-A:10-B:C on its label is recommended for each floor level. The larger the number, the larger the fire that the extinguisher can put out. Higher-rated models are often heavier. Make sure you can hold and operate the extinguisher before you buy.
Extinguishers should be installed in plain view, above the reach of small children, near an escape route and away from stoves and heating appliances. Ask you local fire department for advice on the best locations.
Extinguishers require routine care. Read your operator’s manual and ask your dealer how your extinguisher should be inspected and serviced. Rechargeable models must be serviced after every use. Disposable fire extinguishers can be used only once, and must be replaced after use. Following manufacturer’s instructions, check the pressure in your extinguishers once a month.
Remember the PASS-word
PULL the pin: This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher. Some extinguishers may have other seals or tamper indicators.

AIM low: Point the extinguisher nozzle (or hose) at the base of the fire.

SQUEEZE the lever above the handle: This discharges the extinguishing agent. Releasing the lever will stop the discharge. (Someextinguishers have a button instead of a lever.)

SWEEP from side to side: Moving carefully toward the fire, keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames appear to be out. Watch the fire area. If the fire re-ignites, repeat the process.

Home Fire Safety Tips

These Are Simple Changes That Could Save Your Life:

Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries

The IAFC and fire experts nationwide encourage people to change smoke detector batteries at least annually. An easy way to remember to change your batteries is when you turn your clock back in the fall. Replace old batteries with fresh, high quality alkaline batteries, such as energizer brand batteries, to keep your smoke detector going year-long.
Check Your Smoke Detectors
After inserting a fresh battery in your smoke detector, check to make sure the smoke detector itself is working by pushing the safety test button.  Count Your Smoke Detectors Install at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, including the basement and family room and, most important, outside all bedrooms.
Vacuum Your Smoke Detectors
Each month, clean your smoke detectors of dust and cobwebs to ensure their sensitivity.
Change Your Flashlight Batteries
To make sure your emergency flashlights work when you need them, use high-quality alkaline batteries. Note: Keep a working flashlight near your bed, in the kitchen, basement and family room, and use it to signal for help in the event of a fire.
Install Fire Extinguishers
Install a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen and know how to use it. Should you need to purchase one, the IAFC recommends a multi-or all-purpose fire extinguisher that is listed by an accredited testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory.
Plan and Practice Your Escape
Create at least two different escape routes and practice them with the entire family. Children are at double the risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused during fires. Make sure your children understand that a smoke detector signals a home fire and that they recognize its alarm.
Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery
Energizer brand Batteries, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and your local fire department urge you to adopt a simple, potentially lifesaving habit: change the batteries in your smoke detector when you change your clocks back to standard time in the fall.
Consider The Following:
Each day, an average of three kids die in home fires – 1,100 children each year. About 3,600 children are injured in house fires each year. 90 percent of child fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors.  Although smoke detectors are in 92 percent of American homes, nearly one-third don’t work because of old or missing batteries.  A working smoke detector reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly half.

Smoke Detectors and Home Escape Planning Could Save Your Life

Why a Smoke Detector?
Most fires occur at night when people are sleeping. A smoke detector can alert you when there is a fire, in time to save your life. Smoke detectors work by sensing rising smoke from a fire and sounding an alarm.
What Type Should I Buy? 
Photoelectric uses a photoelectric bulb that sends forth a beam of light. When smoke enters, light from the beam is reflected from smoke particles into a photocell and the alarm is triggered. Ionization Chamber contains a small, safe radiation chamber source that produces electrically charged air molecules called ions. When smoke enters the chamber, it causes a change in the flow of ions, triggering the alarm.
Both are equally effective and neither requires that you be familiar with its inner workings. As long as you buy a detector that is tested by a major testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), you can be assured it has met certain testing requirements.
Where Should I Install My Detector?
Smoke rises, so the best place to install a detector is on the ceiling or high on an inside wall just below the ceiling. If the detector is below an un-insulated attic or in a mobile home, the detector should be placed on the wall 4″ – 12″ below the ceiling.
In a Multi-level home, a detector is needed on each level. On the first floor it should be placed on the ceiling at the base of the stairwell. Detectors should be installed within 15 feet of the bedrooms so they can be heard when the door is closed. But, remember not to install a detector within 3 feet of an air supply register that may blow smoke away. Don’t install a detector between an air return and the sleeping area. The smoke will be re-circulated and diluted resulting in a delayed alarm.
If you are installing more than one detector you may want to consider purchasing units that can be interconnected. That way when one unit detects smoke, all the detectors will sound the alarm.
How Are Detectors Powered?

These are the easiest to install. They require no outlets or wiring connection, however, batteries must be replaced twice a year. We recommend you change them in the Spring and in the Fall when you change your clocks. All UL listed battery operated detectors are required to sound a trouble signal when a replacement is needed. The signal usually lasts 7 days, so it’s advised to check the efficiency of the detector following extended periods away.
Household current:
Detectors can be powered with household current two ways. They can be plugged into any wall socket or can be wired permanently into your home’s electrical system.
How Can I Best Care for My Detector?
 Dirt, extreme changes in temperature and cooking exhaust can cause a false alarm or malfunction of the detector. To prevent false alarms, locate the detector away from air vents, air conditioners and fans. Keep the grillwork free of dirt by occasional vacuuming and dusting. Don’t paint the cover of a smoke detector as this may clog the grillwork. Test your detector every month, or more often if necessary to make sure it’s working. This is usually done with the test button, if provided.

Home Fire Safety Checklist

How many of these hazards can you eliminate in your home?  If you answer “NO” to at least one of these questions, then the time for action is NOW.
  1. Have you removed all combustible rubbish, leaves, and debris from your yard?
  2. Have you removed all waste, debris, and litter from your garage?
  3. If you store paint, varnish, etc., in your garage, are the containers tightly closed?
  4. Is there an approved safety can for the storing of gasoline for the lawn mowers, snowblowers, and snowmobiles, etc.?
  5. Do you keep your basement, storerooms, and attic free from rubbish, oily rags, old papers, mattresses, and broken furniture?
  6. Is there a sufficient number of metal cans with lids for rubbish and combustible debris?
  7. Are stoves, broilers, and other cooking equipment kept clean and free of grease?
  8. Are curtains near stoves arranged to prevent their blowing over the burners or flames?
  9. Are members of the family forbidden to start fires in stoves or fireplaces with kerosene or other flammable liquids?
  10. Do you always see that your portable space heater is placed well away from curtains, drapes, furniture, etc.?
  11. Are all of your electrical appliances including irons, mixers, heaters, lamps, fans, radios, television sets, and other devices “UL” listed?
  12. Do all rooms have an adequate number of outlets to take care of electrical appliances?
  13. Have you done away with all multiple attachment plugs?
  14. Are all flexible electrical extension and lamp cords in your home in the open? ( None placed under rugs, over hooks, through partitions or door openings)
  15. Do you keep matches in a metal container away from heat and away from children?
  16. Do you extinguish all matches, cigarettes, and cigar butts carefully before disposing of them?
  17. Do you see to it that there are plenty of noncombustible ash trays in all rooms throughout the house?
  18. Are all members of the family instructed not to smoke in bed?
  19. Do you know that the number to the Arlington Fire District is 911?
  20. Do you have a home escape plan in case of a fire?
  21. Do you hold home fire drills at least once a month?
  22. When you employ babysitters, do you instruct them what to do in case of a fire?
  23. Did your entire family take part in completing this checklist?
  24. Do you at least have a smoke detector on every level of your home, and within 15 feet of your bedrooms?

Winter Fire Safety Tips for the Home

Space heaters and heating stoves are used throughout the nation to increase the warmth in rooms. They do the job but can be dangerous. In order to use them safely, follow these guidelines.
  • Never use a fuel burning appliance without proper vents to the outside. Burning fuel (kerosene, coal or propane, for example) produces deadly fumes.
  • Be sure your heater is in good working condition. All room heaters need frequent checkups and cleaning. A dirty or neglected heater is a critical fire hazard.
  • Use only the proper fuel for each heater. Never introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that fuel.
  • Never quicken a fire with kerosene or gasoline.
  • Keep gasoline or other flammable liquids stored outside of the home at all times.
  • Maintain adequate clearance in all directions around space heaters and heating stoves. (Surrounding surfaces should not become too hot for your bare hand.) Three feet is the minimum.
  • Use a screen around stoves or space heaters which have open flames. Give the heater adequate clearance from walls and combustibles such as clothes racks, curtains, beds, or other furniture.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure your house wiring is adequate. Avoid overloading the circuit and overloading extension cords.
  • Avoid using electric space heaters in bathrooms and certainly do not touch one when you’re wet.
  • Avoid the use of Kerosene Heaters.
  • When refueling an oil unit, don’t overfill it. If cold fuel is used, it will expand as it warms up inside your home and may cause burner-flooding; this could cause flare-ups. Don’t fill your heater while it is burning.
  • Keep young children away from space heaters-particularly when they are wearing nightgowns. The nightgowns can be sucked in by a draft created by the heater and ignited.
  • If you are using an approved, UL labeled space heater or heating stove in your bedroom, turn off your heater or turn it low before going to bed. When using a fuel burning heater in the bedroom, open the window. Ventilation prevents suffocation that can be caused by a heater consuming oxygen.
  • Use ONLY safety listed equipment. If you choose an oil heater, look for the UL label; a gas appliance, the AGA or UL label; or an electric heater, the UL label.
When temperatures inside are kept down, a crackling fire in the fireplace is a cozy and cheery way to keep warm but these fires, if not carefully tended, could cause tragedy. To use them safely, follow these guidelines:
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start the fire.
  • Keep a metal screen in front of your fireplace. Flying embers can start fires.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite soot in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal in your fireplace, in a charcoal broiler or in a hibachi unit inside your home. Burning charcoal gives off deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Be sure no flammable materials hang down from or decorate your mantel. A spark from your fireplace fire could ignite these materials and cause a fire.
  • When you go to bed, be sure your fireplace fire is out. Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper can help hot ashes build up heat to the point where a fire could flare up and ignite the room while you are asleep.
  • If your fireplace hasn’t been used for some time, have it and the chimney checked before using.
  • Follow the directions on the package if you use man-made logs. Never break a man-made log apart to quicken the fire.
Furnace Heating
It’s important that you have your furnace checked out and cleaned regularly, and that it be in good working condition. Furnace fire safety tips need to be observed all year round. Some things you should know:
  • Be sure all furnace automatic controls and emergency shutoffs are in good condition.
  • Leave furnace work to experts. Don’t attempt repairs unless you are qualified.
  • Have the repair man check the wall and ceiling near the furnace and flue. If they are hot, additional insulation or clearance may be needed.
  • Check the flue pipes. Are they well supported? Free of holes and clean?
  • Is the chimney solid? No cracks or loose bricks? All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry. Are they?
  • Keep trash and combustible storage away from the heating system.
  • Don’t store hot ashes in the home; take them outside immediately.
Kitchen Stoves
  • Never use a gas range or an oven to heat your kitchen. Any un-vented fuel burning appliance is capable of producing deadly levels of carbon monoxide.
  • Don’t leave lit oven doors open. Children could burn themselves on the heating elements.
Detection and Escape
All homes, condominiums, and apartment residences (including hotel rooms) are required by law to have smoke detectors installed.
  • Install a smoke detector outside the bedroom areas on the ceiling and on every living area of your home.
  • Have a fire escape plan and have the entire family practice it. If windows are emergency exits in your home, train your family to use them in case a fire should strike and see that the storm windows open easily.
  • Plan a meeting place outside for all family members to meet after practicing your drill. This will help to ensure that everyone has escaped the building safely.
Frozen pipes? Don’t try to thaw them with a blowtorch or other open flames. Use hot water or a UL labeled device for thawing; otherwise a fire could be the result. Is there a fire hydrant outside of your home? If there should be a fire, firefighters need to be able to hook their hose up to that hydrant. Shovel the snow away from the hydrant. It may save your home or that of your neighbors.
  • If a Fire Strikes, Sound the Alarm, Leave the Building Quickly, and Stay Outside.
  • Notify the Fire Department by Dialing 911 and Say “I Want to Report A Fire.”

Recovering from a fire may take a long time and many of the things you have to do will be new to you. If you are not insured, your recovery from a fire loss most likely will be dependent upon your own resources. Private organizations that can help include the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. You also could talk with your church or synagogue. Local civic groups such as the Lions or Rotary Clubs also can be of help.
Insurance Information
If you are insured, your insurance will be the most important single component in recovering from a fire loss. A number of coverages are available such as – homeowner’s, tenant’s or condominium owner’s insurance policies.
Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurer. The insurer promises to do certain things for you. In turn, you have certain obligations. Among your duties after a fire loss would be to give immediate notice of the loss to the insurance company or the insurer’s agent.
  • Protect the property from further damage by making sensible or necessary repairs such as covering holes in the roof or walls. Take reasonable precautions against loss, such as draining water lines in winter if the house will be unheated for some time. The insurance company may refuse to pay losses that occur from not taking such reasonable care.
  • Make an inventory of damaged personal property showing in detail the quantity, description, original purchase price, purchase date, damage estimate and replacement cost.
  • Cooperate with the insurer or his/her adjuster by exhibiting the damaged property.
  • Submit, within a stated time period (usually 30 – 60 days), a formal statement of loss. Such a statement should include:
The time and cause of loss
  • The names and addresses of those who have an interest in the property. These might include the mortgage holder, a separated or divorced spouse or a lien holder.
  • Building plans and specifications of the original home and a detailed estimate for repairs.
  • The damage inventory mentioned above.
  • Receipts for additional living expenses and loss of use claims.
Valuing Your Property
A pre-fire inventory along with a videotape of all your property could prove to be a valuable record when making your claim.  When adjusting your fire loss or in claiming a casualty loss on your Federal income tax, you will have to deal with various viewpoints on the value of your property. Some terms used are listed below:
  • Your “personal valuation” is your attachment to and personal valuation of your property lost in a fire. Personal items have a certain sentimental value. This term is not meant to belittle their value to you but is used to separate feelings about the value from objective measures of value. It will be objective measures of value which you, the insurer, and the Internal Revenue Service will use as a common ground.
  • The “cost when purchased” is an important element in establishing an item’s final value. Receipts will help verify the cost price.
  • Fair market value before the fire also is expressed as “actual cash value.” This is what you could have gotten for the item if you had sold it the day before the fire. Its price would reflect its cost at purchase and the wear it had sustained since then. Depreciation is the formal term to express the amount of value an item loses over a period of time.
  • “Value after the fire” is sometimes called the item’s “salvage value.”
  • The cost to replace the item with a like, but not necessarily identical, item is the replacement cost.
Adjusting the Loss
“Loss adjustment” is the process of establishing the value of the damaged property. This is the result of a joint effort among a number of parties. Basic parties to the process are the owner or occupant and the insurance company and its representatives.
The owner or occupant is required by the insurance contract to prepare an inventory and cooperate in the loss valuation process. An insurance agent may act as the adjuster if the loss is small. The insurer may send an adjuster who is a permanent member of the insurer’s staff, or the company may hire an independent adjuster to act in its behalf. It is the insurance adjuster’s job, as a representative of the insurance company, to monitor and assist in the loss valuation process and to bring the loss to a just and equitable settlement.
Either you or the insurer may hire the services of a fire damage restoration firm or fire damage service company. These firms provide a range of services that may include some or all of the following:
  • Securing the site against further damage
  • Estimating structural damage
  • Repairing structural damage
  • Estimating the cost to repair or renew items of personal property
  • Packing, transportation, and storage of household items
  • Securing appropriate cleaning or repair subcontractors
  • Storing repaired items until needed
It is important to coordinate with the insurance adjuster before contracting for any services. If you invade the insurer’s responsibility area by contracting without its knowledge or consent, you may be left with bills to pay that otherwise would have been covered by the insurer.
Replacement of Valuable Documents and Records
Who to Contact
Driver’s license
Local department of motor vehicles
Bank books
Your bank, as soon as possible
Insurance policies
Your insurance agent
Military discharge papers
Local Veterans Administration
Local passport office
Birth, death, marriage certificates
State Bureau of Records in the state of birth, death or marriage
Divorce papers
Circuit Court where decree was issued
Social Security or Medicare cards
Local Social Security Office
Credit Cards
The issuing companies, as soon as possible
Titles to deeds
Records department of city or county in which the property is located
Stocks and bonds
Issuing company or your broker
Your lawyer
Medical records
Your doctor
Issuing company
Income tax records
The Internal Revenue Service Center where filed or your accountant
Auto registration title
Department of Motor Vehicles
Citizenship papers
The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
Prepaid burial contracts
Issuing company
Animal registration papers
Society of registry

Salvage Hints

Smoke odor and soot sometimes can be washed from clothing. The following formula often will work for clothing that can be bleached:
  1. 4-6 tbsp. of Tri-Sodium Phosphate
  2. l cup Lysol or any household chlorine bleach
  3. l gallon warm water
  4. Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clear water and dry well.
Be aware that Tri-Sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used as a cleaning agent. It should be used with care and stored out of reach of children and pets. Wear rubber gloves when using it. Read the label carefully. To remove mildew, wash the fresh stain with soap and warm water. Then rinse and dry in sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and salt, or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.
Cooking Utensils
Your pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished with a fine-powdered cleaner. You can polish copper and brass with special polish, salt sprinkled on a piece of lemon or salt sprinkled on a cloth saturated with vinegar.
Electrical Appliances
Appliances that have been exposed to water or steam should not be used until you have a service representative check them. This is especially true of electrical appliances. In addition, steam can remove the lubricant from some moving parts. If the fire department turned off your gas or power during the fire, call the electric or gas company to restore these services – DO NOT TRY TO DO IT YOURSELF.

Wash your canned goods in detergent and water. Do the same for food in jars. If labels come off, be sure you mark the contents on the can or jar with a grease pencil. Do not use canned goods when cans have bulged or are dented or rusted.
If your home freezer has stopped running, you still can save the frozen food. Keep the freezer closed. Your freezer has enough insulation to keep food frozen for at least one day – perhaps for as many as two or three days. Move your food to a neighbor’s freezer or a rented locker. Wrap the frozen food in newspapers and blankets or use insulated boxes. Do not re-freeze food that has thawed.
To remove odor from your refrigerator or freezer, wash the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or use one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water. Some baking soda in an open container, or a piece of charcoal can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odor.
Flooring and Rugs

When water gets underneath linoleum, it can cause odors and warp the wood floor. If this happens, remove the entire sheet. If the linoleum is brittle, a heat lamp will soften it so it can be rolled up without breaking. If carefully removed, it can be re-cemented after the floor has completely dried. Small blisters in linoleum can be punctured with a nail and re-cemented if you are careful. Dilute regular linoleum paste thin enough to go through a hand syringe and shoot adhesive through the nail hole. Weigh down the linoleum with bricks or boards. It usually is possible to cement loose tiles of any type. Wait until the floor is completely dry before beginning.
Rugs and carpets also should be allowed to dry thoroughly. Throw rugs then can be cleaned by beating, sweeping or vacuuming, and then shampooing. Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible. Lay them flat, and expose them to a circulation of warm, dry air. A fan turned on the rugs will speed drying. Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry. Even though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base of the tufts can quickly rot a rug. For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call your carpet dealer or installer or qualified carpet cleaning professional.
Mattresses and Pillows

Reconditioning an innerspring mattress at home is very difficult, if not impossible. Your mattress may be able to be renovated by a company that builds or repairs mattresses. If you must use your mattress temporarily, put it out into the sun to dry. Then cover it with rubber or plastic sheeting. It is almost impossible to get smoke odor out of pillows. The feathers and foam retain the odor.
Leather and Books

Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth. Stuff purses and shoes with newspapers to retain shape. Leave suitcases open. Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap. You can use steel wool or a suede brush on suede. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold weather and dry away from heat and sun.
Wet books must be taken care of as soon as possible. The best methods to save wet books is to freeze them in a vacuum freezer. This special freezer will remove the moisture without damaging the pages.  If there will be a delay in locating such a freezer, place them in a normal freezer until a vacuum freezer can be located.
Locks and Hinges

Locks (especially iron locks) should be taken apart, wiped with kerosene and oiled. If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole, and work the knob to distribute the oil. Hinges also should be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
Walls and Furniture

To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture and floors, mix together:
  1. 4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
  2. 1 cup Lysol or any chloride bleach
  3. 1 gallon warm water
  4. Wear rubber gloves when cleaning. After washing the article, rinse with clear warm water and dry thoroughly.
  5. Walls may be washed down while wet. Use a mild soap or detergent. Wash a small area at one time, working from the floor up. Then rinse the wall with clear water immediately.
  6. Ceilings should be washed last. Do not repaint until the walls and ceilings are completely dry. Wallpaper also can be repaired. Use a commercial paste to repaste loose edges or sections. Contact your wallpaper dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners. Washable wallpaper can be washed like an ordinary wall, but care must be taken not to soak the paper. Work from bottom to top to prevent streaking.
  7. Do not dry your furniture in the sun. The wood will warp and twist out of shape. Clear off the mud and dirt by scrubbing with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution. You can also rub the wood surface with a 4/0 steel wool pad dipped in liquid polishing wax, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff.
  8. Remove the drawers and let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them. Wet wood can decay and mold, so allow it to dry thoroughly. Open doors and windows for good ventilation.
  9. Turn on your furnace or air conditioner, if necessary. If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a mixture of borax dissolved in hot water. To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup of household ammonia and a half cup of water. Wipe dry and polish with wax, or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup turpentine and a half cup of linseed oil. Be careful because turpentine is combustible.
Money Replacement

Handle burned money as little as possible. Attempt to encase each bill or portion of a bill in plastic wrap for preservation. If money is only half-burned or less (if half or more of the bill is intact), you can take the remainder to your local Federal Reserve Bank for replacement. Ask your personal bank for the nearest one. Or you can mail the burned or torn money via FIRST CLASS REGISTERED MAIL to:
U.S. Treasury Department

Main Treasury Building, Room 1123
Washington, D.C. 20220
Mutilated or melted coins can be taken to the Federal Reserve Bank, or mailed via FIRST CLASS REGISTERED MAIL to:
Superintendent, U.S. Assay Office

32 Old Slip
New York, NY 10005
If your U.S. Savings Bonds have been mutilated or destroyed, write to:
U.S. Treasury Department

Bureau of Public Debt
Division of Loans and Currency
537 South Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60605
Attn: Bond Consultant
Include name(s) on bonds, approximate date or time period when purchased, denominations and approximate number of each.

Space Heater Safety Tips

  • Always make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper ventilation. Burning fuel (kerosene, coal, or propane, for example) produces deadly fumes.
  • Be sure your space heater is in good working condition. All space heaters need frequent checkups and cleaning. A dirty or neglected heater is a critical fire hazard.
  • Use only the proper fuel for each heater. Never introduce a fuel into a heating unit not designed for that unit.
  • Store kerosene, gasoline or other flammable liquids outside the home at all times.
  • Use an approved safety can for the storing of flammable liquids.
  • Maintain adequate clearance in all directions around space heaters. Give the heater adequate clearance – 3 feet is the minimum – from walls and combustibles, such as clothes, curtains, beds or other furniture.
  • Never leave children unsupervised in a room with a space heater.
  • Keep young children away from space heaters, particularly when they are wearing nightgowns which can be drawn into the heater by a draft and ignited.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure your house wiring is adequate. Avoid overloading the circuit. Avoid using extension cords. Use an approved power strip with a built-in circuit breaker.
  • Never cover a heater’s cord with carpeting or furniture. This could cause the cord to overheat and start a fire.
  • Avoid using electric space heaters in the bathroom. Never touch an electric heater when you are wet.
  • When refueling a kerosene heater, avoid overfilling it. If cold kerosene is used, it will expand as it warms up inside your home and may cause burner flooding. This could cause flare ups.
  • Never fill your kerosene heater while it is burning.
  • Turn off your heater or turn it on low before going to bed.
  • When using a fuel burning heater, open a window to provide adequate ventilation.
  • Use only safety listed equipment. Space heaters should be labeled with U.L. or A.G.A certification.

Kerosene Heater Safety Tips

While some kerosene heaters are currently legal, the Arlington Fire District DOES NOT RECOMMEND their use based upon incidence of fire and potential fire hazards.
Purchasing Tips
Buy a modern heater that has been tested and approved by one or more of the recognized testing agencies such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM). Make sure that the dealer demonstrates it for you. Also make sure that the dealer can service the heater and has parts readily available. The heater is only as good as the service and repair it receives. The heater should have low center of gravity to make accidental tip overs unlikely.
Heaters must have a safety shutoff device which automatically snuffs out the flame if the heater is tipped. Ask your dealer to demonstrate what happens if the heater is tipped over. A fuel gauge should be provided to prevent overfilling or unnecessary refilling. A siphon pump provided by the kerosene heater dealer will help prevent accidental fueling spills. When purchasing a kerosene heater, check with the dealer for the BTU rating which is the appropriately sized unit for the area you wish to heat.
How to Correctly Operate your Kerosene Heater

Read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for correct operation and maintenance of the heater. Keep the instruction booklet available for future reference.
  • Use only Grade K-1 kerosene. It should be as clear as water. Yellow or colored kerosene will smoke, emit unpleasant odors, and damage the operation of the wick on the heater.
  • Never use additives designed to purify kerosene. These additives have not been proved effective, and in fact in many cases they are highly flammable and dangerous liquids.
  • Never use gasoline, camp stove fuel or other flammable liquids in your kerosene heater.
  • Kerosene should be stored in a vented metal container with a tight fitting lid. It should be clearly marked FOR KEROSENE USE ONLY. Never use a red container or any container that has had a flammable liquid in it. For safe storage, never keep kerosene near any source of heat or ignition.
  • Provide adequate ventilation. This can be done either by opening a door to an adjacent room or by leaving a window open.
  • Place the heater away from curtains, furniture and other combustibles. Make sure that it is not blocking an exit or walkway.
  • Kerosene heater surfaces are very hot. Severe burns will occur if these surfaces are touched. Keep small children away from the heater and instruct them not to touch the controls.
  • Since kerosene heaters have an open flame, do not use flammable solvents, lacquers, aerosol sprays or gasoline in the same room.
  • When turning the heater off, make sure the flame is extinguished before leaving the area or retiring for the night. NEVER leave a heater ‘on’ while unattended.
  • Refill the heater outside when the unit is cool. Use a siphon pump to prevent spillage. NEVER refuel heater while it is burning.

The majority of fires and casualties relating to kerosene heaters have resulted from the abuse and misuse of the heater by the operator. Make sure to retain the manufacturer’s instructions and these safety tips, and review this information before each heating season and from time to time during the season.
Detection and Escape
  • Install a smoke detector outside the bedroom areas on the ceiling and on every level of your home.
  • Have a fire escape plan and have the whole family practice it.
  • If a fire should start, GET OUT AND STAY OUT, call 911 from your neighbor’s house.

Vacation Checklist

You Are Going On Vacation – Help Burglars Take One Too!
An empty house is a tempting target for a burglar. Use this checklist of tips to help safeguard your home while you’re away.
  1. Have good locks on all doors and windows and USE THEM!
  2. Ask a neighbor to watch the house while you’re away. It’s a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
  3. Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.
  4. Stop all deliveries, or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers and packages.
  5. Arrange for someone to mow your lawn, rake leaves and maintain the yard to give the home a lived-in look.
  6. Plug in timers to turn lights, a radio or television on and off at appropriate times. This helps to disguise the fact that you are away.
  7. Turn the bell or ringer on your telephone down low. If a burglar is around, he won’t be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.
  8. Don’t announce your absence on answering machine messages.
  9. Leave your blinds, shades and curtains in a normal position. Don’t close them unless that is what you do when you are home.
  10. Close and lock garage doors and windows. Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway. If you leave your car at home, park it as you normally would. Vehicles parked outside should be moved occasionally to appear that they are being used.
  11. Secure storage sheds, attic entrances and gates.
  12. Tell your local police you plan to be away. Patrol officers may have the opportunity to periodically check your home.
  13. Engrave your valuables as recommended in Operation I.D. This simple step will allow your stolen property to be identified and returned to you if recovered by the police.

Travel Safely
  1. If you are driving, make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and is in suitable condition for the journey.
  2. Try to have specific directions and routes to your destination.
  3. If you get lost, call the local police for directions or assistance.
  4. Always keep your vehicle doors and windows locked.
  5. At stop lights and other traffic delays, leave enough space in front of your vehicle so that you have an escape option in case of an emergency.
  6. Let someone know the route you intend to travel and your itinerary. This will help authorities in locating you if there is a need to do so.
  7. Plan your trip carefully and allow for factors such as weather, fatigue, facilities for lodging, food and fuel. Be sure you have sufficient finances, either cash, travelers checks or credit cards.
  8. Ask the hotel or motel staff about their security measures so you know what to expect.
  9. Use the hotel safe to store your valuables during your stay.

Staying alert to safety may make your vacation much more pleasant and enjoyable. Being a victim of a crime is no fun.
Fire Safety Tips (Vacation, camping and Outdoors)
 If you’re planning a vacation and your home will be empty, you can go away with a free mind and less worry if you check your home before leaving.
  1. Check to make sure that all stoves and electrical appliances have been turned off or disconnected. Unplug all television sets and radios. Lightning storms or sudden electrical surges could cause a fire in this equipment while you’re away.
  2. When you return from your vacation, check your smoke detector to make sure it is functioning. Batteries could run down or other components could fail while you’re away.
When you are traveling away from home and staying in a motel or hotel, it is important to know survival actions in case there is a fire. Many significant fires have occurred in high rise hotels such as the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the hotel fire in Panama.
  1. Select a hotel or motel that, at a minimum, has a smoke detector installed. It is preferable to select lodging that also has fire sprinkler systems in place. If you must stay in a facility without smoke detectors or sprinklers, request a room on the first or second floor.
  2. When you first get in your room, read the fire safety information provided. It is usually posted near or on the back of the entry door. Just like in your home, you need to plan your escape ahead of time. Locate the two exits nearest your room. Make sure the fire exit doors work and are unlocked. Locate the nearest fire alarm and read the operating instructions. In a real fire, the hallway may become dark with smoke so count the number of doors from your room to each exit. This way you will know where you are in case you get caught in a dark hallway. Keep your room key and a flashlight near the bed.
  3. If you hear the fire alarm sound, or suspect a fire in the hotel, investigate, don’t go back to sleep. If you see fire or smoke, call the hotel desk and the fire department immediately. Tell the person who answers the phone what room you are in.
  4. If you hear the fire alarm, check the door with the back of your hand. If it is cool, slowly open the door and exit. If the door is hot or warm, leave it closed and stay in the room. Fill the bathtub with water. Place wet towels or sheets into cracks around the door to keep smoke out. Call the fire department and tell them you are trapped in your room, and give them the room number.
  5. If the door is not hot and the hallway is not smoky, go to the closest fire exit. Be sure to take your room key with you. You might have to return to your room and want to be sure you can get back in. Crawl low under smoke down the hallway to the fire exit. Use a wet cloth over your nose and mouth. As you exit, pull the nearest fire alarm to warn other occupants, then leave the building. If you cannot go down, try to go up to the roof. Attract attention so they will know where you are.
  6. If a fire starts in your room, leave immediately and close the door behind you to confine the fire and smoke to the room. Activate the fire alarm and call the fire department once you are safely out of danger.
  7. Never use an elevator under fire conditions. Always take the stairs when exiting from a high-rise building. Elevators can malfunction. Many are heat-activated and have been known to stop directly at the fire floor.

Going back to nature with camping means leaving behind some familiar conveniences. It means using some unfamiliar procedures. To make sure a camping trip is an enjoyable one, be sure to follow safety rules.
  • Some tents are manufactured from cotton, which is a flammable substance. Sometimes the fabric treatment used to make tents waterproof actually increases the flammability, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Buy a tent that is flame retardant. Remember, “flame retardant” doesn’t mean fire-proof. A flying ember from a fire can land on the tent and ignite it in seconds.
  • There are other things in a tent that can burn such as sleeping bags, clothing and people. A tent should be sited upwind from any campfire or outside cooking or lighting devices. Create a three- foot clearing around the tent. Only use battery-operated lights near or inside it. Always refuel any heat-producing appliance, such as lanterns and stoves, outside a tent. Always store flammable liquids, such as gasoline, outside a tent.
  • Don’t cook inside a tent.
  • When preparing a campfire, a site should be selected that is away from grass, trees and tents. An area 10 feet around the campfire should be cleared of ground litter, twigs, leaves and organic material, down to bare soil. The site also should be downwind from the sleeping area to prevent catching a tent or sleeping bag on fire from a spark or ember. Rocks should be placed directly around the campfire pit.
  • If weather conditions are especially dry and you don’t really need a fire for cooking, don’t build one. A small spark is all it takes to ignite dry grass and leaves. Be sure to pay close attention to forest conditions and warnings from the park service.
  • Never use gasoline to light a fire. It is extremely explosive. A fire should be lit using kindling or a lighter stick. Keep a pail of sand or water nearby in the event it is needed to control the fire or extinguish it. Wear tight-fitting cotton or wool clothing while working near the campfire. Always keep a careful eye on fires. Make sure children don’t play near them.
  • Before you go to sleep at night or if you leave the campsite for a while, be sure to extinguish the fire. Many forest fires are started each year from unattended campfires or those that were not completely extinguished. Douse the fire with water or sand, break up the coals, add more water or sand, stir it with a stick and cover the dead embers with dirt. Make sure the fire is completely out before bedding down or leaving the campsite.
  • If you’re using a gas or liquid fuel camp stove or lantern, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Make sure all connections are tight to avoid leaks. Never check for a gas leak with a lighted match. Instead, put a little soapy water on the connections. If the mixture bubbles, gas is seeping out. Don’t try to use the appliance again until it’s been checked by a professional. When using a camp stove or gas lantern, always fill it before each use. Do not refuel a hot stove or lantern. Wait until it cools off. Use a funnel to fill the appliances and wipe up all fuel spills before attempting to light it again.
  • When traveling with a camper trailer or recreational vehicle, use only electrically-operated or battery-operated lights inside. Maintain all appliances in a safe working condition and check them before use. Keep a fire extinguisher on board, preferably a multi-purpose one, and mount a smoke detector inside the vehicle.
  • When the vehicle is traveling down the road, shut down gas to stoves and water heaters by closing the fuel supply at the gas bottle.
  • Never operate combustion type or catalytic heaters inside closed campers or recreational vehicle. This could result in asphyxiation from either fumes or oxygen depletion.
  • Don’t cook while the vehicle is underway. A sudden lurching of the vehicle may result in spilling of cooking grease, causing a fire.
  • Always fuel stoves or lanterns outside campers or recreational vehicles. Accumulation of vapors in the fueling process, from volatile fuels, could result in an explosion.
  • Avoid accumulating and storing combustibles such as newspapers and grocery bags in your vehicle.

When establishing a site for a barbecue, be sure there is nothing hanging overhead and it is a safe distance from trees, buildings and other combustibles.
  • When using charcoal grills, use only the lighter fluids designated for use with charcoal grills when starting your fire. Never use gasoline to start your fire. Immediately after using the lighter fluid, replace the fluid container in its storage location. Do not set it down by the grill. Never use gasoline to quicken a charcoal fire. Don’t add a charcoal starter fluid to the fire after it has begun. The flames can travel up to the can and cause an explosion. Always keep starter fluids in containers with child-resistant caps, and keep them out of the reach of children.
  • Don’t wear loose clothing or robes around charcoal grills.
  • Flaming grease can ignite clothing. Keep a small spray can of water handy to douse flaming grease. A spray bottle filled with water, such as used for sprinkling clothes, is excellent for this. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) when used to fire a home barbecue, is contained under pressure in a steel cylinder. The contents of an LPG cylinder, vaporized and in a confined area, have the explosive force of several sticks of dynamite. Therefore, the wise user of LPG will be aware of the dangers involved and the precautions that must be taken.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions and be sure you thoroughly understand them. Do not transport LPG cylinders in the trunk of a passenger vehicle. A filled cylinder should always be transported in an upright position on the floor of a vehicle with all windows open. Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible. Never leave a cylinder in a parked vehicle.
  • Using the proper size of wrench, make sure that all connections are tight. Remember that fittings on flammable gas cylinders have left-hand threads, requiring effort in a counterclockwise direction to tighten.
  • Make sure that grease is not allowed to drip on the hose or cylinders.
  • Never allow children to use a gas-fired barbecue.
  • Don’t be tempted by a rainy day to use outdoor cooking equipment inside – not even in a garage or on a porch or balcony. Never use a gas-fired barbecue inside any structure.
  • If you are using a butane or propane barbecue, be sure there are no leaks from the tank or plumbing. If you suspect a leak, spray a soapy solution of water and dishwashing detergent over the tubing, hoses and fittings. If bubbling is found, turn off the supply at the tank and call a repairman.

    When using these types of barbecues, be sure to light a match first and place it in the ignition hole before turning the gas valve on.  If you turn the gas valve on first, and then waste time looking for a match, flammable gas will build up inside the barbecue. When a lighted match is finally placed near the barbecue, an explosion may result.

    When you are through cooking, turn the gas valve off to the barbecue and shut off the supply valve at the tank.
  • Never store any LPG cylinder – attached to the barbecue, or spares – inside any part of a structure, including porches and balconies. Store cylinders, including those attached to barbecues, outdoors in a shaded, cool area out of direct sunlight.

Power lawnmowers make the job much simpler than hand propelled mowers. But, if not used with caution, these lawnmowers can be dangerous.
  • If you own a gasoline-powered mower or gasoline-powered outdoor yard maintenance tools such as a chain saw, check the condition of the muffler at the beginning of the season. Spark arresters on mufflers should be considered in areas where dry grass is common. Hot gasses from defective mufflers often can ignite dry grass.
  • Never refuel power tools when the engine is running and never refuel it inside a tool shed or a garage. Do so only outside, in well-ventilated areas.

    Once the engine has been fueled, wipe up gasoline spills. And, since gasoline vapors can travel along the ground and be ignited by a nearby flame, move at least 10 feet away from the fueling spot, and the vapors, before starting the motor. If you must refuel, cool the motor before doing so.
  • Never smoke when you use gasoline. Remember that the invisible fumes from the gasoline can seek out a spark or flame from as far as 50 feet away. Once the fumes meet the spark, you, your clothes and skin could be engulfed in flames. Keep away from cigarettes, water heater pilot lights and any flames if you’re handling gasoline.
  • Store gasoline in a ventilated area in tightly closed cans away from children, sparks or flame source.
Boating enthusiasts look forward to getting their craft in the water. If you enjoy boating activities, remember that fire hazards exist on boats, too.
  • Don’t smoke at fuel docks or during fueling procedures for your boat.
  • Make sure you have a Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher on board your vessel. Know how to use it.
  • Always make sure that bilge fans are functioning to remove fuel fumes prior to starting the boat’s engine. Those fumes could cause an explosion.
  • Don’t refuel stoves or heating appliances in enclosed spaces.
  • Never cook when underway. A sudden lurch could cause grease to spill, causing a fire.
  • After painting and refurbishing operations, safely discard all oily and paint-filled rags. Never store these on board your boat. These rags can generate heat spontaneously and may self-ignite.

Weather Hazards Awareness

See Also: NWS Severe Weather Awareness
“New York State is a wonderful place to live, work and play. The change of seasons provides for some of the most spectacular natural scenery in the country. But like any diverse climate, the weather can be unpredictable. This guide will help prepare you for and provide tips on how to stay safe in all types of weather in New York State.”
George Pataki, Former New York State Governor

When Inclement Weather Hits:
  1. Remain CALM, but take IMMEDIATE action.
  2. If on vacation or driving through an unfamiliar area, remember the county you are in and where you are in relation to other towns and cities.
  3. Know how to get to a safe place quickly if a weather warning is issued. Develop a plan for you and your family at home, work, school and when outdoors.
  4. Check on neighbors who require special assistance: infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities. Don’t forget to plan for your pets and/or livestock!
  5. Alert your utility if someone in your family uses life-support equipment.
  6. Avoid all downed power lines — assume they are live with electricity.
If your lights go out:
  1. Call your utility first to determine area repair schedules.
  2. Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when electric service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate that power has been restored.
  3. To help prevent freezing pipes, turn on faucets slightly. Running water will not freeze as quickly.
  4. PROTECT yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning. DO NOT operate generators indoors; the motor emits deadly carbon monoxide gas. DO NOT use charcoal to cook indoors – it, too, can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas. DO NOT use your gas oven to heat your home — prolonged use of the open oven in a closed house can also create carbon monoxide gas. Make sure all fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation.
  5. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce food spoilage.
Have disaster supplies on hand, including:
  • Flashlights
  • Extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio
  • Essential medicines
  • Emergency food and water
  • Manual can opener
  • Extra blankets and sleeping bags
  • Fire extinguisher
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Checkbook, cash, credit/ATM cards
  • Emergency heating equipment, used properly

Hot and Sunny
  • Wear sunblock and protective clothing to prevent sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. Avoid strenuous activity in hot weather.
  • On very hot days, stay in air-conditioned shelter.
Snow and Ice
  • Winter Storm Watch – severe winter weather conditions may affect your area.
  • Winter Storm Warning – severe winter weather conditions are imminent.
  • Blizzard Warning – Large amounts of falling or blowing snow and winds of at least 35 miles per hour are expected to last for several hours. Visibility is dangerously restricted.
  • Wind Chill – the effect of wind, in combination with actual temperature, which increases the rate of heat loss to the human body. Also the temperature at which exposed skin suffers frostbite within a short time period.
If you are under shelter:
  1. Remember to service snow removal equipment.
  2. Stay inside — avoid driving in dangerous snow or ice.
If you are outdoors:
  1. Avoid overexertion. Cold weather puts added strain on the heart. Shoveling or pushing a car can cause a heart attack.
If you are in a vehicle:
  1. Stay in your car. DO NOT leave the vehicle to search for assistance unless assistance is visible within 100 feet. You can become disoriented and lost in blowing snow.
  2. Display a trouble sign. Hang a bright colored cloth on the car radio antenna, raise the hood and turn on flashing hazard lights.
  3. Occasionally run the engine to keep warm. Keep the window slightly open and beware of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep the exhaust pipe clear.
  • Tornado Watch – conditions are favorable over a large area for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to develop.
  • Tornado Warning – a tornado has been detected or seen, is on the ground and moving and is expected to move through your area soon. You should TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY!
Environmental Clues to look out for:
  1. Dark, often greenish sky
  2. Large hail
  3. Wall cloud
  4. Loud roar, similar to a freight train
If you are outdoors:
  1. Seek shelter in a substantial building immediately. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head. DO NOT try to outrun a tornado in your car; instead, leave it immediately and seek shelter.
  2. Avoid all downed power lines. Assume they are live with electricity.
If you are at home or in a small building:
  1. Go to the basement or an interior room on the lowest floor.
  2. Stay away from windows.
  3. Closets, bathrooms and other interior rooms offer the best protection. Get under something sturdy or cover yourself with a mattress.
If you are in a school, hospital or shopping center:
  1. Go to a pre-designated shelter area.
  2. Stay away from large open areas and windows.
  3. DO NOT go outside to your car.
If you are in a high-rise building:
  1. Go to an interior small room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
  2. DO NOT use the elevators. Use the stairs.
If you are in a mobile home or vehicle:
  1. Get out!  Mobile homes and vehicles are easily tossed about by strong winds in the tornado. Take shelter in a substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in a ditch or low spot with your hands shielding your head.

  • Severe Thunderstorm Watch – severe thunderstorms are possible in and close to the watch area.
  • Severe Thunderstorm Warning – a severe thunderstorm has been spotted and is going to move through your county soon.
If you are outdoors:
  1. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning. Go to safe shelter immediately.
  2. Move to a sturdy building or car. DO NOT take shelter in small sheds, under isolated trees, near fences, poles or in convertible automobiles. Make sure the place you pick is not subject to flooding.
  3. If you are in the woods, take shelter under the shorter trees.
  4. If you feel your skin tingle or your hair stand on end, squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet. Place your hands on your knees with your head between them. Make yourself the smallest target possible; minimize your contact with the ground. If lightning occurs and sturdy shelter is not available, get inside a hard top automobile and keep the windows up.
  5. Get out of boats and away from water.
  6. Stay away from telephone lines and metal pipes, which can conduct electricity.
If you are under shelter:
  1. DO NOT take a bath or shower.
  2. Turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressors.
  3. Unplug appliances not necessary for obtaining weather information. Use the telephone only for emergencies.
  • Hurricane Watch – conditions are possible in the specified area, usually within 36 hours.
  • Hurricane Warning – conditions are expected in the specific area, usually within 24 hours.
  • Learn safe routes inland and the location of official shelters. Fuel and service vehicles.
  • Put up storm shutters and store loose objects. Brace exterior doors. Close all interior doors.
  • Set refrigerator to maximum cold. Open only when necessary.
  • Stay away from windows and doors. If you are in a multi-story dwelling, go to the lowest floor. Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, hallway, or under a table.
  • If you are told to leave your home – do so! Plan to evacuate if you live in a mobile home, high-rise, on the coastline or offshore island, or near a river or flood plain.

If you are outdoors:
  1. Get to higher ground. Watch out for washed out roads, earth slides, broken water or sewer mains, loose or downed electric wires and falling or fallen objects.
  2. DO NOT attempt to drive over a flooded road. Most flash flooding deaths occur in automobiles.
If you are under shelter:
  1. Find out how many feet your property is above and below possible flood levels.
  2. Keep materials like sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting and lumber handy for emergency water-proofing.
  3. If you are in a multi-story dwelling, move essential items and furniture to upper floors.
  4. Disconnect electric appliances that can’t be moved. DO NOT touch them if you are wet or standing in water.

Monitor the weather
Listen to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio, and your local TV and radio broadcast stations for the latest weather and emergency information.
NOAA broadcasts 24-hour weather information on the following frequencies in New York State:
Adams, MA
162.525 MHz
162.525 MHz

New York City
162.550 MHz
162.550 MHz
Gore Mountain
162.450 MHz
162.525 MHz
162.475 MHz
162.500 MHz
162.475 MHz
162.550 MHz
162.475 MHz
162.400 MHz
Call Hill *
162.425 MHz
Little Valley
162.425 MHz
​162.450 MHz

162.450 MHz
162.500 MHz
162.400 MHz
Cornwall, CT
162.500 MHz
Marlboro, VT
162.425 MHz
162.550 MHz
Egremont, MA
162.450 MHz
Mt. Ascutney, VT
162.475 MHz
162.425 MHz
162.400 MHz
Mt. Mansfield, VT
162.400 MHz
162.425 MHz
Erie, Pa
162.400 MHz
* WXN-55
162.450 MHz
162.475 MHz
For more information regarding weather emergencies, contact your local county emergency management office of visit the New York State Emergency Management Office website at: