U & O Fire Inspections
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Investigate Cause and Origin of Fires
Fire Safety Inspections of Residential Properties
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Annual Fire Safety Inspections of Commercial Businesses
Fire Lane Enforcement
Respond with Fire Company
Fire Extinquisher Training
OTHER SERVICES . . .
Citizens may be on their own for hours, even days, after disaster strikes. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least 3 days. In some emergencies, such as an influenza pandemic, you may need to prepare for a week or more.
Emergency survival kit: Store a kit at home, at work.
- Dry or canned food (3-day supply)
- Water one gallon per person per day (3-day supply)
- Can opener
- First aid supplies
- Special needs items formula, eyeglasses, personal hygiene items, and medications
- A change of clothing
- Sleeping bag or blanket
- Battery powered radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Food, water, supplies for pet
- Whistle to signal for help
- Toys, books, games
Additional items you can store at home for use during an emergency:
- Fuel for cooking such as charcoal or camp stove fuel
- Plastic forks, spoons knives
- Paper plated and cups
- Paper towels
- Heavy duty aluminum foil
- Toilet paper
- Ax, Shovel, Broom
- Crescent wrench for turning off gas
- Screwdriver, pliers, hammer
Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safety once the alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms, and advance planning- a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced.
Escape planning tips
- Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
- A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code® requires interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
- When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.
- Choose an outside meeting place (i.e. neighbor’s house, a light post, mailbox, or stop sign) a safe distance in front of your home where everyone can meet after they’ve escaped. Make sure to mark the location of the meeting place on your escape plan.
- Go outside to see if your street number is clearly visible from the road. If not, paint it on the curb or install house numbers to ensure that responding emergency personnel can find your home.
- Have everyone memorize the emergency phone number of the fire department. That way any member of the household can call from a neighbor’s home or a cellular phone once safely outside.
- If there are infants, older adults, or family members with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency. Assign a backup person too, in case the designee is not home during the emergency
- If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won’t compromise your security – but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
- Tell guests or visitors to your home about your family’s fire escape plan. When staying overnight at other people’s homes, ask about their escape plan. If they don’t have a plan in place, offer to help them make one. This is especially important when children are permitted to attend “sleepovers” at friends’ homes.
- Be fully prepared for a real fire: when a smoke alarm sounds, get out immediately. Residents of high-rise and apartment buildings (PDF) may be safer “defending in place.”
- Once you’re out, stay out! Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. If someone is missing, inform the fire department dispatcher when you call. Firefighters have the skills and equipment to perform rescues.
Put your plan to the test
- Practice your home fire escape plan twice a year, making the drill as realistic as possible.
- Make arrangements in your plan for anyone in your home who has a disability.
- Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping. The objective is to practice, not to frighten, so telling children there will be a drill before they go to bed can be as effective as a surprise drill.
- It’s important to determine during the drill whether children and others can readily waken to the sound of the smoke alarm. If they fail to awaken, make sure that someone is assigned to wake them up as part of the drill and in a real emergency situation.
- If your home has two floors, every family member (including children) must be able to escape from the second floor rooms. Escape ladders can be placed in or near windows to provide an additional escape route. Review the manufacturer’s instructions carefully so you’ll be able to use a safety ladder in an emergency. Practice setting up the ladder from a first floor window to make sure you can do it correctly and quickly. Children should only practice with a grown-up, and only from a first-story window. Store the ladder near the window, in an easily accessible location. You don’t want to have to search for it during a fire.
- Always choose the escape route that is safest – the one with the least amount of smoke and heat – but be prepared to escape under toxic smoke if necessary. When you do your fire drill, everyone in the family should practice getting low and going under the smoke to your exit.
- Closing doors on your way out slows the spread of fire, giving you more time to safely escape.
- In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice “sealing yourself in for safety” as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.
Clear Your Escape Routes
- Items that block doors and windows in your home could keep you from escaping in the event of a home fire. And that could mean the difference between life and death. So unblock your exits today! Key to your family’s safety is planning and practicing a home fire escape plan twice a year. Start by identifying two escape routes out of each room, if possible, then make sure that each of those escape routes can be used safely by everyone.
Before a Power Outage
- Consider buying a generator. When installing follow the instructions carefully!!!!
- Don’t place indoors
- Make sure you have preparedness kit ready
- Have a corded phone
- If you own an electric garage door opener, know how to open the door without power.
During a Power Outage
- Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. For more information about food safety visit the FEMA Ready.gov food page.
- Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
- Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
- Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
- Keep food safe
- Keep doors to refrigerators and freezers closed.
- Use foods first that can spoil most rapidly.
- IF in doubt, throw it out!
Any question please call our office at 215 357-7300 ext 311.
Flooding is the most common and widespread of all-natural disasters. It can happen anywhere and at anytime, with devastating results to life and property.
Tropical storms, cyclones and tsunamis (giant sea waves) produce heavy rains and can flood coastal communities. Inland, floods can occur in valleys, near rivers and streams, and even in small creaks and dry streambeds. Flooding along rivers can occur seasonally. Rains that come in winter or spring combine with melting snow can quickly fill river basins beyond capacity. In urban areas, land loses its ability to absorb rainfall as fields are converted to roads. When this happens, streets and roadways become swift-moving rivers. It’s important to know what to do before, during, and after a flood.
Find out the elevation of your property to determine whether forecasted flood levels are likely to affect your home. Move the main breaker or fuse box and utility meters above the flood level determined for your neighborhood. Move appliances and valuables out of basements or flood-prone lower levels. Learn how to shut off electricity, gas and water to your home.
Have a plan
- Develop an evacuation plan. Make sure family members know where to go in the event of a flood. The plan should include how family members will contact one another if separated. Establish an out-of-area contact (such as a relative or family friend) that can coordinate family members’ locations and information. Make sure children learn the phone numbers and addresses, and know the emergency plans.
- Prepare a family disaster supplies kit. Families with children should have each child create their own personal pack.
Be alert for flood indicators such as rapidly rising water and flooding of highways, bridges and low-lying areas. During a flood warning, take the following precautions:
- Evacuate to an area of higher ground immediately if advised to do so.
- Stay away from flooded areas, even if the water seems to be receding.
- Do not walk, swim or drive through moving water.
- Watch for snakes in flooded areas.
- Use flashlights instead of candles.
- Be aware of potential flash flooding.
- Keep an eye on children and make sure they don’t play around high water, storm drains, ravines, or culverts.
- Throw away food that may have come in contact with floodwater or perishable food that was not refrigerated at a safe temperature. Use water from safe sources (such as bottled water) until you know that your tap water isn’t contaminated. (Boiling, disinfecting, or distilling can purify water.)
- Before re-entering a home damaged from a flood: turn electricity off at the fuse box or main breaker until your home has adequately dried; check for gas leaks; examine your home for fire hazards; inspect the floors, doors, windows and walls for cracks or other damage to make sure the home isn’t in danger of collapsing.
Any question please call our office at 215 357-7300 ext 311.
Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January and February, and trails only cooking equipment in home fires year-round.
Facts and Figures
- In 2003, heating equipment was involved in an estimated 53,200 reported U.S. home structure fires, with associated losses of 260 civilian deaths, 1,260 civilian injuries, and $494 million in direct property damage.
- In 2003 heating equipment fires accounted for 14% of all reported home fires (second behind cooking) and 8% of home fire deaths.
- Space heaters, excluding fireplaces, chimneys, and chimney connectors, were involved in 26% of the home heating fires but 73% of the deaths.
- Excluding small confined fires, heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattress, or bedding, is by far the leading factor contributing to home heating fires (28%) and home heating fire deaths (50%).
- Chimneys and chimney connectors accounted for the largest share (40%) of home heating fire incidents. Failure to clean accounted for over half (59%) of the confined chimney and chimney connector fires.
- The peak months for home heating fires are December, January and February, accounting for 43% of the fires.
- When buying a new space heater, make sure it carries the mark of an independent testing laboratory and is legal for use in your community. (Some communities do not permit portable kerosene heaters, for example.)
- Install your stationary (fixed) space heater according to manufacturer’s instructions or applicable codes or better yet, have it installed by a professional.
- Plug your electric-powered space heater into an outlet with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.
- Use the proper grade of the proper fuel for your liquid-fueled space heater, and never use gasoline in any heater not approved for gasoline use. Refuel only in a well-ventilated area and when the equipment is cool.
- In your fireplace or wood stove, use only dry, seasoned wood to avoid the build-up of creosote, an oily deposit that easily catches fire and accounts for most chimney fires and the largest share of home heating fires generally. Use only paper or kindling wood, not a flammable liquid, to start the fire. Do not use artificial logs in wood stoves.
- Make sure your fireplace has a sturdy screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Allow fireplace and wood stove ashes to cool before disposing in a metal container, which is kept a safe distance from your home.
- Turn off space heaters whenever the room they are in is unoccupied or under circumstances when manufacturer’s instructions say they should be turned off. Portable space heaters are so easy to knock over in the dark that they should be turned off when you go to bed, but make sure your primary heating equipment for the bedrooms is sufficient to avoid risks to residents from severe cold.
- Do not use your oven to heat your home.
- Make sure fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside, that the venting is kept clear and unobstructed, and that the exit point is properly sealed around the vent, all of which is to make sure deadly carbon monoxide does not build up in the home.
- Inspect all heating equipment annually, and clean as necessary.
- Test smoke alarms monthly; install a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.
- Saving energy isn’t just about saving money for homeowners. Saving energy is beneficial on a global scale. The world is facing dwindling energy reserves, and the more we save, the better our future will be. Here are some things you can do.
- Set thermostats at 68°F (20°C) when the house is occupied during the day and then turn it down at night or when you’re not home (60°F (15°C) is recommended). There are programmable thermostats that you can buy from local hardware and lumber stores that can do this automatically and easily. They are inexpensive, reliable and easy to install. This would not be recommended for “heat pump” systems if it would cause auxiliary heating to come on.
- Make sure supply and return vents, radiators and baseboard heating units are not obstructed by furniture, appliances or other objects and that air can flow freely to and from them. This will maximize the efficiency of your system and help distribute warm air throughout the room.
- Clean or change furnace filters in forced hot air systems once a month or more often as needed.
- Have your heating system maintained and serviced according to manufacturer’s instructions (usually once a year). Dirty filters, coils and fans reduce airflow throughout the system, which decreases performance and can damage your system. Scheduling your service in the early fall when technicians are not as busy will probably save you money as well.
- Check heating ducts for air leaks from joints and holes. Check with your local hardware store for the proper listed mastic or tape to use for the particular job.
- Insulate your hot water tank with an insulating jacket according to manufacturer recommendations. Some newer tanks already are insulated, so check product literature to determine if insulation is needed. Insulate the first six feet of the hot water pipes connected to the water heater.
- You can turn down the thermostat in rooms that have all of the following: are unoccupied; can be closed off (closed doors) from the rest of the house; and have their own heating zone. However, do not do this if it adversely affects the rest of your system or could lead to freezing water pipes.
Windows & Doors
- Install caulking, weather stripping or use spray-in foams around exterior windows and doors or those between heated and unheated spaces (garages, basements, crawl spaces, attics). Read instructions for spray foams carefully. Expanding foams can exert enough pressure to cause doors and windows to jam or stick.
- During the heating season, keep draperies and shades open during the day on your southern facing walls to allow sunlight to enter. Keep them closed at night to reduce heat loss and the chill or “draft” you may feel from cold windows.
- Did you know that your kitchen or bath fan can pull out a houseful of heated air in just one hour?
- Turn off all fans as soon as they have done the job. Consider installing a timer switch instead of a manual switch to limit the unnecessary.
SYMPTOMS OF CO POISONING
CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness, or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.
The Concentration of CO, measured in parts per million (ppm) is a determining factor in the symptoms for an average, healthy adult.
|50 PPM||None for healthy adults. According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), this is the maximum allowable concentration for continuous exposure for healthy adults in any eight-hour period.|
|200 PPM||Slight headache, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea after two to three hours.|
|400 PPM||Frontal headaches with one to two hours. Life threatening after three hours.|
|800 PPM||Dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 minutes. Unconsciousness within two hours. Death within two to three hours.|
|1,600 PPM||Headache, dizziness and nausea within 20 minutes. Death within one hour.|
PREVENT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
If the power goes out:
ONLY use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents.
NEVER use a generator indoors, in garages or carports.
NEVER cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill person in minutes.
It is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, and wood is burned.
Hundreds of people die accidentally every year from CO poisoning caused by appliances that are not used properly or that are malfunctioning.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
- Shortness of breath
How can I prevent CO poisoning?
- Make sure appliances are installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by qualified professionals. Have the heating system professionally inspected and serviced annually to ensure proper operation. The inspector should also check chimneys and flues for blockages, corrosion, partial and complete disconnections, and loose connections.
- Never service fuel-burning appliances without proper knowledge, skill and tools. Always refer to the owners manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning equipment.
- Never operate a portable generator or any other gasoline engine-powered tool either in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, house, or other building. Even with open doors and windows, these spaces can trap CO and allow it to quickly build to lethal levels.
- Install a CO alarm that meets the requirements of the current UL 2034 safety standard. A CO alarm can provide some added protection, but it is no substitute for proper use and upkeep of appliances that can produce CO. Install a CO alarm in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home. Make sure the alarm cannot be covered up by furniture or draperies.
- Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent unless it is specifically designed for use in an enclosed space and provides instructions for safe use in an enclosed area.
- Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent.
- Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.
- Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens, or clothes dryers to heat your home.
- Never operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping.
- Do not cover the bottom of natural gas or propane ovens with aluminum foil. Doing so blocks the combustion air flow through the appliance and can produce CO.
- During home renovations, ensure that appliance vents and chimneys are not blocked by tarps or debris. Make sure appliances are in proper working order when renovations are complete.
How should I install a CO Alarm?
CO alarms should be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. CPSC recommends that one CO alarm be installed in the hallway outside the bedrooms in each separate sleeping area of the home. CO alarms may be installed into a plug-in receptacle or high on the wall. Hard wired or plug-in CO alarms should have battery backup. Avoid locations that are near heating vents or that can be covered by furniture or draperies. CPSC does not recommend installing CO alarms in kitchens or above fuel-burning appliances.
What should you do when the CO alarm sounds?
Never ignore an alarming CO alarm! It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard.
If the alarm signal sounds do not try to find the source of the CO:
- Immediately move outside to fresh air.
- Call your emergency services, fire department, or 911.
- After calling 911, do a head count to check that all persons are accounted for. DO NOT reenter the premises until the emergency services responders have given you permission. You could lose consciousness and die if you go in the home.
- If the source of the CO is determined to be a malfunctioning appliance, DO NOT operates that appliance until it has been properly serviced by trained personnel.
Any question please call our office at 215 357-7300 ext 311
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking.
According to the US Fire Administration, US fire departments responded to more than 183,000 home fires that involved cooking equipment in 2016.
What you should know about home cooking safety:
- Be on 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.
Safety considerations for cooking with oil:
- Always stay in the kitchen when frying on the stovetop.
- Keep an eye on what you fry. If you see wisps of smoke or the oil smells, immediately turn off the burner and/or carefully remove the pan from the burner. Smoke is a danger sign that the oil is too hot.
- Heat the oil slowly to the temperature you need for frying or sautéing.
- Add food gently to the pot or pan so the oil does not splatter.
- Always cook with a lid beside your pan. If you have a fire, slide the lid over the pan and turn off the burner. Do not remove the cover because the fire could start again. Let the pan cool for a long time. Never throw water on the fire.
- If the fire does not go out or you don’t feel comfortable sliding a lid over the pan, get everyone out of your home. Call the fire department from outside.
- U.S. retail sales of candle products are estimated at approximately $3.14 billion annually. (Source: Mintel, 2013).
- From 2014-2018, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 7,610 home structure fires that were started by candles per year. These fires caused an annual average of 81 deaths, 677 injuries and $278 million in direct property damage.
- Approximately 35% of candle sales occur during the Christmas/Holiday season. Non-seasonal business accounts for approximately 65% of candle sales.
- Candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the living room (42%), followed by the kitchen (18%) and the bedroom (13%).
- Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep
- Keep candles at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) away from anything that can burn
- Use candle holders that are sturdy, and won’t tip over easily.
- Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame
- Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
- Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children’s reach, in a locked cabinet
Any question please call our office at 215 357-7300 ext 311
- Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.
- To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:
- Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
- Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
- Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
- Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.
- For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle.
- Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.
- Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. Local fire departments or fire equipment distributors often offer hands-on fire extinguisher trainings.
- Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape if the fire cannot be controlled. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.
- Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have ahome fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.