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FDNY Fire Safety Presentation

On December 14, 2022 Women on Wheels hosted a presentation by the FDNY Fire Safety Education Unit. Lieutenant Franco gave us an abundance of useful information. Every attendee learned valuable tips that day. Here are some stand out points:

Electric fires: Do not use loose outlets or light switches, have them repaired and evaluated for safety before using again. As with anything if you ever smell smoke, call 911 immediately.

Space heaters: When purchasing a space heater, look for ones with an auto shut off mechanism in case they tip over. Always unplug them at night, keep them 3 feet away from everything and always plug them directly into the wall NOT an extension cord. Space heaters account for countless fires every year.

Extension cords: Do not use extension cords for heat producing products such as space heaters or heating pads. Do not plug one extension cord into another, you should either find a longer extension cord or one with more outlets depending on the need.

Do not run extension cords under rugs or furniture. Regularly check all cords for damage because pets and rodents like to chew on them, apparently they taste sweet to them (who’d a thunk!).

Grease fires: If you encounter a grease fire while cooking, cover the pan/pot with a tightly fitted lid for at least 15 minutes. Do not lift or take the lid off before those 15 minutes are up. Never attempt to use water to put out a grease fire, you should always have a fire extinguisher ready to use in the kitchen. You can alternatively use baking soda as well.

Gas fires: Natural gas has a scent similar to rotten eggs, if you ever smell that in your home go outside immediately then call 911. Gas can easily be ignited by unexpected things like cell phones and other electronics, even a light switches. Take the smell of gas very seriously, it can turn deadly in an instant.

*Also avoid usage of candles. You can find LED candles to replace conventional ones. They even make scented LED candles!

Clothing fires: The good old “stop, drop and roll” technique should be your first resort, not fanning, waving or running. In case of a burn used cold water only, if it seems serious call 911 and have a professional deal with it.

Fire safety in buildings: In fireproof buildings (7 stories or taller, with no fire escape), if the fire is in the apartment get out and close the door behind you, then call 911. If the fire is above or below you, stay in your apartment and call 911 to let them know you are there.

If you are not in a fireproof building (usually 6 stories or less), you should have access to a fire escape. Do your best to use it, get out, stay out, then call 911.

*Helpful tip: CIDS is the system every fire department uses which provides relevant information about a building and its tenants whenever a call comes in. Take the time to inform your local fire department of where you live and what your limitations might be when it comes to escaping a fire. If they know that there are tenants with disabilities or homebound in the building they will have that information available to them in the case of an emergency.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors/Alarms: It is not necessary to put smoke detectors in the kitchen. Hallways and bedrooms are a better place. They should also always be placed on the ceiling since smoke rises. Most alarms are designs to be turned off with the use of a broom stick to press the button for this reason.

It used to be advised that one should change their alarm batteries twice a year. However,

if your alarm presently has batteries it is out of date and should be replaced with new alarms that have ten-year lithium batteries. Fortunately, Red Cross will install these updated alarms in your home for free. They will also come and check to make sure the ones you already have are working properly if requested. The alarms they provide also have adaptive equipment one can request be added on if needed. For example, they can install a flashing light mechanism to go off simultaneously for the hearing impaired or a bed shaker mechanism for other kinds of impairments and more. Pretty cool!

*Red Cross: (877) RED-CROSS (733-2767)

WOW is very thankful to the FDNY and Lieutenant Franco for giving us this immensely informative presentation. If you missed it, the take away is that we're basically all living in death traps so let's do our best to prepare ourselves for the worst.

Just kidding! But not really…

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