During or After
T S Storm E Safety
F A C Winter H E Fire T
wide range of natural disasters occurs within the United States every year. Natural disasters
A can have a devastating effect on you and your home.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration encourages you to use the
following safety tips to help protect yourself, your family and your home from the potential threat of
fire during or after a winter storm. You can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a fire casualty
by being able to identify potential hazards and following the outlined safety tips.
SOME TYPES OF FIRE RELATED Thoroughly clean the spill and GAS SAFETY
HAZARDS PRESENT DURING AND place containers in a well- s Smell and listen for leaky gas
AFTER A WINTER STORM ventilated area. connections. If you believe there
s Alternative heating devices used s Keep combustible liquids away is a gas leak, immediately leave
incorrectly create fire hazards. from heat sources. the house and leave the door(s)
s Damaged or downed utility lines
can present a fire and life safety ELECTRICAL SAFETY s Never strike a match. Any size
hazard. s If your home has sustained flood flame can spark an explosion.
s Water damaged appliances and or water damage, and you can s Before turning the gas back on,
utilities can be electrically safely get to the main breaker or have the gas system checked by a
charged. fuse box, turn off the power. professional.
s Frozen water pipes can burst and s Assume all wires on the ground
are electrically charged. This GENERATOR SAFETY
cause safety hazards.
includes cable TV feeds. s Follow the manufacturer’s instruc-
s Leaking gas lines, damaged or
s Look for and replace frayed or tions and guidelines when using
leaking gas propane containers,
cracked extension and appliance generators.
and leaking vehicle gas tanks may
explode or ignite. cords, loose prongs, and plugs. s Use a generator or other fuel-
s Exposed outlets and wiring could powered machines outside the
s Generators are often used during
present a fire and life safety haz- home. CO fumes are odorless
power outages. Generators that
ard. and can quickly overwhelm you
are not properly used and main-
tained can be hazardous. s Appliances that emit smoke or
sparks should be repaired or
CHEMICAL SAFETY replaced.
s Look for combustible liquids like s Have a licensed electrician check
gasoline, lighter fluid, and paint your home for damage.
thinner that may have spilled.
s Use the appropriate sized and Ensure they have the proper floor
type power cords to carry the support and adequate ventilation.
electric load. Overloaded cords s Use a glass or metal screen in
can overheat and cause fires. front of your fireplace to prevent
s Never run cords under rugs or sparks from igniting nearby car-
carpets where heat might build up pets, furniture or other com-
or damage to a cord may go bustible items.
s Never connect generators to AND REMEMBER...
another power source such as s Be careful when using candles.
power lines. The reverse flow of Keep the flame away from com-
electricity or "backfeed" can elec- bustible objects and out of the
trocute an unsuspecting utility reach of children.
s Some smoke alarms may be
HEATING SAFETY dependent on your home’s electri-
cal service and could be inopera-
s Kerosene heaters may not be legal tive during a power outage.
in your area and should only be Check to see if your smoke alarm
used where approved by authori- uses a back-up battery and install
ties. a new battery at least once a year.
s Do not use the kitchen oven range s Smoke alarms should be installed
to heat your home. In addition to on every level of your home.
being a fire hazard, it can be a
s All smoke alarms should be tested
source of toxic fumes.
monthly. All batteries should be
s Alternative heaters need their replaced with new ones at least
space. Keep anything com- once a year.
bustible at least 3 feet away.
s If there is a fire hydrant near your
s Make sure your alternative heaters home, keep it clear of debris for
have "tip switches." These "tip easy access by the fire department.
switches" are designed to auto-
matically turn off the heater in the
event they tip over.
s Only use the type of fuel recom-
mended by the manufacturer and
follow suggested guidelines.
s Never refill a space heater while it FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
is operating or still hot.
The United States Fire Administration
s Refuel heaters only outdoors.
Office of Fire Management Programs
s Make sure wood stoves are prop- 16825 South Seton Avenue
erly installed, and at least 3 feet Emmitsburg, Maryland 21727
away from combustible materials.
Or visit the USFA web site: