Fire Tips

Simple Changes Can Save Lives
An average of 3 children a day, approximately 1,100 children under the age of 15, die each year in house fires. Also, 90% of fire deaths involving children occur in homes without smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are relatively inexpensive. The Wayzata Fire Department recommends that you install smoke detectors on every level of your home, including 1 in every bedroom and 1 outside sleeping areas.

Developing an Escape Plan
What would you do if your home caught fire? Would you know what to do if smoke or flames blocked your escape? There is no time to think about these questions in a real fire. It's hot, smoky, and so dark that you may not be able to see your own hands. Know ahead of time what to do if there's a fire. Develop an escape plan with two ways out of every room. You'll need a second way in case smoke or flames block your primary exit. And make sure every exit is accessible, including windows. Getting out is your first priority in a fire.

Real fires are hot, smoky and dark. You may have only a very few minutes to safely escape from a fire. If you're ever in a fire, don't spend time getting dressed or trying to gather valuables. Just get out and stay out. Then call the fire department from a neighbor's telephone. And once out, stay out!

General Fire Safety Tips
  • Know how to escape a fire. Plan your escape paths from each room in your home. Identify 2 escape paths from each room in your home. If smoke is in your first path, use your second option. If heat, flames, or smoke block both escape paths, stay in the room with your door closed. If there is a telephone in the room, call 9-1-1 and give your location. Signal for help!
  • Don't keep emergency personnel in the dark when you need help. In Wayzata, many address numbers are in poorly lighted areas. Trees and other landscaping make it difficult to read an address. Tonight take the time to look at your house numbers. Could emergency personnel find you home easily? Seconds count during every emergency so help us find you in an emergency.
  • The Wayzata Fire Department recommends that you have 1 U.L. listed all purpose fire extinguisher in your home, car, and boat. Having a fire extinguisher available in the event of fire can save your property from needless fire loss.
  • Do you know how to use a fire extinguisher? Remembering the acronym PASS may help.
    • P = Pull the Pin
    • A = Aim at the base of the fire
    • S = Squeeze the trigger
    • S = Sweep the extinguishing agent back and forth at the base of the fire
  • The Wayzata Fire Department wants to remind you to check that your portable heaters in your home be kept away from people, curtains, and furniture. Keep portable heaters a safer distance from flammable materials.
  • Knowing how and when to use a fire extinguisher is very important because it can save property. Knowing when not to fight a fire is just as important. You should never fight a fire if you will have to breathe the smoke. Smoke contains many poisonous chemicals that due harm to your body. It never makes sense to put you life at risk to fight a fire involving property that can be replaced.
Smoke Alarm Tips
  • Smoke detectors become ineffective after 10 years. If your smoke detectors are 10 years old or older, it is time to have them replaced.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire nearly in half. Many people with hearing difficulties are left unprotected in their homes because they are unable to hear the smoke alarm. Special smoke alarms are available that use a visual strobe to alert a person with difficulty hearing. If you can not hear your smoke alarm, contact the Wayzata Fire Department for more information on strobe smoke alarms.
  • Although nearly 92% of American homes have smoke alarms, nearly 1/3 don't work because of worn or missing batteries. The Wayzata Fire Department recommends that you replace batteries in battery operated smoke alarms 2 times per year. A good way to remember this is during daylight savings time. When you change your clock remember to change the batteries in your smoke detector
  • Smoke alarms are a family's best defense against fire. Many families become frustrated from false alarms. Many of these false alarms can be eliminated by proper placement. Proper placement is on the ceiling, however, if a wall must be used, install the detector(s) at a minimum distance of 4 inch and a maximum distance of 12 inches from the ceiling. Keep smoke detectors away from cooking vapors to prevent false or nuisance alarms.
  • When you clean your home remember that your smoke detector gathers dust and cobwebs. These can make the smoke detector falsely activate or not activate at all. While vacuuming your home, take the time to use your extension to vacuum around the opening of your smoke detector.
Teaching Children About Fire Safety
  • Children should know what to do during a fire and how to get help in an emergency. They may not know what to do if a smoke alarm goes off in your home. Sound the alarm in your home and explain to them what you expect them to do in a fire. Every family should take time to talk to young children about an exit drill in the home. Exit drills are simple plans of escape from fire. Children have a natural response of hiding when they are scared. In a fire, hiding is the worst thing they can do. If you teach them what to do, crawling low under the smoke and to go to a designated meeting place outside the home, children will have an excellent chance of surviving a fire. Children also should be taught what to do if the parents become trapped in the home.
  • Children should know what to do during a fire and how to get help in an emergency. They may not know what to do if a smoke alarm goes off in your home. Sound the alarm in your home and explain to them what you expect them to do in a fire. Every family should take time to talk to young children about an exit drill in the home. Exit drills are simple plans of escape from fire. Children have a natural response of hiding when they are scared. In a fire, hiding is the worst thing they can do. If you teach them what to do, crawling low under the smoke and to go to a designated meeting place outside the home, children will have an excellent chance of surviving a fire. Children also should be taught what to do if the parents become trapped in the home.
  • Always remember to keep matches and lighters stored in a safe place. Many children have a curiosity about fire and can easily start a fire when they find these items. Talk to your children about the danger of playing with fire.
Tips for the Home
  • Bedroom doors should be kept closed while sleeping. The doors and walls of your home provide an excellent fire and smoke barrier to protect you in the event of a fire. When possible remember to close doors to prevent fire and smoke from entering the room.
  • 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.
  • Never store gasoline containers inside your home. Escaping vapors are heavier than air and easily find ignition sources such as pilot lights.
  • Place your address by your phone. Babysitters, guests, or young children may need to call for help in your home. They usually do not know your address and may not know your phone number. Make it easier for them in an emergency. Place your address and phone number on or by your phone.
  • Practice fire safety in your kitchen. Does everyone in your home know to "Put a Lid on It" on grease fires?
  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit in your home. Make sure everyone in your home knows where to find it and how and when to use the items in it.
Out & About
  • Fire and Building Codes are designed to protect you in the event of a fire. In your building or home, take time to learn where fire exits are. A fire escape may be a window. There should always be 2 ways out of a building.
  • Careless cigarette smoking starts many home fires. Are ashtrays large enough so that a forgotten cigarette will fall in? Ashes should be discarded in metal wastebaskets only, ideally outside the home. Do not smoke in bed. Remember careless smoking is still a major cause of home fires.