Wednesday, August 12, 2009

LV Fire & Rescue Summer Safety Tips

I recently attended a fire safety class given at work and was shocked with my ignorance about how easy it is to start a fire if you're not careful.

Considering the extreme heat in the Las Vegas Valley, chances of a fire in homes and businesses actually increase during the summer months. One important tip that I left with was to change the battery on my smoke detector at least once a year as smoke inhalation will cause death well before fire burns.

The class thoroughly explained fire evacuation tips as well as general fire prevention. I highly recommend trying to schedule this type of course. You can contact the number I have provided at the bottom of the blog to find out more about this class.

Here are just a few of the many examples of past fires and ways to prevent them in your house or business:

Refrigerators/Freezers: I am guilty of keeping a second refrigerator in my garage and never realized the risk involved. To keep a unit in a hot area cool, the compressor has to work extra hard. So, considering the heat in your garage and 100 degree temperatures, the compressor works almost constantly. When the compressor is working, it gets extremely hot and can cause a fire. While it's best to keep refrigerators in cooler conditions, one thing to also keep in mind is that even trash left behind refrigerators that are on wood floors or carpets can cause fires.

Extension cords cause fires if used with appliances. They should not be used with refrigerators/freezers or air conditioning units. If they are running constantly and the extension cord is not designed to carry the required electric load, the cord will heat up quickly and cause a fire.

Maintain air conditions/fans: all equipment regardless of what it is needs to be maintained from time to time. Check units for frayed wires and keep them clean. Fans accumulate dust and dirt around the motor which has caused many fires. Vacuum the fan from time to time to keep the motor clean. Air conditioner units should be maintained by a qualified A/C technician at lease once every two years to make sure it is working efficiently and safely.

Use caution with chemicals: If they are left exposed to direct sunlight in this extreme heat, it can cause a fire. Paints, fuels and the like can cause explosions in some cases. One house on the north side of the city was completely destroyed because the occupant was painting (art) on their patio and left a small can of paint thinner exposed to the sun in extreme heat. Within minutes the thinner ignited, started the back of the house on fire and spread quickly into the attic without several occupants inside aware of the fire. By the time the fire was discovered, the house was heavily involved.

These are just a few of the many tips and examples I learned in the class. It was definitely an eye opener for me. If you have any questions about Fire Safety and Prevention, would like more information or if you're interested in having a class at your place of business or school, you can contact the number below.

Office of Public information & Education
Timothy R Szymanski, Public Information Officer
Phone: 702-229-0145
Fax: 702-229-0152

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