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SAFETY TIPS

CHECK OUT THE SAFETY TIPS

 

 

 

Calls about smoke or a hot odor in the house< Over the last few years we have responded
to some calls about smoke or a hot odor in the house. It turned out that the smoke or odor was caused by a failing compact fluorescent (cfl) bulb. While these bulbs are meant to fail safely, as they age and degrade, so does the ballast, and while they should just stop emitting light they may go out with a pop and emit an odor and possibly smoke and sparks. It is possible that the sparks could cause a fire if they fall onto something combustible. CFL's are equipped with a voltage dependent resistor that acts like a circuit breaker, but we must keep in mind that any electrical device can fail.We should also be mindful of the fact that cfl's contain a small amount of mercury and care should be taken when cleaning up a broken bulb so we don't cut ourselves on the broken glass. Most cfl's have defects which can allow small radiation leaks that could cause damage to skin cells with direct exposure at close range. To avoid this radiation, shield the bulbs inside of a fixture, stay 1 to 2 feet away from a bare bulb, and avoid staring directly into them. CFL's are generally a safe and economical alternative for lighting, but we need to be on the alert for abnormal failures.
Winter Heating Safety Tips
Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. Almost half of home heating equipment fires are reported
during the months of December, January, and February. Some simple steps can prevent most heating-related fires from happening. Keep anything
that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater. Have a
three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters. Never use your oven to heat your home. Have a qualified professional install
stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional. Remember to turn portable heaters off when
leaving the room or going to bed. Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters. Make sure
the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container.
Keep the container a safe distance away from your home. Test smoke alarms monthly.
WHY SHOULD I HAVE A WORKING SMOKE ALARM
WHY SHOULD I HAVE A WORKING SMOKE ALARM?*A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the first thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Home fire sprinklers can also alert you, but are a few seconds slower than smoke alarms. Whether you're awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire. *WHAT TYPES OF SMOKE ALARMS CAN I BUY?* There are many brands of smoke alarms on the market, but they fall under two basic types:ionization and photoelectric.Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms detect different types of fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire might start in their home, the USFA recommends that every home and place where people sleep have:<br> -Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms. OR 'Dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors. There are also alarms for people with hearing loss. These alarms may strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.*WHAT POWERS A SMOKE ALARM?* Smoke alarms are powered by battery or by your home's electrical system. If the smoke alarm is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium ("long-life") battery. Alarms that get power from your hoe's electrical system, or "hardwired," usually have a back-up battery that will need<br> to be replaced once a year. *ARE SMOKE ALARMS EXPENSIVE?* Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help*WHERE DO I PUT SMOKE ALARMS IN MY HOME?* 'Put smoke alarms on every floor of your home. Also, in every bedroom and in the hallway outside of each sleeping area. -Choose smoke alarms that communicate with each other, so that if one alarm sounds they all will. 'Place smoke alarms on the ceiling or high on the wall. Check the manufacturer's instructions for the best place for your alarm.-Only qualified electricians should itall hardwired smoke alarms. *HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY SMOKE ALARM?*Is your smoke alarm still working? A smoke alarm with a dead or missing battery is the same as having no smoke alarm at all. A smoke alarm only works when it is properly installed and regularly maintained. Maintain your smoke alarms according to the manufacturer's instructions. BELOW ARE SOME GENERAL MAINTENANCE TIPS. - Smoke alarm powered by a 9-volt battery - 'Test the alarm monthly. -Replace the batteries at least once every year. 'Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years. 'Test the alarm monthly.'Since you cannot (and should not) replace a lithium battery, replace the entire smoke alarm according to the manufacturer's instructions,- Smoke alarm that is hardwired into your home's electrical system - 'Test the alarm monthly. -Replace the backup battery at least once every year.-Replace the entire smoke alarm every 10 years.WHAT DO I DO IF MY SMOKE ALARM SOUNDS WHILE I'M COOKING?*Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking! If a smoke alarm sounds while you're cooking or taking a shower with lots of steam,do not remove the battery.YOU SHOULD: 'Open a window or door and press the "hush" button. -Wave a towel at the alarm to clear the air. -Move the entire alarm several feet away from the kitchen or bathroom.*Disabling a smoke alarm or removing the battery can be a deadly mistake.*
Calls about smoke or a hot odor in the house
Over the last few years we have responded
to some calls about smoke or a hot odor in the house. It turned out
that the smoke or odor was caused by a failing compact fluorescent
(cfl) bulb. While these bulbs are meant to fail safely, as they age
and degrade, so does the ballast, and while they should just stop
emitting light they may go out with a pop and emit an odor and
possibly smoke and sparks. It is possible that the sparks could
cause a fire if they fall onto something combustible. CFL's are
equipped with a voltage dependent resistor that acts like a circuit
breaker, but we must keep in mind that any electrical device can
fail.We should also be mindful of the fact that cfl's contain a
small amount of mercury and care should be taken when cleaning up a
broken bulb so we don't cut ourselves on the broken glass. Most
cfl's have defects which can allow small radiation leaks that could
cause damage to skin cells with direct exposure at close range. To
avoid this radiation, shield the bulbs inside of a fixture, stay 1
to 2 feet away from a bare bulb, and avoid staring directly into
them. CFL's are generally a safe and economical alternative for
lighting, but we need to be on the alert for abnormal failures.
Ice Safety

Each winter thousands of anglers venture out onto frozen lakes to fish through the ice. And, each winter there are ice-related accidents often caused by poor judgement or poor decisions based on inadequate information.
Here are some safety tips every person venturing out onto frozen lakes should observe:

  • Leave information about your plans with someone -- where you intend to fish and when you expect to return.
  • Wear a personal floatation device and don't fish alone.
  • Ice varies in thickness and condition. Always carry an ice spud or chisel to check ice as you proceed.
  • Be extremely cautious crossing ice near river mouths, points of land, bridges, islands, and over reefs and springs. Current causes ice to be thinner over these areas.
  • Avoid going onto the ice if it has melted away from the shore. This indicates melting is underway, and ice can shift position as wind direction changes.
  • Waves from open water can quickly break up large areas of ice. If you can see open water in the lake and the wind picks up, get off!
  • Carry a set of hand spikes to help you work your way out onto the surface of the ice if you go through. Holding one in each hand, you can alternately punch them into the ice and pull yourself up and out. You can make these at home, using large nails, or you can purchase them at stores that sell fishing supplies.
  • Carry a safety line that can be thrown to someone who has gone through the ice.
  • Leave your car or truck on shore. Every year several motor vehicles go through the ice, and people have drowned as a result.
  • Heated fishing shanties must have good ventilation to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. Open a window or the door part way to allow in fresh air.
  • Many ice drownings involve children. When your child is near the ice, you should be near your child.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages when you’re on the ice. They can make you feel colder and slow down your reaction time in case of an ice emergency.
  • Use extreme caution driving on the ice at night.
  • Drive with your windows down and doors partially open to avoid becoming trapped if your car breaks through

Here are some guidelines for ice thickness safety
2" or less - STAY OFF
4" - Ice fishing or other activities on foot
5" - Snowmobile or ATV
8" - 12" - Car or small pickup
12" - 15" - Medium truck
Note: these guidelines are for new, clear solid ice.
Many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe

White ice or "snow ice" is only about half as strong as new clear ice. Double the above thickness guidelines when traveling on white ice.
Protect yourself from "Invisible Killer"
Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuels are potential sources of CO (carbon monoxide). Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of CO.
Although the popularity of CO detectors has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home. Since 2011 it is Wisconsin law that each dwelling have at least one CO detector, (SPS328).
Proper placement of a CO detector is important. If you are installing only one detector, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends it be placed near the sleeping area where it can wake you if you are asleep. Additional detectors on every level provides extra protection against CO poisoning. In fact, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommend a detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.
Homeowners should remember not to install detectors directly above or beside fuel burning appliances, as appliances may emit a small amount of CO upon start-up. A detector should not be placed within 15 feet of heating or cooking appliances or in very humid areas such as bathrooms. When considering where to place a CO detector, keep in mind that CO is roughly the same weight as air, it may be contained in warm air coming from a combustion appliance such as your furnace. If this is the case CO will rise with the warmer air, so a high location would normally be the best. However, installation locations vary by manufacturer therefore, make sure you read the provided installation instruction manual for each detector before installing.
When CO detectors were introduced into the market, they had a limited life span of 2 years. With new technology that life span has increased to 5 or even 6 years. Some models are designed to signal a need to replace after that life span.
Although all detectors use an audible alarm signal as the primary indicator, some versions also offer a digital readout of the CO concentration in parts per million. Typically, they can display both the current reading and a peak reading from memory of the highest level over a period of time so one can learn of levels that may have occurred during an absence.
Battery- only CO detectors tend to go thru batteries more frequently then plug-in detectors with battery back-up.
CO poisoning can occur very quickly if a large amount is present, but it can also occur over a long period of time if just a small amount is present. Don't take a chance with this invisible killer, install CO detectors and keep them maintained according to instructions.
grass fire

It doesn't take much for a grass fire to develop into a wildfire, and unfortunately, no matter how many times we are educated about grass fire prevention, every summer season, too many seem to appear. While many grass fires are ignited by obvious, careless human efforts, like burning garbage or abandoning a smoldering camp fire, they can start surprisingly easily and often without our knowledge. These may be things like a lawnmower blade striking a rock, a vehicle's exhaust pipe dragging across a grassy area on a dirt road, or an electric fence wire snapping against a metal post. And as we all know, it doesn't take rnuch of a breeze to fuel a grass-kindled  flame that covers just a few yards to grow into an inferno spanning several acres. Time is crucial when trying to prevent a small, grass fire from turning into a destructive blaze, so we need to plan ahead as much as possible on situations that we can control.

A very prudent idea to reduce the chance of a grass fire transpiring within your property's confines is to cut and trim tall, dry grass. Some of these common, potentially dangerous areas are along driveways and roadsides.  Be especially cognizant of places where vehicles are likely to stop or idle, like around mailboxes, gates and turn-outs. Check the grass around any outdoor buildings, i.e. barns, sheds and workshops. These are likely areas for the emergence of accidental fires that might be the cause of malfunctioning equipment.. So what should you do to prepare for the worst? Planning ahead is vital so
you know what to do if a fire starts. Keep basic fire-fighting equipment close at hand; a fire extinguisher in all your vehicles and buildings; keep a shovel or two in handy-to-get places around your property; above all, have a way to call for help, such as a cell phone. Be certain you know your escape routes and frequently check them, to ensure they are passable.

The best way to battle a grass fire is to prevent it from ever starting. Perhaps these tips will help you slay alert to these dreadful, recurring calamities.

• Obviously, don't throw cigarette or cigar butts on the ground or out of a vehicle.

• Don't burn trash, leaves, or brush outdoors, without proper supervision.

• Employ the 30-foot "safety zone" surrounding the horne. Clear away loose grass, leaves, etc. away from the home, especially those living in a woodland area.

• If not using a storage shed to store your firewood, make sure you stack it at least 20-feet away from your house.

• Rake leaves, cut off dead limbs, and cut grass regularly. Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.

• Avoid parking cars, trucks or recreational vehicles on dry grass or brush. Exhaust systems on vehicles can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees; it only takes about 500 degrees to start a brush fire in the summer.

• Maintain a 10-foot area that is free of brush and shrubbery around BBQ grills and propane tanks. Do not leave a grill unattended, and when finished, place ashes in a bucket and soak in water until completely cooled. Keep a shovel, bucket of water, fire extinguisher, or other fire suppression tools on hand in case
of emergency.

• Stress to children the importance of not playing with fire-especially in grassy areas, fire can spread quickly and children need to be informed of the potential threat.

Now that Spring and summer looms, we are anxious to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. We break out the tents and grills and make plans for camping or anything we can do now that we've thawed out. Make sure you are prepared and educated on what to do should you encounter a fire, in your journeys, and have a happy, healthy, couple of Wisconsin summer months.