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Safety Tips      

Preventing Kitchen Fires

  • Stay in the kitchen while cooking.
  • Turn off and unplug appliance when not in use.
  • Clean appliances so grease cannot build and catch fire.
  • Wear snug fitting sleeves while cooking so they can't catch fire.
  • Turn stove panhandles in so they are not easily knocked over.
  • No kids or pets within 3 feet.

Home Heating Safety

  • Buy heaters that have an independent testing lab label. (UL)
  • Buy heater that shut off automatically.
  • Have chimney and furnace inspected and cleaned regularly by a professional.
  • Keep all materials that can catch fire at least 36 inches from furnaces, baseboards and other heaters.
  • Give space heaters space. (three feet)
  • Keep glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening.
  • Discard ashes in a metal container away from the house.
  • Blow out candles if you are leaving the room. Never leave a candle unattended.

Outdoor Fire Safety

  • Store BBQ's and grills outside and away from you home.
  • Fuel lawn mowers outsides.
  • Clean and clear outside areas of materials that can catch fire.

Match and Lighter Safety

  • Store matches and lighter up high, preferably in a locked cabinet.
  • Teach children to tell a grown up if they find lighters or matches.
  • Teach children that matches and lighters are tools for adults, not toys for children.
  • Buy child resistant lighters.

Candle Safety

  • Always stay in the room where candles are burning and extinguish them when you leave the room.
  • Place candles a safe distance from anything that can burn such as curtains, mattresses and cluttered areas.
  • Keep candles, matches and lighters away from children.
  • Use sturdy candleholders that won't tip over. Use candleholders that are large enough to contain dripping wax.
  • Trim candlewicks to 1/4 inch before lighting.
  • Keep hair and clothing away from candle flames.
  • Extinguish candles when the wick is within 2 inches of holder.
  • Extinguish candles before going to bed or falling asleep.
  • The best way to extinguish candles is to use a snuffer of soft direct breath. Don't splatter wax when extinguishing.

BBQ Safety

  • Never place coals in plastic, paper, or wooden containers. Numerous fires occur from improperly disposed of coals.
  • Keep children and pets far away from grills.
  • Always supervise a BBQ grill when in use.
  • With gas grills, be sure that the hose connection is tight and check hoses carefully for leaks; applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal any leaks.
  • When using BBQ grills on decks or patios, be sure to leave 5 to 10 feet of space from the siding and eaves of your home.
  • With charcoal grills, only use charcoal starter fluid designed for BBQ grills, and do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
  • Always follow manufacturer's instructions and have the grill repaired by a professional, if necessary.

Water Safety

  • Calm rivers can hide swift currents, rocks, tree branches, and other underwater debris.
  • Many lakes and rivers are cold enough to cause hypothermia, even during the summer.
  • The power of water currents is deceptive. A current that appears slow moving can be strong enough to sweep a person away.
  • Alcohol consumption slows reflexes, affects judgment, dehydrates the body and increases the chance of being injured or ill.
  • Drowning often happens when the swimmer is too tired to return to shore.
  • Muscle cramps, heavy perspiration, and feeling tired are signs of heat cramps or exhaustion.
  • Keep hydrated by consuming non -caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages. Drink before you become thirsty.
  • Always wear SPF 25 or higher sunscreen to protect your skin.
  • Learn how to swim and never swim alone.
  • Do not over estimate your swimming abilities.
  • Always wear a life jacket while near or on open water, rivers, lakes, and ocean.
  • Supervise children when near any body of water.
  • Before entering open bodies of water, check the current temperature and depth.
  • Do not let others pressure you into swimming beyond your limits.
  • The safest place to swim is in a designated swimming area with a lifeguard on duty.

Smoke Detectors

80% of all U.S. Fire Deaths Occur in the Home

Why do I need a smoke alarm in my home?

The risk of dying in a fire is twice as high in homes without smoke detectors. Even a small fire can fill your home with deadly smoke. Most fire fatalities occur between 2 am and 6 am when people are sleeping and most die in a different room than the fire started in. Poisonous gas and smoke produced by fire can kill you. The only thing standing between the deadly fumes of a fire and a safe escape is the piercing sound of a smoke detector. Smoke detectors are one of the best and cheapest safety features you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home. Working smoke detectors let you know there is a fire in the home and gives you time to escape.

Where do I buy smoke detectors?

Most hardware, home supply or general merchandise stores carry smoke detectors. They range in price from approximately $10.00 to $25.00 per alarm.

What kind of smoke alarms do I need?

There are two basic kinds of smoke detectors, ionization and photoelectric. Both are effective at detecting fires, although they do it in different ways. An ionization detector monitors "ions" or electrically charged particles in the air. The ionization detector responds faster to small smoke particles. Flaming fires produce more small smoke particles. Because the ionization detector is more sensitive to small smoke particles, it will respond more quickly to fumes and gases produced from cooking; you may experience nuisance alarms if a smoke detector of this type is installed near the kitchen. A photoelectric detector uses a beam of light and a light sensor. It responds more quickly to larger smoke particles. Smoldering fires produce larger smoke particles.

You can also purchase combination ionization/photoelectric smoke detectors. When the two sensors are combined in one unit, the ionization sensor is set at a slightly less sensitive level. This makes the unit less prone to nuisance alarms and you get a unit that is more responsive to both flaming and smoldering fires.

The other difference in smoke detectors is how they are powered. They can either be hooked into your home's electrical system or they can be battery powered. Some of the electrical system detectors have battery back up.

How many smoke detectors do I need and where do I put them?

Thor more smoke detectors you have, the better your chances of surviving a fire. The closer the smoke detector is to a fire the more quickly it will go off.

You should have at least one smoke detector on every level of you home, including the basement.

Install a smoke detector inside each bedroom. Smoke detectors are not made to work in extreme heat or cold. They aren't recommended for attics or similar spaces or spaces that aren't heated. Don't mount your smoke detector too near the stove or bathroom shower. There should be a smoke detector in the main hallway outside of each bedroom area close enough to be heard through a closed bedroom door. On floors without bedrooms, smoke detectors should be in or near living areas such as family rooms, living rooms and dens. This is particularly important if someone in your house smokes.

A smoke detector should be installed above stairwells. Put a smoke detector near your kitchen.

How do I take care of my smoke detectors and make sure they are working properly?

Over one third of fire deaths occur in homes that have smoke detectors but the detectors were not maintained properly and didn't work. There are more homes with smoke detectors that don't work than homes without smoke detectors. These non-working smoke detectors create a false sense of security. Three of the most common reasons for non-working smoke detectors are:

1. Batteries have been removed.
2. They've been disabled to prevent nuisance alarms.
3. They are more then 10 years old and don't work anymore.

Maintenance is critical and easy to accomplish. Replace your batteries at least once a year. Change the batteries in all your smoke detectors when you change your clocks for daylight saving time in the fall. If you battery-powered smoke alarm starts to chirp every minute or so this usually indicates a weak battery. Replace the battery immediately.

Regular testing will determine if you smoke detectors work properly. Test your smoke detectors once a month. Plush the "test" button for five seconds or so. The smoke detector should sound. Some smoke detectors have a small light (LED) that should blink about every minute indicating the detector has power. Some detectors have a light (LED) that stays on all the time indicating power.

If you are in need of a smoke detector in you home, please contact the Tukwila Fire Prevention Bureau at 206-575-4407 for more information. Please be advised that if you live in a rental unit, the owner is required to provide operational smoke detectors in you living area.


Contact Information:

Tukwila Fire Department
Headquarters - Station 51
444 Andover Park East
Tukwila, WA 98188

Phone: 206 575-4404
Fax: 206 575-4439
Emergencies: Dial 911

Email the Fire Dept.