Safety Updates

The Risk Management, Environmental Health & Safety Department would like to present safety updates to you in a new easier and more accessible format. 

Here are the Safety Updates for Fire Prevention and Fire Exit Safety:

Just click on the links below for more information.

Fire Prevention

Fire Exit Safety


Fire Prevention

Fire Prevention Week - October 8-14, 2017

Image of NFPA Fire Prevention Week


This year Fire Prevention Week is October 8-14. Many people never anticipate the possibility of a fire in their own homes, making this an important time to educate people about the importance of fire safety.

In a fire, seconds count. Seconds can mean the difference between residents of our community escaping safely from a fire or having their lives end in tragedy.

That's why this year's Fire Prevention Week theme: "Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out!" is so important. It reinforces why everyone needs to have an escape plan. Here's this year's key campaign messages:

  • Draw a map of your home (PDF) with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can't help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Fast Facts about Fire

Home Fires
  • Half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. when most people are asleep. One in five home fires were reported during these hours.
  • One quarter of home fire deaths were caused by fires that started in the bedroom. Another quarter resulted from fires in the living room, family room or den.
  • In 2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 365,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 2,560 deaths, 11,075 civilian injuries, and $7 billion in direct damage.
  • On average, seven people die in U.S. home fires per day.
  • Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries, followed by heating equipment.
  • Smoking materials are the leading cause of home fire deaths.
  • Most fatal fires kill one or two people.
  • During 2010-2014, roughly one of every 338 households reported a home fire per year.
Smoke Alarms
  • Three out of five home fire deaths in 2010-2014 were caused by fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.
  • Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in reported home fires in half.
  • In fires considered large enough to activate the smoke alarm, hardwired alarms operated 94% of the time, while battery powered alarms operated 80% of the time.
  • When smoke alarms fail to operate, it is usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.
  • An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. For the best protection, or where extra time is needed to awaken or assist others, both types of alarms, or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms are recommended. 
Escape Planning
  • According to an NFPA survey, only one-third of Americans have both developed and practiced a home fire escape plan.
  • Almost three-quarters of Americans have an escape plan; however, more than half have never practiced it.
  • One-third of survey respondents who made an estimate thought they would have at least 6 minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. The time available is often less. Only 8% said their first thought on hearing a smoke alarm would be to get out!
Cooking
  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated annual average of 166,100 home cooking-related fires between 2010-2014 resulting in 480 civilian deaths, 5,540 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion in direct damage.
  • Two of every five (43%) home fires started in the kitchen.
  • Unattended cooking was a factor in one-third of reported home cooking fires.
  • Two-thirds of home cooking fires started with ignition of food or other cooking materials.
  • Ranges accounted for three of every five (62%) home cooking fire incidents. Ovens accounted for 13%.
  • Children under five face a higher risk of non-fire burns associated with cooking and hot food and drinks than of being hurt in a cooking fire.
  • Children under five accounted for 30% of the 4,300 microwave oven scald burns seen in hospital emergency rooms during 2014.
  • Clothing was the item first ignited in less than 1% of home cooking fires, but these incidents accounted for 18% of the cooking fire deaths.
  • More than half of people injured in home fires involving cooking equipment were hurt while attempting to fight the fire themselves.
  • Frying is the leading activity associated with cooking fires.
Heating
  • The leading factor contributing to heating equipment fires was failure to clean. This usually involved creosote build-up in chimneys.
  • Portable or fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, were involved in two of every five (40%) home heating fires and accounted for 84% of the home heating deaths.
  • Over half (56%) of home heating fire deaths resulted from fires caused by heating equipment too close to things that can burn, such as upholstered furniture, clothing, mattresses, or bedding.
  • In most years, heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires, fire deaths, and fire injuries.
Heating Safety
With a few simple safety tips and precautions you can prevent most heating fires from happening. Be warm and safe this winter!

  • 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 at least once a month.
Smoking Materials
Smoking materials, including cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, started an estimated 17,200 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2014. These fires caused 570 deaths, 1,140 injuries and $426 million in direct property damage.  Smoking materials caused 5% of reported home fires, 21% of home fire deaths, 10% of home fire injuries, and 6% of the direct property damage from home fires.
Smoking Safety
  • If you smoke, use only fire-safe cigarettes.
  • If you smoke, smoke outside. Most deaths result from fires that started in living rooms, family rooms and dens or in bedrooms.
  • Keep cigarettes, lighters, matches, and other smoking materials up high out of the reach of children, in a locked cabinet.
  • Never smoke and never allow anyone to smoke where medical oxygen is used. Medical oxygen can cause materials to ignite more easily and make fires burn at a faster rate than normal. It can make an existing fire burn faster and hotter.

Electrical

  • Between 2010 and 2014, U.S. municipal fire departments responded to an average of 45,210 home structure fires involving electrical failure or malfunction. These fires caused annual averages of 420 civilian deaths, 1,370 civilian injuries, and $1.4 billion in direct property damage.
  • The bedroom was the leading area of origin for home fires involving lamps, light fixtures, and bulbs, with 22% of the total.
  • Extension cords account for the greatest share of home fires involving cords or plugs, with 57% of the fire total.

Electrical Safety

To help reduce your risk, National Fire Protection Association and Electrical Safety Foundation International recommend that you have all electrical work done by a qualified electrician, including electrical inspections, when buying or remodeling a home. The following are additional tips residents can follow to help keep their homes safe from electrical fires:
  • Check electrical cords to make sure they are not running across doorways or under carpets where they can get damaged.
  • Have a qualified electrician add more receptacle outlets in your home to reduce the use of extension cords.
  • Use light bulbs that match the recommended wattage on the lamp or fixture. Check the sticker on the lamp to determine the maximum wattage light bulb to use.
Candles
  • In 2009-2013, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 9,300 home1 structure fires that were started by candles per year.
  • Candles caused 3% of reported home fires, 3% of home fire deaths, 6% of home fire injuries, and 5% of the direct property damage in home fires.
  • Roughly one-third (36%) of home candle fires started in bedrooms. These fires caused 32% of the associated deaths and 47% of the associated injuries.
  • Falling asleep was a factor in 11% percent of the home candle fires and 30% of the associated deaths.
  • On average, 25 home candle fires were reported per day. 
  • More than half (58%) of home candle fires occurred when some form of combustible material was left or came too close to the candle.
  • December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. In December, 11% of home candle fires began with decorations compared to 4% the rest of the year.
Candle Safety
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn.
  • IF YOU DO BURN CANDLES, make sure that you...
    • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won't tip over easily.
    • Put candle holders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface.
    • Light candles carefully. Keep your hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
    • Don't burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the
      holder or container.
    • Never use a candle if oxygen is used in the home.
    • Have flashlights and battery-powered lighting ready to use during a power outage. Never use candles.
    • Never leave a child alone in a room with a burning candle. Keep matches and lighters up high and out of children's reach, in a locked cabinet.

Sources: National Fire Prevention Association, www.nfpa.org

E

Fire Exit Safety

Per the State of Michigan's requirement, CMU's Risk Management, Environmental Health & Safety/Emergency Management Office is presenting Fire Exit Safety Training during the months of October and November.  All University employees will need to watch this safety video and check the box to satisfy this obligation.  This link will take you to the Fire Exit Safety Training

In addition, here are some quick notes on evacuation in corridors, stairways, and exits:

  • Keep all means of egress clean, clutter-free, and unobstructed.
  • Do not place hazardous materials or equipment in areas that are used for evacuation.
  • Do not use corridors or stairways for storage or office/laboratory operations. Corridors may not be used as an extension of the office or laboratory

Fire Doors

A fire door serves as a barrier to limit the spread of fire and restrict the movement of smoke. Unless they are held open by the automatic systems, fire doors should remain closed at all times. Do not tamper with fire doors or block them with equipment, potted plants, furniture, etc.

Fire doors are normally located in stairwells, corridors, and other areas required by Fire Code. The door, door frame, locking mechanism, and closure are rated between 20 minutes and three hours. A fire door rating indicates how long the door assembly can withstand heat and a water hose stream.

Always keep fire doors closed. If it is necessary to keep a fire door open, have a special closure installed. This closure will connect the fire door to the building's fire alarm system, and will automatically close the door if the alarm system activates.

Know which doors are fire doors and keep them closed to protect building occupants and exit paths from fire and smoke. Never block a fire door with a non-approved closure device such as a door stop, block of wood, or potted plant. For fire doors with approved closure devices, make sure that nothing around the door can impede the closure.

Never alter a fire door or assembly in any way. Simple alterations such as changing a lock or installing a window can lessen the fire rating of the door.

Doors to offices, laboratories, and classrooms help act as smoke barriers regardless of their fire rating. Keep these doors closed whenever possible.

REMEMBER
A closed door is the best way to protect your path to safety from the
spread of smoke and fire.

Fire Lanes

A fire lane is an area designated for emergency personnel only. It allows them to gain access to building and/or fire protection systems.

Sources:  Texas State, http://www.fss.txstate.edu/ehsrm/safetymanual/firelife/emgaccegr.html.


If you have questions or need further information please contact the Risk Management, Environmental Health & Safety Office at (989) 774-7398 or CMUEHS@cmich.edu. ​
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