In a disaster you may be asked to either evacuate or shelter-in-place. In the excitement of an emergency, it can be difficult to focus on what you are doing. Know what to do to keep your family safe. Practice your tornado and fire safety plans. If your family has practiced, they will be more comfortable doing it when the emergency actually happens.
- Identify the best storm shelter in your home and practice getting to the shelter with your family.
- Learn how to safely shelter in place.
- Make a Go Bag for emergency sheltering.
The Emergency Management Institute is pleased to announce the newly revised independent study course, IS-394.a Protecting your Home or Small Business from Disaster. The course replaces IS-394 Mitigation for Homeowners.
The purpose of this course is to provide a foundation of knowledge that will enable participants to:
Describe different types of natural disasters
Describe hazards that pose a risk to their home or small business
Explain how protective measures can reduce or eliminate long-term risks to their home and personal property from hazards and their effects
Explain how protective measures for small businesses secure people, business property, and building structures and prevent business loss from a natural disaster
The primary audience for IS-394.a, like its predecessor, is small business owners, homeowners, and individual citizens. It is presented in a non-technical format and includes protective measures that can reduce the negative consequences of disasters on homes or small businesses. (Click here to view this free course)
An active shooter is an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and other populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims. Active shooter situations are unpredictable and evolve quickly.
All employees can help prevent and prepare for potential active shooter situations. This course provides guidance to individuals, including managers and employees, so that they can prepare to respond to an active shooter situation.
This course is not written for law enforcement officers, but for non-law enforcement employees. The material may provide law enforcement officers information on recommended actions for non-law enforcement employees to take should they be confronted with an active shooter situation.
· Kerosene heaters are legal in Rochester, and must be used in well-ventilated area.
- Be sure your heater is in good working condition.
- Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup.
- Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in case the heater is tipped over.
- Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
- Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
- Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
- Never fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling.
Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors).
- Keep young children away from space heaters—especially when they are wearing night gowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited.
- When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.
- Use a carbon monoxide detector and keep in the area of the kerosene heater
Wood Stoves and Fireplaces
Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize their fire hazard.
To use them safely:
- Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly.
- Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
- Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be laboratory tested.
- Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
- Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
- Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants
- Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
- Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
- Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
- If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.
· It is important that you have your furnace inspected to ensure that it is in good working condition.
- Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
- Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists.
- Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.
- Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
- Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
- Is the chimney solid, with cracks or loose bricks?
- All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
- Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.
Other Fire Safety Tips
· Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
- Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
- If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit.
- Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load. TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
- Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a laboratory tested device such as a hand held dryer for thawing.
- If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily and use home escape ladders were recommended.
- If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
- Be sure every level of your home has a working CO and smoke alarm, and be sure to check and clean them on a monthly basis.
- Plan and practice a home fire escape plan with your family.
· Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
- Guarding your Social Security number.
- Shredding documents with personal information before disposing of them.
- Using intricate passwords.
- Verifying a source before sharing any personal information.
- Being on the lookout for online scammers and thieves.
- Keeping your purse, wallet, and personal information secure.
The best way to detect identity theft is to monitor your accounts and bank statements each month and check your credit report regularly. Learn more about how to detect identity theft.
If you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, take steps to respond and recover as soon as possible. You can find forms, sample letters, and other tools from the Federal Trade Commission.
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