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Fire safety tips help keep a crisis from becoming a tragedy

Proper use of Fire Extinguishers

Using a fire extinguisher in the first two minutes of a fire can keep a small flame from becoming a big one. Valuable time can be lost if those two minutes are spent trying to figure out how to use the extinguisher. Used improperly, a fire extinguisher can make a fire worse.

Here are some basic tips for proper fire-extinguisher use. Included are easy tricks to trigger one's memory when the "heat is on."

To operate the extinguisher:

€ Pull the pin.

€ Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the flames.

€ Squeeze the trigger while holding the extinguisher upright and steady.

€ Sweep the extinguisher from side to side covering the area of the fire.

To determine which class of extinguisher to use for a particular fire, remember the ABCs:

€ A is for ordinary fires involving solids such as wood, paper and cloth.

€ B is for flammable liquids such as paint thinner or for grease fires.

€ C is for electrical equipment.

And finally, when in doubt, get out. Don't try to fight a fire that is too big, spreading too rapidly or blocks the only exit. Leave immediately and call 911

Safety in public buildings

Before entering a public assembly building (restaurant, nightclub, bar, theater, etc.)

€ Have a communication plan - Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of an emergency and family or friends are separated.

€ Choose a meeting place - Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends. If there is an emergency, be sure to meet them there.

When entering a public assembly building

€ Locate exits immediately - When entering a building, look for all available exits. Some exits may be in front and some in back of you. Be prepared to use your closest exit.

€ Check for clear exit paths - Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If there are not at least two exits or exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the local fire marshal to register a complaint. For emergencies, after hours or on weekends, call 911.

During an emergency

€ React Immediately - If an alarm sounds, if smoke or fire is visible, or there are other unusual disturbances immediately exit the building in an orderly fashion. Has 911 been called?

€ Get out, stay out! Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations.

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