Safety Tips

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Smoke Detectors

When a fire occurs in your home, your chances of survival double when smoke detectors are present and properly maintained. For your protection, install a smoke detector outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. Smoke detectors are not recommended for kitchens, bathrooms, or garages, where cooking fumes, steam, or exhaust could set off false alarms. 

Smoke detectors can be battery operated, plugged in, or hard-wired into a building's electrical system. Never connect a detector to a circuit that can be turned off at a wall switch, and never remove the battery from a smoke detector without immediately replacing it. Residential smoke detectors fall into two major types: photoelectric and ionization. WFD recommends a combination of both types of detectors, properly installed, for the best level of fire protection. When buying detectors, always check the box to ensure that the manufacturer has obtained the UL listing and is approved by a recognized fire agency. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installation and use of your smoke detector in your home.

Your smoke detector should be cleaned and tested at least once a year. Batteries should be changed twice a year when the clocks are changed to and from Daylight Savings Time. Smoke detectors should never be painted. For your family's safety, you should develop a Home Fire Escape Drill to work in conjunction with your smoke detector

Utility System Tips


  • We recommend an annual service check by an insured and City of Warren certified heating contractor as your first line of defense.
  • Clean or replace your furnace filters regularly.
  • Remember, a cracked heat exchanger in a furnace could allow dangerous carbon monoxide to enter the house through the heating ducts.
  • The flue pipes should also be checked for leaks.
  • Install and maintain a carbon monoxide detector.

Hot water heaters:

  • The flue pipes should be checked for leaks.
  • Check flames for proper burning. Too much yellow flame indicates a poor gas/air mixture and may indicate that cleaning is necessary.

Heating tape for water pipes:

  • Always use the right type of tape for the job.
  • All electrical connections should be protected from water and not bare. If in doubt, hire an insured and City of Warren certified electrical contractor to install the equipment properly.
  • Use the correct type of insulation that is recommended by the heat tape manufacturer.

Christmas safety tips:

  • Water live trees daily.
  • Use a safe and securely built tree stand.
  • Use only UL approved tree lights with no cracked insulation or bare spots on the wire. If in doubt, throw them away.
  • Do not overload extension cords or outlets.
  • Do not leave lights on unattended.
  • Use great caution with candles.

Home Fire Escape Drill

The Home Fire Escape Drill is designed to help families practice two escape routes out of the house if a fire should occur. The plan should consist of a normal route through hallways and stairways and an alternative route through a window or onto a roof. To establish a Home Fire Escape Plan, you should:

  1. Draw a sketch of your home.
  2. Draw arrows to show both the normal and the alternative escape routes used to exit the home.
  3. Practice the Home Fire Escape Drill with all family members.

What to do in the event of a house fire:

  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed to prevent smoke and fire from freely entering the bedrooms.
  • At the first signs of fire, yell or pound on walls to notify other family members of the fire.
  • Do not waste time getting dressed or gathering valuables.
  • Test the bedroom door for heat before opening it.
  • If there is smoke, get down on your knees and crawl under the smoke to the nearest safe exit.
  • Get to the designated meeting place outside.
  • Make sure that everyone is out of the house.
  • Call 911 from a neighbor's house.
  • Once out of the house, do not go back in for any reason.

General Home Safety Hints

  • Do not store combustibles (boxes, clothing, etc.) near furnaces, water heaters, or flame producing equipment.
  • Store flammable liquids (gasoline or combustible liquids such as kerosene) only in approved safety-type cans and never inside a house or near an open flame device.
  • Practice good housekeeping.
  • Also follow proper safety procedures when using a fireplace or wood burner.

Home Hardening

This Old House published an article about "Home Hardening" and protecting your home against wildfires.  It discusses direct flame and radiant heat along with tips for creating a safe defensible space around your home by choosing fire resistant materials and addressing potential ignition sources.  

CLICK HERE for the article and to read more on protecting your home.

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