Safety Tips

The Winfield Fire Protection District is dedicated to saving lives and educating the public. Your safety is our concern. As important as responding to emergencies, the Winfield Fire Protection District strives to encourage behaviors and habits that prevent accidents. There are many simple ways in which you can protect the health and well-being of your family, friends, co-workers or neighbors.

Several tips are listed below to inform our community on staying safe:

Babysitting is fun and a good way to earn extra money, but it takes hard work and preparation. Sitters need to be prepared for all type of situations. The more you know, the better the baby sitter you’ll become. A good sitter must know the right thing to do at the right time. We will be discussing some considerations that babysitters need to be aware of as they take on this very important and exciting task.

Know what is expected of you as the sitter. There are certain do’s and don’ts that you should know and remember as a sitter.

  • Before the parents leave, get the names and phone numbers you will need. Have this information written down, along with the address and telephone number of where you are sitting, and place the information where you can quickly and easily get it. In an emergency you might not remember this important information.
  • Have the parent(s) show you around the house or apartment and point out where the items you will need are located such as clothing, playthings, etc.
    Be familiar with the house. Learn all of the exits and know how to unlock doors and windows. Know two ways out of each room, especially the bedroom.
  • All families should have a meeting place outside where everyone gathers after escaping from a fire. Have the parent(s) show you the meeting place so as not to confuse children with a different plan.
  • Discuss the plan and meeting place with the children so that everyone knows where to meet.
  • Talk to the parent(s) to learn the location of a neighbor who will be home. In case of a fire, you will need to call the fire department from this house.

Some of the other topics we will be looking at include: keeping a child safe indoors and outside, being prepared in case of a fire, pool safety, basic first aid, and tips on sitting safety.

Getting the Information
When you are babysitting, get all of the information that you will need before the parents leave. If possible, have the children present during these instructions so that there won’t be any confusion later, and everyone will know what is expected.

  • Learn of any special concerns that might startle you, such as allergies or behaviors like temper tantrums.
  • Know where the children are allowed to play. Some off-limit areas might not be obvious to you.
  • Have the parents explain the rules for watching television. Find out any restrictions.
  • Find out what can be eaten for snacks and when. Be sure to learn about any allergies to food.
  • Some parents allow the children to have friends visit. Discuss their rules regarding friends.
  • Talk about bedtime arrangements. Find out if there is anything special you need to know about sending the children to bed. Determine if the children have a special book that they like to have read to them. If they don’t, this might be an opportunity to develop something special between the children and you.
  • If the children need to receive any medications, get the instructions in writing. These instructions should include the exact amount to be given and the exact time that it should be given. Even if a child asks for any medication, do not give it without first checking with a parent.
  • Check to see that the information listing where a parent can be reached, a neighbor’s telephone number, the fire department (ambulance), and any other number or information that the parent thinks is necessary is placed near the telephone.
  • This is your chance to have your questions answered so that you avoid any mix-ups or misunderstandings. Remember, you need to know the right thing to do at the right time. If you aren’t certain about what is expected, ask.

Keeping a Child Safe
Parents should “childproof” their homes with safety latches on cabinets, placing items out of reach and sight of the child, etc. Just to be safe, you should go through the house with a parent before you begin babysitting to make yourself aware of any dangers to keep the child away from, as well as any dangers to keep away from the child. Remember to look for hazards before there’s a problem.

Keep the Child Away from Danger

  • Plugs and outlets – It’s easy for a curious child to receive an electrical shock.
  • Cords and Strings – Long cords from extension cords or furniture can become tangled around the child’s neck and cut off breathing. This includes items such as toys, pacifiers, ribbons, etc., tied to cribs or playpens. Try to have electrical cords out of the child’s reach so that they cannot pull any objects, such as lamps, onto themselves.
  • Stairs – Use gates, if possible, for any child too young to climb up and down stairs safely. Check to make sure that the child cannot place their heads through any openings in the gate. Also check that the gate cannot collapse or become dislodged if the child leans or pushes against it.
  • Tablecloths – Children love to grab at objects hanging down. Everything on the table can end up on the child’s head.
  • Windows – Be sure windows or screens are locked. A fall from a window can result in a serious injury or death. Do not place anything in front of the window that a child can climb on to reach the window.
  • Electrical appliances – All appliances within the child’s reach should be unplugged or inaccessible.
  • Guns – Make certain that all guns are securely locked up, with the key in a hidden place.

Keep Dangerous Things Away From the Child

  • Knives – Should be stored out of reach.
  • Plastic Bags and Films – These can quickly could off a child’s breathing. Be sure that they are kept where a child cannot reach them.
  • Buttons and Other Small Objects – Can easily choke a child. Watch to see what the child is playing with.
  • Toys – Some toy dangers include small parts, sharp edges, and sharp points. Propelled objects, such as guided missiles and similar flying toys, can be turned into weapons and injure eyes in particular. Check to see that the toy is age appropriate for the child.
  • Aerosols (Sprays) and Detergents – These and other household cleaners are often poisonous. Be sure that the child cannot reach them. Remember that they are not only found under the kitchen sink – check other places in the house. Should the child take any of these items, be sure to call for an ambulance and be prepared to tell the paramedics what and how much of the material was ingested.
  • Medicines – Should be locked up. If this is not possible, be sure they are in a safe place, out of the reach of the child. Remember this also applies to any medications that you may need to give to the child.

Be extra careful with:

  • Matches and lighters – Never smoke while babysitting. Carelessness with these items is the single largest cause of fires in the home. If you find matches, lighters, or other smoking materials, put them up high where children can’t see or reach them. Never let children play with matches or lighters. These items should be thought of as tools, not toys.
  • Cooking – If a parent asks you to cook, use the stove carefully. Clean up any spills as soon as they occur. Keep the pot handles turned to the side or use the back burners so that the handles cannot be grabbed. Never hold a child while cooking. Turn off the stove or oven as soon as you are done. Never leave a burner unattended. Set a timer to remind you to turn everything off. Never put anything into a microwave unless you are absolutely sure that it is safe. Paper, glass, and microwave-proof earthenware are safe. Metals, including aluminum foil, are not. Keep children away from the microwave. Be careful when removing covers from microwave containers; escaping steam can cause burns. Cool all foods sufficiently before serving them to children.
  • Space heater, wood stove, or fireplace – Don’t use these devices unless a parent gives you permission and instructs you on its use. Be sure that anything that can burn – clothes, furniture, draperies, towels, newspapers, etc. – is at least three feet from a heat source. Don’t let a child play too near a heater, as it is often hot enough to cause a serious burn.

Know exactly what to do in case a fire occurs.

  • Locate the windows and doors so that you know at least two exits from every room. Check to see that the exits aren’t blocked and that they open easily. Be certain that everyone knows the family’s special meeting place.
  • Know where the smoke detectors are and what they sound like. Have a parent test them while you’re there.
  • If you smell smoke, hear a smoke detector, or see flames, stay calm. Get everybody out of the house immediately. Don’t wait for any reason. Crawl low under the smoke if necessary. Remember that heat and smoke rise, so the cleaner, cooler air is near the floor. Go first, making sure that the children follow you through the exit. Follow the home fire escape plan, getting everyone quickly outside. Go directly to the special meeting place and count heads to make sure that everyone has escaped.
  • Once the entire group is accounted for, go to a neighbor’s house and call the fire department from there. Give the fire department your name, the complete address of the fire, and information about where you’re calling from. Stay on the phone until you’re told to hang up. Then call the children’s parents.
  • Watch the children carefully while you’re waiting for the fire department. Make certain that no one goes back into the house for any reason. Once you are out, stay out. Keep everyone a safe distance from the fire and out of the firefighter’s way.
  • If flames and smoke are blocking the way to the children’s rooms, go straight to the neighbor’s and call the fire department. Tell them that the children are trapped in the house and where they are located.
  • If your clothing catches fire, Stop, Drop, and Roll. Smother the flames with a heavy blanket or coat or have the person roll on the ground until the fire is extinguished. Babysitters may have to help children do this. Pull the child to the ground, and roll him or her over and over to smother the flames. When you babysit, you are in charge. During an emergency, you must act on your own and right away.

Also, in case of an emergency, be sure to check out the First Aid Safety Tips section

If you have questions or are looking for other information, contact the Winfield Fire Protection District (630) 653-5050.

Burns are one of the most common household injuries, so knowing how to treat burns and when to call for medical assistance is important.

Burn Classifications
Burns fall into three classifications: first-, second-, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns remain on the surface of the skin and tend to appear red. Sunburns are usually first-degree burns. Although first-degree burns can cause great pain, they seldom result in lasting problems or require medical attention.

Second-degree burns probe deeper into the skin and result in blistering or splitting of the skins layers. Very severe sunburns and scalding are common instances of second-degree burns. Like first-degree burns, second-degree burns rarely cause lasting problems or scarring, but the pain can be intense. These burns can be treated at home if they don’t cover a large area on the body (larger than the patients hand).

Third-degree burns destroy all layers of the skin and extend into deeper tissues. These burns are actually painless because the nerve endings have been destroyed. Third-degree burns result in scarring, infection, and fluid loss, and should be seen by a doctor immediately. Skin grafts are often needed to repair these deep burns.

Home Treatment
To treat a burn at home, apply cold water or compress immediately. The cold water or ice eases the pain and reduces the amount of skin damage. Apply the cold for at least five minutes. You can keep cold on the burn for up to an hour to ease the pain, but don’t go longer than an hour because frostbite could occur. If pain subsists, use a pain reliever such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

If the burn has caused blisters, be careful to avoid breaking or puncturing them. Blisters often break on their own, and when they do, allow the overlying skin to remain on the blister. It acts as a wet dressing, keeping the new skin clean and protecting it as it toughens up.

Don’t use anesthetic creams or sprays; they may actually slow healing. Antibiotic creams, such as Bacitracin and Neosporin, neither help nor hinder healing. Its best to keep the burn and blisters clean and allow them to heal on their own.

Chemical Burns
Chemical substances, such as lye and acids, can cause serious burns when in contact with bare skin. Brush any dry chemical substance off the skin and remove contaminated clothing. Wash the burn with large amounts of water and soap. Call the local poison control; there may be an antidote for the substance that caused the burn. If the patient seems to be having trouble breathing, take him or her to the emergency room, as this could indicate a lung injury from inhalation of caustic fumes.

Electrical Burns
Electrical burns often result from small children playing with electrical outlets. If an electrical burn occurs, immediately disconnect the power source and pull the victim away from the source using a dry, non-metallic object such as a broom, rope, chair, or cushion. Don’t use your bare hands. Begin CPR if the person isn’t breathing. All electrical burns should be seen by a physician, so take the victim to the emergency room immediately.

Prevention is always the best medicine, and there are many things you can do to avoid burns in your home. Spend an evening with your family explaining how to avoid burns. Be sure to mention the following:

  • Keep matches out of reach of children and babies.
  • Don’t allow garbage to accumulate.
  • If you’re near a fireplace or stove, don’t wear baggy clothing or long sleeves, which could catch fire.
  • Check electrical cords regularly for loose connections or worn covers.
  • Keep space heaters out of reach of children, and make sure they turn off automatically if toppled or placed against something else.
  • Put fire extinguishers in areas where fire risk is greatest: kitchens, furnace room, near a fireplace or wood stove.
  • Check smoke detectors regularly.
  • Hold fire drills.
  • Keep caustic chemicals in safe containers and away from children.
  • Use sunscreen religiously.
  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke in bed.

Ensuring that your home is safe will dramatically decrease your risk for burns. Even after you teach your family about burn prevention, make sure they know how to treat a burn. You can’t be too prepared.

What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, deadly gas. Because one cannot smell, see, or taste it, carbon monoxide can kill you before you know it is there.

Where does carbon monoxide occur?
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of a fuel burning process. Carbon monoxide can be emitted by gas or oil furnaces, clothes dryers, water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, space heaters. Improper venting or a clogged chimney can also cause problems. Fall and winter months also see many residents warming their cars prior to driving. Often times this is done in the garage or immediately outside the garage with the garage door open. Both these are dangerous practices and can put dangerous even lethal amounts of carbon monoxide inside a home in a matter of minutes.

Who is at risk?
Everyone! CO effects individuals differently depending on their size and medical history. Families with young children or members with medical conditions should take extra precautions in the event that CO is detected.

Where do I place my carbon monoxide detector and what kind do I look for?
Place a carbon monoxide detector near the sleeping area. A second detector should be located near the heating appliance. When purchasing a carbon monoxide detector look for the UL seal. Different types give a visual number that lets you know the exact level of CO in your home. At least one CO detector should be battery powered.

What are the acceptable levels?
Less than 10 PPM: Acceptable limit.
10 or more PPM: Potentially deadly level of CO. Leave the building immediately. Call 9-1-1

What do I do when my CO detector goes into alarm?
Call 9-1-1 or your local fire department.

Should I open my windows if my detector alarms?
No, if your detector alarms it is indicating an unsafe atmosphere and wasting time opening windows could be a deadly decision. Get out, call 9-1-1 and crews will respond with very sensitive equipment that can trace the source.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
CO poisoning symptoms can mimic the flu. Headaches or feeling better when you leave your home are also possible symptoms.

I heard CO detectors have many false alarms?
When CO detectors were first introduced they were adequate but easily alarmed in constant low level areas. In fact in December of 1994, when detectors were still new, the Chicago Fire Department responded to 1,851 false carbon monoxide alarms in a 24 hour period. This was due to a thermal inversion where cold air was trapped under a layer of hot air not allowing pollutants like automobile exhaust, to escape into the atmosphere. After this happened makers of the new detectors took notice and worked to make even better detectors. Today’s detectors have very good systems and some even have digital displays which are very accurate.

What detectors do we recommend?
Many independent agencies have tested and compiled lists of all different makes and models of carbon monoxide detectors. Check to find the best performers and make sure the testing agency is also a qualified, reputable, and non-biased facility.These lists can easily be found on the internet by doing a simple search.

Very cold temperatures, like very hot ones, can be hazardous to your health. Proper dress and some sensible practices can prevent a lot of the problems associated with cold weather. In addition knowing the symptoms of danger and how to treat them can keep problems that do occur from becoming disasters.

The most common hazard in the cold is frostbite. Your body doesn’t get enough heat and the body tissues freeze. Body parts most often affected by frostbite are the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers, and toes.

In very bad cases, frostbite can cause permanent tissue damage and loss of movement in the affected body parts. In the worst cases, you could become unconscious and stop breathing. You could even die of heart failure.

The other cold hazard is hypothermia. That’s what it’s called when you’re exposed to cold so long that your body temperature gets dangerously low. Just like frostbite, the worst case results are unconsciousness and death.

With both cold hazards, you’re more at risk if you’re older, overweight, or have allergies or poor circulation. Other factors that raise the risk are smoking, drinking, and taking medications such as sedatives.

It is very important to know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia so that you can do something before it is too late.

Frostbite can occur from being in a cold area or from touching an object whose temperature is below freezing. In many cases, people don’t have any idea that it’s happening. That’s why you have to be familiar with the symptoms.

Frostbite victims usually start by feeling uncomfortably cold, then numb. Sometimes they also get a tingling or aching feeling or a brief pain. The recommended practice is whenever you feel numbness, take action!

Hypothermia can also take you by surprise because you can get it even when the temperature is above freezing. Windy conditions, physical exhaustion, and wet clothing can all make you prone to hypothermia.

With hypothermia, you first feel cold, then pain in the extremities. You’ll shiver, which is how the body tries to raise the temperature.

Other symptoms include numbness, stiffness (especially in the neck, arms, and legs), poor coordination, drowsiness, slow or irregular breathing and heart rate, slurred speech, cool skin, and puffiness in the face.

As you can see, many of these symptoms are not unusual and could mean different things. But if you’re exposed to very cold conditions, take them seriously and take steps to relieve them.

The best way to deal with cold problems is to prevent them in the first place. The most sensible approach is to limit exposure to cold, especially if it’s windy or damp.

If you know you’re going to be in cold conditions, don’t bathe, smoke, or drink, alcohol just before going out.

  • Dress for conditions in layers of loose, dry clothes. The most effective mix is cotton or wool underneath, with something waterproof on top.
  • Get dried or changed immediately if your clothes do get wet.
  • Be sure to cover hands, feet, face, and head. A hat is critical because you can lose up to 40 percent of your body heat if your head isn’t covered.
  • Keep moving when you’re in the cold.
  • Take regular breaks in warm area. Go where it’s warm any time you start to feel very cold or numb. Drink something warm, as long as it doesn’t contain alcohol or caffeine.

As you know, prevention doesn’t always work. So it’s important to know what to do if you or someone you’re with shows symptoms of cold problems.

The first thing to do is to get where it’s warm. Get out of any frozen, wet, or tight clothing and into warm clothes or blankets. Drink something warm, decaffeinated, and non-alcoholic.

For hypothermia, call 9-1-1 for medical help and keep the person covered with blankets or something similar. Don’t use hot baths, electric blankets, or hot water bottles. Give artificial respiration if necessary and try to keep the person awake and dry.

For frostbite, first be aware of the don’ts:

  • Don’t rub the body part, or apply a heat lamp or hot water bottle.
  • Don’t go near a hot stove.
  • Don’t break any blisters.
  • Don’t drink caffeine.
  • Do warm the frozen body part quickly with sheets and blankets or warm (not hot) water.
  • Once the body part is warm, exercise it-with one exception: Don’t walk on frostbitten feet.

It’s dangerous to underestimate the health hazards you’re exposed to in the cold. But if you take some precautions before you’re exposed and know what symptoms can spell trouble, you substantially reduce your risk.

If in any doubt, Dial 9-1-1

Make sure that your home is electrically safe by checking the items on this list created by the National Electrical Safety Foundation.

Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs, which can overheat and lead to fire. Replace any broken or missing wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.

Make sure cords are in good condition- not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall, baseboard, or to another object. Do not place cords under carpets or rugs or rest any furniture on them.

Extension Cords
Check to see that cords are not overloaded. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not intended as permanent household wiring. Make sure extension cords have safety closures to help prevent young children from shock hazards and mouth burn injuries.

Make sure your plugs fit your outlets. Never remove the ground pin (the third prong) to make a three-prong fit a two-conductor outlet; this could lead to an electrical shock. NEVER FORCE A PLUG INTO AN OUTLET IF IT DOESN’T FIT. Plugs should fit securely into outlets. Avoid overloading outlets with too many appliances.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs)
GFCIs can help prevent electrocution. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. When a GFCI senses current leakage in an electrical circuit, it assumes a ground fault has occurred. It then interrupts power fast enough to help prevent serious injury from electrical shock. Test GFCIs regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure they are working properly.

Light Bulbs
Check the wattage of all bulbs in light fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended; if you don’t know the correct wattage, check with the manufacturer of the fixture. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.

Circuit Breakers/Fuses
Circuit Breakers and fuses should be the correct size current rating for their circuit. If you do not know the correct size, have an electrician identify and label the size to be used. Always replace a fuse with the same size fuse.

Water and Electricity Don’t Mix
Don’t leave plugged-in appliances where they might fall in contact with water. If a plugged-in appliance falls into water, NEVER reach in to pull it out – even if it’s turned off. First turn off the power source at the panel board and then unplug the appliance. If you have an appliance that has gotten wet, don’t use it until it has been checked by a qualified repair person.

If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker, or if it has given you a shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.

Entertainment/Computer Equipment
Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs, and connectors. Use a surge protector bearing the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency.

Outdoor Safety
Electric-powered mowers and other tools should not be used in the rain, on wet grass or in wet conditions. Inspect power tools and electric lawn mowers before each use for frayed power cords, broken plugs, and cracked or broken housings. If damaged, stop using it immediately. Repair it or replace it. Always use an extension cord marked for outdoor use and rated for the power needs of your tools. Remember to unplug all portable power tools when not in use. Since metal ladders conduct electricity, watch out for overhead wires and power lines.

During an electrical storm, do not use appliances (i.e., hairdryers, toasters, and radios) or telephones (except in an emergency); do not take a bath or shower; keep batteries on hand for flashlights and radios in case of a power outage; and use surge protectors on electronic devices and appliances.

Space Heaters
Space Heaters are meant to supply supplemental heat. Keep space heaters at least 3 ft. away from any combustible materials such as bedding, clothing, draperies, furniture, and rugs. Don’t use in rooms where children are unsupervised and remember to turn off and unplug when not in use.

Halogen Floor Lamps
Halogen floor lamps operate at much higher temperatures than a standard incandescent light bulb. Never place a halogen floor lamp where it could come in contact with draperies, clothing, or other combustible materials. Be sure to turn the lamp off whenever you leave the room for an extended period of time and never use torchiere lamps in children’s bedrooms or playrooms.

In case of a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1 immediately. The following are provided to give you some basic knowledge of first aid in the case of an accident in or around the home and to provide immediate first aid prior to the arrival of the ambulance.

First Aid Kit
Every home should have a first aid kit. Whether you buy a first aid kit or put one together yourself, make sure it has all the items you may need. A first aid kit should contain:

  • Flashlight and batteries – in case the power goes out in your home.
  • Tweezers and scissors – to remove splinters and to cut tape and gauze.
  • Emergency blanket – to wrap victim to minimize shock.
  • Triangular bandages – to hold dressings or splints in place.
  • Antiseptic towelettes – to clean cuts and scrapes and rescuers’ hands.
  • Adhesive bandages in assorted sizes.
  • Sterile gauze pads – to place over wounds.
  • Elastic bandages – to secure a splint, bandage or apply compression.
  • Adhesive tape – to secure bandages or splints.
  • Antiseptic ointment – to prevent infection in cuts, scrapes, and minor burns.
  • Latex/nitrile gloves – to protect against disease transmission.
  • Plastic bags – for an ice pack.
  • Instant cold pack – for reducing pain and swelling.
  • Syrup of ipecac – to induce vomiting in case of poison ingestion.
  • Activated charcoal – to absorb and neutralize ingested poisons.
  • Emergency numbers – poison control center, etc.

Minor Cuts

  • Cleanse the wound and dry the area thoroughly.
  • Apply a sterile bandage over the wound.
  • Change the bandage if it becomes wet or dirty.
  • An elastic bandage, also called a pressure bandage, can also be used to control bleeding.
  • To apply an elastic bandage: Secure the bandage over the dressing. Use overlapping turns to cover the dressing completely. Tie or tape the bandage in place. Check the fingers for warmth, color and feeling.

Nose Bleeds

  • Have the person with the nosebleed sit down and lean forward to keep them from swallowing any blood (this could upset the stomach).
  • Keeping continual pressure, have the person pinch their nostrils together for about ten minutes.
  • Keep the person quiet. If a person is nervous, the nosebleed might get worse.
  • Apply ice over the nose. Cooling is helpful in controlling someone’s bleeding.


  • Cleanse affected area and dry thoroughly.
  • Cover the wound with a sterile, non-stick pad applied with first aid tape or apply a transparent, microthin dressing. If the pad or dressing is being used over a joint, bend the joint during application.
  • Observe condition of wound daily for signs of healing.
  • If you suspect infection, consult your physician.

Bones & Joints Injuries
Suspect that a person might have a broken bone, due to the signs and symptoms of the person injured or the manner in which they were injured. Fractures (Broken Bones) – a break in the continuity of the bone. These may be closed (no open wound) or open (an open wound).

  • Signs & Symptoms – deformity, pain, swelling and discoloration, loss of function (cannot move the limb), grating sound on moving the limb, or exposed bone ends. Dislocation – displacement of a bone end from its joint surface.
  • Signs & Symptoms – pain or feeling of pressure, loss of movement of the joint, deformity, and numbness or tingling.
  • Sprains – injuries in which ligaments are partially torn. These usually happen when a joint is suddenly twisted beyond its normal range.
  • Strains – an overstretching of muscles and tendons.
  • Signs & Symptoms – pain, swelling, discoloration, usually do not cause deformity.
    • Remove clothing from around the suspected injury.
    • If an open fracture (a break in the skin), clean away the debris. Cover with a sterile dressing.
    • Splint in the position found.
    • Do not attempt to push bone ends back into the wound or straighten the extremity.
    • Get medical help.

Minor Burns

  • Stop the source of the burn.
  • Cool the burn under cool water until the pain subsides.
  • Gently blot dry with sterile gauze or a clean cloth.
  • Apply an antiseptic spray or ointment, if desired.
  • Cover loosely with a dry, clean dressing or transparent, microthin bandage. Change the dressing as needed.
  • Observe the condition of the wound daily for signs of healing.

    Note: For more serious burns (skin becomes white or charred), do not apply water, antiseptic sprays, ointments, or home remedies. Call 9-1-1.


  • Do not break the blister – if blister is open or broken, cleanse and remove all dirt from the area, then dry thoroughly.
  • Cover the blister with an adhesive bandage to cushion and protect it, or apply a transparent, microthin bandage over the blister and cushion around the blister with a foam pad.
  • If the dressing is being used over a joint, bend the joint during application.
  • Observe condition of wound daily for signs of healing. If you suspect infection, consult your physician.

Chemical Burns
These can be caused from any toxic substance that comes in contact with the skin. These can include bleach, paint removers, and various household cleaners.

  • Remove the chemical from the skin as quickly as possible using lots of water (unless contraindicated). Read the safety precautions on the chemical’s container. (Remember to always keep the chemical in its original container.)
  • Remove the person’s contaminated clothing if possible.
  • If it is a powdered/dry chemical like lye, brush off as much as possible before using the water.
  • Avoid getting any of the chemicals on yourself.
  • Get help as soon as possible.

Electrical Burns
These can injure a person on the inside as well as the outside.

  • Do not go near the person until you are sure that the electrical source is turned off.
  • Call for help immediately.
  • Check the person for entrance and exit wound. Cover these with dry sterile dressings.
  • Watch the person to make certain that they are breathing and that they have a pulse. Make them as comfortable as possible.

Closed Wound
A closed wound, such as a bruise, usually does not need special medical care. You can use direct pressure on the area to cut down bleeding under the skin. Raising the injured part also will help reduce swelling. Apply cold pack to help control pain and swelling.


  • Clean a needle or tweezers with rubbing alcohol and cleanse the skin area of the splinter.
  • Remove the splinter with the clean needle or tweezers. CAUTION: Foreign objects/splinters that are deeply embedded below the skin should be left for removal by a physician. If you suspect infection, consult your physician.
  • After splinter removal, thoroughly cleanse the affected area using firm pressure and small circular motions. Dry the wound area with sterile gauze, a clean cloth or cotton pad.
  • Bandage the wound using a spot bandage.


  • Clean the injured area.
  • If the skin is broken, apply a sterile bandage.
  • Elevate the injury to help reduce the swelling.
  • Apply a cold pack to the injured area. The cold pack may be secured to the injury with an elasticized bandage. Do not wrap too tightly. If wrap feels uncomfortable or tight, remove and wrap again.
  • Compressing the pack and wrap on the injury will help minimize swelling. Remove the cold pack after 20 minutes.
  • Reapply the elastic bandage and elevate the injured area again.
  • Reapply cold pack regularly (waiting at least 20 minutes between applications) for up to 48 hours after the injury. If swelling and/or pain has not improved, consult your physician.

Bites And Stings

Insect Bite
Signals may include a visible stinger, pain, swelling and/or possible allergic reaction. To care for an insect bite:

  • Remove stinger by scraping with a credit care or fingernail.
  • Wash wound.
  • Cover.
  • Apply a cold pack.
  • Watch for signals of allergic reaction such as breathing difficulty.
  • Call 9-1-1 or local emergency number if an allergic reaction occurs.

    Spider Bite
    Signals include a bite make, swelling, pain, nausea and vomiting, difficulty breathing or swallowing. To care for a spider bite:

  • Wash wound.
  • Apply a cold pack.
  • Call 9-1-1 or local emergency number for medical care if necessary (e.g., allergic reaction).

    Tick Bite
    Signals include a bull’s-eye, spotted, or black and blue rash around bite or on other body parts, fever and chills, flu like aches. To care for a tick bite:

  • Remove tick carefully with tweezers. Do not squeeze the tick’s body.
  • Wash wound.
  • Apply antiseptic and antibiotic ointment to wound.
  • Watch for signs of infection.
  • Get medical attention if necessary (e.g., if rash or flue like symptoms appear or if you cannot remove the tick).
  • Do not try to burn the tick off.
  • Do not apply petroleum jelly or nail polish to the tick.

    Snake Bite
    Signals include a bite mark and/or pain in affected area. To care for a snake bite:

  • Wash wound.
  • Keep bitten part still and lower than hear.
  • Call 9-1-1 or local emergency number.
  • Do not apply ice or tourniquet. Do not cut the wound.

    Animal Bites
    Signals include bite mark and/or bleeding. To care for an animal bite:

  • Wash wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Control bleeding.
  • Apply antibiotic ointment.
  • Cover with gauze bandage and first aid tape or adhesive bandage.
  • Call 9-1-1 or local emergency number, or get medical attention if wound bleeds severely or if you suspect the animal has rabies.
  • Report the incident to local animal control or police officer.

Poisonous Plants

Millions of people each year suffer from contact with poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac. To care for someone who has come in contact with a poison plant:

  • Immediately wash affected area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • If rash or weeping sore develops, apply a paste of baking soda and water on the area several times a day.
  • A lotion such as calamine or Caladryl may help soothe the area.
  • An antihistamine, such as Benadryl, may also help dry up the sores.
  • If condition persists or worsens, seek medical attention.
  • Call 9-1-1 or local emergency number if there are signals of a serious condition.

Be it gasoline, barbecue fuel, paint or paint thinner, CAUTION is the word to live by. Flammable liquids are as common as most other commodities we use daily around our homes. So common, in fact, we often forget their potential to cause serious injury or loss of life. Oftentimes in our complacency, we treat flammable liquids as if they were no more harmless than the water we drink.

When the vapors of a flammable liquid do ignite, they often do so with explosive force. This can lead to serious injury of a victim’s face and eyes and often results in clothing catching fire.

  1. Store flammable liquids in an approved container specifically designed for such liquids. Metal containers are best. Do not use glass containers. If plastic is your choice, make certain it is a type approved for such use.
  2. Store flammable liquids in a well-ventilated area, separate from the living portion of the home – preferably in a storage building apart from the house. Keep all hazardous products locked up and out of the reach of children.
  3. Read the labels on all flammable liquid containers and observe the precautions as indicated.
  4. Make certain all flammable liquids are kept well away from ignition or flame sources. Be aware of spark producing equipment such as pilot lights, cigarettes, matches or lighters. Remember that many flammable liquid vapors can be ignited by a distant flame or spark.
  5. Never carry gasoline in the trunk of a car. If your car is hit from the rear by another car, there can be a fatal explosion.
  6. Re-fuel gas-powered equipment outdoors and only after the equipment has cooled down (lawn mowers, tillers, etc.).
  7. Always use flammable liquids in a well-ventilated area to prevent a concentration of their highly flammable and often toxic vapors.


  • Plan costumes that are bright and reflective. Make sure that shoes fit well and that costumes are short enough to prevent tripping, entanglement or contact with flame.
  • Consider adding reflective tape or striping to costumes and Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility.
  • Secure emergency identification (name, address, phone number) discreetly within Halloween attire or on a bracelet.
  • Because masks can limit or block eyesight, consider non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives.
  • When shopping for costumes, wigs and accessories, look for and purchase only those with a label clearly indicating they are flame resistant.
  • Think twice before using simulated knives, guns or swords. If such props must be used, be certain they do not appear authentic and are soft and flexible to prevent injury.
  • Obtain flashlights with fresh batteries for all children and their escorts.
  • Plan ahead to use only battery powered lanterns or chemical lightsticks in place of candles in decorations and costumes.
  • This is also a great time to buy fresh batteries for your home’s Smoke Alarms.
  • Teach children to how call 9-1-1 (or their local emergency number) if they have an emergency or become lost. Remind them that 9-1-1 can be dialed free at any payphone.
  • Review with your children the principle of “Stop-Drop-Roll”, should their clothes catch on fire.
  • Openly discuss appropriate and inappropriate behavior at Halloween time.
  • Consider purchasing individually packaged healthy food alternatives (or safe non-food treats) for those who visit your home.
  • Take extra effort to eliminate tripping or other hazards on your porch and around your property.
  • Learn or review CPR skills to aid someone who is choking or having a heart attack.
  • Consider safe party guidelines when hosting an Adult or Office Party.


  • A good meal prior to parties and trick-or-treating will discourage youngsters from filling up on Halloween treats.
  • Consider fire safety when decorating. Do not overload electrical outlets with holiday lighting or special effects.
  • Always keep Jack O’ Lanterns away from drapes, decorations, flammable materials or areas where children will be standing or walking.
  • Plan and review with your children the route and behavior which is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when revelers must return home.
  • Along with flashlights for all, older children and escorts should carry coins for non-emergency phone calls.
  • Confine, segregate or otherwise prepare household pets for an evening of frightful sights and sounds. Be sure that all dogs and cats are wearing collars and proper identification tags. Consult your veterinarian for further advice.
  • Remind all household drivers to remain cautious and drive slowly throughout the community.
  • Adult partygoers should establish a designated driver.


  • A Parent or responsible Adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds.
  • Remind Trick-or Treaters:
  • By using a flashlight, they can see and be seen by others.
  • Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going.
  • Only go to homes with porch lights on.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk.
  • If no sidewalk is available, walk at the farthest edge of the roadway facing traffic.
  • Never cut across yards or use alleys.
  • Never enter a stranger’s home or car for a treat.
  • Obey all traffic and pedestrian regulations.
  • Always walk. Never run across a street.
  • Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom).
  • Remove any mask or item that will limit eyesight before crossing a street, driveway or alley.
  • Don’t assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn’t mean others will!
  • Never consume food items or drinks that may be offered.
  • No treats are to be eaten until they are thoroughly checked by an Adult at home.
  • Law Enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity.


  • Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible Adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.
  • Try to apportion treats for the days following Halloween.
  • Although sharing is encouraged, make sure items that can cause choking (such as hard candies), are given only to those of an appropriate age.
  • Are fuel-burning space heaters and appliances properly installed and used?
  • Are all space heaters placed away from traffic? Are children and elderly persons cautioned to keep their clothing away?
  • Has the family been cautioned not to use flammable liquids, like gasoline, to start or freshen a fire (or for cleaning purposes)?
  • Is the fireplace equipped with a metal fire screen or heat-tempered glass doors?
  • Since portable gas and oil heaters in fire places use up oxygen as they burn, do you provide proper ventilation when they are in use?
  • Are proper clearances provided between space heaters and curtains, bedding, furniture?
  • Do you stop members of your household from smoking in bed?
  • Do you check up after others to see that no cigarette butts are lodged in upholstered furniture where they can smolder unseen at night?
  • Are matches and lighters kept away from small children?
  • Do you dispose of smoking materials carefully (not in waste baskets) and keep large, safe ashtrays wherever people smoke?
  • Are all electrical cords out in the open – not run under rugs, over hooks, or through door openings? Are they checked routinely for wear?
  • Is the right size fuse in each socket in the fuse box and do you replace a fuse with one the same size?
  • Children get burned climbing on the stove to reach an item overhead. Do you store cookies, cereal, or other “bait,” away from the stove?
  • Do you keep your basement, closets, garage, and yard clear of combustibles like papers, cartons, old furniture, or old rags?
  • Are gasoline and other flammable liquids stored in safety cans (never glass jugs, discarded bleach bottles, or other makeshift containers) and away from heat, sparks, and children?
  • Is paint kept in tightly-closed metal containers?
  • Are furnace, stove, and smoke pipes far enough from combustible walls and ceilings, and in good repair
  • Is your heating equipment checked yearly by a serviceman?
  • Is the chimney cleaned and checked regularly?
  • For safety against chimney and other sparks, is the roof covering fire retardant?
  • Do you have a qualified electrician install or extend your wiring?
  • Do all your appliances carry the seal of a testing laboratory?
  • Are there enough electrical outlets in every room and special circuits for heavy-duty appliances such as space heaters and air conditioners.

Replace or clean your furnace filter. You should replace or clean your furnace filter(s) three or four times yearly. This is a quick, easy job every homeowner or tenant can do. A new filter makes your furnace more energy-efficient and saves money, too.

A furnace that is not running at peak performance can be deadly. Carbon Monoxide is a natural product of incomplete combustion. Virtually every gas furnace produces some Carbon Monoxide, which is usually carried away from your home through the furnace’s venting. A clean, efficiently burning gas furnace produces very small amounts of carbon monoxide, while a dirty, inefficiently burning one can produce deadly amounts. Carbon Monoxide is odorless and colorless. It causes flu-like symptoms, disorientation, confusion, and even death.

It is highly recommended that you have your furnace cleaned and checked every year. The older the furnace, the more important this service is. Newer gas furnaces are equipped with many features that shut the furnace off when a problem is detected. Older furnaces have no such devices. Over time, furnaces can develop small cracks in the combustion chamber. These cracks may not be visible to the naked eye. It is through these cracks that Carbon Monoxide can leak into your home.

It is also important to change your furnace filter regularly. The filter usually is found just inside the front cover of the furnace. It may have its own access door on the front of the furnace. A clean filter will help your furnace burn more efficiently, and will help keep dust from being circulated through your home.

  • Keep the area around your furnace clean and unobstructed.
  • Keep the burner area of your furnace clean.
  • Furnaces that require lubrication on the motors and bearings should be attended to by a qualified heating technician once a year.
  • Do not have anything combustible within six inches of your vent pipe.
  • Do not close off more than 20% of the registers in your house. This can cause high resistance and unnecessary heat build up in the furnace.
  • Do not store combustible material such as paint thinners, gasoline, etc. near your furnace.

How to Tell When Your Furnace Is Not Feeling Well

Scale: Flakes of rust, produced by the by-products of burning gas (carbon dioxide and water vapor). Scale may fall on the burners and impede gas flow. Over time, it can damage your furnace by harboring moisture, thereby fostering rust on a large scale.
The solution: Your service technician can take out the burners and clean them. You can clean out excess rust flakes that fall to the bottom of the furnace housing.

Grinding, chattering sounds from relays: (signifying electrical problems), a burner that huffs and puffs, banging (delayed ignition), or clunking and bumping (cracked belt passing over pulleys)?
The solution: A good rule of thumb: if it’s an unusual noise, it’s a problem. Call your service technician.

Carbon Monoxide: It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless, and it can kill you if it’s concentrated enough. It is caused by a lack of oxygen or a disruption of the fuel-burning process.
The solutions: Your furnace breathes, just like you. Provide adequate ventilation to the unit and consider installing a fresh-air (combustion) intake. Use carbon monoxide detectors, combined with routine maintenance checks by qualified service technicians (mark them on your calendar).

Yellow Flame: That flame should be sharp and blue, clean and stable, burning as purely as possible. A yellow flame indicates dirt in the burner, which prevents it from mixing the gas and air properly.
The solution: Call your technician to thoroughly test the system and clean it.

Dusty Smell: You turn up the thermostat and within minutes, your home is filled with a dry, dusty smell.
The solutions:

  1. Don’t worry; it’s just burning the dust out of the combustion chamber. Change your filter .
  2. If it’s a constant odor, call your technician.
  3. If it smells like gas, call your utility company or the fire department and stay outside until no danger has been confirmed.

Backdrafting/Negative Pressure: Negative pressure results when you take air out of the house by using oxygen faster than air can enter the house. Backdrafting is a natural consequence of negative pressure; air rushes into the house through the chimney, effectively choking off the natural process of venting.
The solution: Run a combustible air duct to the unit from the outside.

Beware of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
A clean, efficiently running gas furnace provides safe, economical heat. A gas furnace that is not running at peak performance can be deadly. Carbon Monoxide is a natural product of incomplete combustion. That includes wood, kerosene, gasoline, oil, propane, or natural gas. Virtually every gas furnace produces some Carbon Monoxide, which is usually carried away from your home through the furnace’s venting. A clean, efficiently burning gas furnace produces very small amounts of carbon monoxide, while a dirty, inefficiently burning one can produce deadly amounts.

CO is a toxic, tasteless, colorless, and odorless gas. Even small amounts can cause severe illness and even death. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, faintness, drowsiness, pain in the ears, or seeing spots. Many people often mistake CO symptoms for the flu. If you or any of your family members are experiencing flu-like symptoms that seem to disappear when you leave your home, have your furnace checked immediately. If you suspect a carbon monoxide problem, open the windows, leave the home at once, and call the fire department by dialing 9-1-1.

Fireplace Safety

  • Have your chimney inspected annually for damage and obstructions.
  • Clean the chimney regularly to avoid buildup, also known as creosote, that could ignite your roof.
  • Be sure to use a screen in front of your fireplace large enough to catch rolling logs or sparks.
  • Don’t use flammable liquids to start the fire.
  • Don’t use excessive amounts of paper to build a fire. It’s possible to ignite soot in the chimney by over-building the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal in your fireplace. Burning charcoal gives off deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Be sure no flammable materials hang down from or decorate your mantel. A spark from your fireplace could ignite these materials and cause a fire.
  • Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper can help hot ashes build up heat, causing the fire to flare up and ignite your room.
  • Store cool ashes in a tightly sealed metal container.

Electric Space Heaters

  • The heater should be listed by UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory). It should be equipped with a safety light, loud alarm, a switch that automatically shuts the heater off if it tips and a cut-off device in case of overheating.
  • Space heaters must have space. Keep all objects, pets and people at least three feet away from the heater at all times.
  • Don’t use space heaters in your bathrooms. Do not touch a space heater if you are wet.
  • Never try to repair the heater yourself.


Fireplace or Wood Burning Stove
Remove all obstructions from the fireplace and flue before you start a fire. Burn only well seasoned wood. Do not start a fire with highly combustible fuels such as lighter fluid or gasoline. Charcoal and other coal products can give off toxic fumes and should not be used. Remember to also have proper ventilation because the fire is using up oxygen. Always use a fireplace screen to keep sparks from flying into the room. And keep the damper open when a fire is burning, as well as when a fire is dying out.

Stay Elsewhere
If your heating equipment will be out of service for an extended period of time, you might want to consider staying with family or friends or in a hotel/motel, particularly if there are infants or elderly people in your household. Find a friend to take your pets in and care for them.

Never Use Your Gas Oven for Heating
Prolonged use of the open oven in a closed house burns oxygen, thereby causing improper combustion of gas, which creates a lethal carbon monoxide gas.

Here are a few ice safety tips that winter sports enthusiasts should keep in mind before venturing out on a frozen lake.

  • 4″ of new clear ice is the minimum thickness for travel on foot.
  • 5″ is minimum for snowmobiles and ATVs.
  • 8″- 12″ for cars or small trucks.

Remember these are merely guidelines and that many factors other than thickness can cause ice to be unsafe.

Check for known thin ice areas with a local resort or bait shop. Test the thickness yourself using an ice chisel or even a cordless 1/4 inch drill with a 6 inch or longer bit.

Don’t “overdrive” your snowmobile’s headlight. At even 30 miles per hour, it can take a much longer distance to stop on ice than your headlight shines. Many fatal snowmobile through-the-ice accidents occur because the machine was traveling too fast for the operator to stop when the headlamp illuminated the hole in the ice.

Wear a life vest under your winter gear or one of the new flotation snowmobile suits. And it’s a good idea to carry a pair of ice picks that may be purchased from most well stocked sporting goods stores. It’s amazing how difficult it can be to pull yourself back onto the surface of unbroken but wet and slippery ice with a snowmobile suit weighted down with 60 lbs of water. The ice picks really help pulling yourself back onto solid ice. CAUTION: Do NOT wear a flotation device when traveling across the ice in an enclosed vehicle!

What should you do if a companion falls through thin ice?

  1. Keep calm and think out a solution.
  2. Don’t run up to the hole. You’ll probably break through and then there will be two victims.
  3. Use some item on shore to throw or extend to the victim to pull them out of the water such as jumper cables or skis, or push a boat ahead of you.
  4. If you can’t rescue the victim immediately, call 9-1-1. It’s amazing how many people carry cell phones.
  5. Get medical assistance for the victim. People subjected to cold water but seem fine after being rescued can suffer a potentially fatal condition called “after drop. ” That may occur when cold blood that is pooled in the body’s extremities starts to circulate again as the victim starts to rewarm.

What if YOU fall in?

  1. Try not to panic.
  2. Remain calm and turn toward the direction you came from.
  3. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface of the ice (here’s where the ice picks come in handy.)
  4. Work forward on the ice by kicking your feet. If the ice breaks, maintain your position and slide forward again. Once you are lying on the ice, don’t stand. Instead, roll away from the hole. That spreads out your weight until you are on solid ice. This sounds much easier than it is to do.

The best advice is don’t put yourself into needless danger by venturing out too soon or too late in the season. No angler, no matter how big of a fishing enthusiast, would want to die for a fish.

National statistics show that on the average, every person will experience two kitchen fires in their lifetime. Hopefully, you will avoid a fire in your kitchen.

Those of you who are prepared and know how to respond to this kind of an emergency can minimize damage. When a kitchen fire strikes, know what to do!

The most common kitchen fire starts in a pan on top of the stove. When it happens, don’t try to move it. In doing so, you will only increase the chances of spreading the flames.

How to Extinguish

  • Try to extinguish the fire in the pan by slowly sliding the lid over the pan. Don’t try to throw the lid on from a distance or place the lid directly on the pan.
  • By sliding the lid on the top of the pan, you cut off the oxygen to the fire and fire will die.
  • Once this has been done, turn the burner off to remove the heat source. Caution: under no circumstances should you attempt to put out a fire in a pan on the stove by using water. Doing so will only increase the intensity of the fire, causing possible injury to yourself or spreading flame to other portions of the room.

Fire in an Oven
If a fire starts in the oven, closing the oven door will cut off the oxygen in most cases and smother the fire. Again, turn off the oven to remove the heat source and keep the oven door closed.

Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishes are a vital element to be utilized in the kitchen. If you don’t have a lid that fits the pan or if the fire is too intense to get close, you must use a fire extinguisher. Most kitchen fires can be put out quickly if an adequate home fire extinguisher is available and used correctly.

Have the proper fire extinguisher and store it correctly.

It is important to store the fire extinguisher away from the stove so it can be easily available if a fire occurs. Keep it on a wall in the laundry room or garage. Don’t hang it over the stove or other potential fire areas. Your home fire extinguisher should be approved for a B-type and C-type fire and weigh no less than five pounds. (B-type fires involve flammable liquids such as grease and C-type fires involve electrical appliances.)

Know How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher

  1. Be within effective range.
  2. Pull the release pin on the fire extinguisher.
  3. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  4. Using a sweeping pattern, move the extinguisher back and forth.

Don’t Waste Time
If the fire extinguisher does not put out the fire or if one is not available, you should alert the fire department immediately by calling 9-1-1 (or the emergency response phone number in your area, if different).

Get Out
After you have contacted the fire department, make sure that everyone is out of the house. Gather everyone out front until the fire department arrives. Remember, once out, stay out.

Common Sense Rules to Remember
Proper clothing: kitchen fires can ignite your clothing when you’re working around the stove. Long, frilly or loose-fitting sleeves are likely to come in contact with the hot surface and catch fire. You should always wear short sleeves when working around a hot stove.

Never leave the area unattended while cooking (frying) in an open pan on the stove or while broiling.

Maintenance: regular cleaning of the stove, hood, and vent system is also important. Most range hoods should be cleaned with a degreaser or household detergent. Vent filters can be cleaned in a dishwasher. This maintenance should be conducted once a week or as needed, depending on how much your stove is used.

Strong odor
If you ever smell a strong, persistent gas odor:

  • Put out all open flames.
  • Don’t smoke or light any matches.
  • Don’t touch any electrical light or appliance switches.
  • Don’t use your phone because it may cause a spark.
  • Leave the house and call 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s home, away from the gas odor. As you leave, open doors and windows if you can do so quickly and easily. Because natural gas is lighter than air, it rises and will dissipate rapidly where it can escape into the open air.
  • Stay away from your house until you’ve been told that it is safe to return.

If there’s a major leak, such as one caused by excavators or a vehicle damaging a gas line:

  • Notify the fire department by calling 9-1-1.
  • Warn others to stay away from the area of the apparent leak.

Faint odor
A faint natural gas odor coming from an appliance could mean its pilot light has gone out or a burner valve has been left slightly open. It’s easy to correct these problems. But if the odor is strong and hard to trace, be sure to call the fire department at 9-1-1.

Older furnaces and appliances might have manual pilot lights that can be lit again, but newer models have electronic ignitions that are powered by electrical sources.

If the pilot light is out

  • Read the manufacturer’s instructions so you know what type of ignition is on the furnace or appliance.
  • Check the instructions and follow them exactly.
  • Don’t try any measures not mentioned in the owner’s manual.
  • If you aren’t sure what to do, do not try any remedies on your own.
  • Call a qualified service technician or your gas company.

Before you dig
Illinois law requires all persons digging, regardless of the depth of the project, to call JULIE at 1-800-892-0123 at least 48 hours (two working days) prior to the start of excavation and to begin that excavation project within 14 calendar days from calling JULIE. (The 48 hour notice does not include Saturdays, Sundays or holidays.) Failure to contact JULIE prior to excavation in accordance with the law can carry penalties from $200 up to $5,000 for each separate offense. The Illinois Commerce Commission is the enforcement body for the law, not JULIE. For more information visit their website at

Avoid problems in winter

  • Clear ice and snow around electric and gas meters. Even indoor gas meters are vented outside.
  • Clearing the snow also helps meter readers do their jobs more accurately and efficiently.
  • Keep snow cleared from your high-efficiency gas furnace vent so the furnace will operate properly.
  • A blocked vent could cause a safety switch to turn off your furnace.

Handle with Care
One of the great pleasures of summer is eating and cooking outdoors with family and friends. The popularity of this activity is attested to by the great number and variety of outdoor grills or “barbecues” sold each year.

Such grills can be fun to cook on and provide delicious food, but they can also be dangerous. None of them are foolproof, and all should be handled with care.

Don’t be tempted by a rainy day to use outdoor cooking equipment inside – not even in a garage or on a porch or balcony.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), when used to fire a home barbecue, is contained under pressure in a steel cylinder. The content of an LPG cylinder, vaporized and in a confined area, has the explosive force of several sticks of dynamite. Therefore, the wise user of LPG will be aware of the dangers involved and take the necessary precautions to avoid accidents.

No LPG burner should ever be ignited until the following steps are taken:

  1. Read the manufacturer’s instructions and be sure you thoroughly understand them.
  2. Do not transport LPG cylinders in the trunk of a passenger vehicle. A filled cylinder should always be transported in an upright position on the floor of a vehicle with all windows open. Remove the cylinder from the vehicle as soon as possible.
  3. Never leave a cylinder in a parked vehicle.
  4. Use the proper size wrench to make sure that all connections are tight. Remember: fittings on flammable gas cylinders have left-handed threads, requiring effort in a counterclockwise direction to tighten. To make sure that connections are tight, apply a soapy solution to detect leaks. If any bubbles are produced, the connections must be tightened further.
  5. Make sure that grease is not allowed to drip on the hose or cylinders.
  6. Never let children use a gas-fired barbecue.
  7. Never use a gas-fired barbecue inside any structure.
  8. Never store any LPG cylinder – either attached to the barbecue or as spare cylinders – inside any part of a structure, including porches and balconies.
  9. Store cylinders, including those attached to barbecues, outdoors in a shaded cool area out of direct sunlight.

Although charcoal may sound less dangerous than LP gas, it is just as necessary to take precautions in using charcoal burners.

  1. Never use charcoal barbecues in an enclosed space. Burning charcoal emits carbon monoxide gas, which – even in small quantities – can cause injury or death.
  2. Once a fire has been started, never add starter fluid. Fire may follow the stream of fluid back to the container, causing an explosion and scattering flaming liquid.
  3. Use great caution in disposing of the ashes. Ashes may contain live coals which can start a fire if not disposed of properly. The safest method is to wet ashes thoroughly with water before emptying the barbecue.

When do most home fires start?
Between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m., just when you are asleep – and least prepared!

Where do most home fires start?
In this order: a) living room, b) kitchen, c) basement, d) bedrooms, e) all others. This means that most fires start just where they are likely to block your usual escape (from bedrooms).

Fire Escape Planning
Draw a floor plan of your ground or upper floor bedrooms – with two escape routes from each room:

Step 1 (Basic Floor Layout):

  1. Make an outline of your entire floor area; dimensions and details need not be exact.
  2. Now add each bedroom and label it.
  3. Locate windows, doors and stairways. If an upper floor, shade in any rooftops that could be used as a fire escape.

Step 2 (Room Inspection):

  1. Go to each bedroom and select the best window for an emergency escape.
  2. Test the windows or screens to see that they work easily and are large and low enough to use.

Step 3 (Complete “Escape Plan:):

  1. Black arrows show normal exit through hall or stairway.
  2. Outline arrows show emergency exit in case fire blocks hallway or stairs.

Family Instructions
Gather your family together for a short explanation of the vital nighttime fire escape procedures.

Point 1
Always sleep with the bedroom or hall door closed. It can keep out fire long enough to allow escape through your emergency escape route (usually a window).

Point 2
Make certain that a smoke detector is installed and operating properly in the hallway outside bedrooms. Fire safety officials are now recommending the placement of smoke detectors inside bedrooms where the door is kept closed at night. This is to protect against the advent of fire starting inside the bedroom.

Point 3
Don’t waste time getting dressed or gathering valuables. Precious seconds can count in a fire.

Point 4
Test the door before opening. Intense heat and deadly smoke can be on the other side.

Point 5
Have an outside meeting place to quickly check if everyone is safe. Once out – STAY OUT!

Point 6
Plan to use a neighbor’s phone to dial 9-1-1.

Conducting Your Fire Escape Drill

  1. Everyone is in his/her bedroom (doors closed).
  2. Test your smoke detector to sound the alarm.
  3. Everyone swings into action – out of bed, to the door.
  4. Carefully test door before opening.
  • First Drill: Escape through normal exit (hall or stairway).
  • Second Drill: Imagine doors are hot and the hall is blocked by fire. Now everyone must test their emergency escape exit. Depending on age and capability, you need not actually go out on the roof, but be sure everyone can open windows and screens easily. Position an emergency escape ladder quickly, etc.

Every year, thousands of people are terrified by the presence of the most powerful and destructive force on the planet. Fortunately, we have learned a thing or two about how to protect ourselves from these severe weather phenomenon’s and decrease our chances of injury to ourselves and our families.

Below is a list of helpful hints on what to do in case of a tornado.

When the skies look threatening, listen to the radio. The National Weather Service tracks all weather systems with sophisticated radar and is usually able to give adequate warning of violent weather conditions.

When a watch is issued, listen to broadcast advisories and be ready to take cover. It is wise to collect a battery powered light, radio and have family members within earshot under watch conditions. Also, take your car keys; should a tornado hit your area, your car may still be operable but keys would be lost in the rubble.

Take an inventory of all your household furnishings and personal belongings. In case of tornado or other disaster, this inventory will be invaluable to you in settling your insurance claim. Make sure you keep your inventory in a safe place, like a bank safe deposit box.

A tornado sounds like the roar of hundreds of airplanes. You’ll probably get warning before that ominous sound approaches. We suggest you listen to the radio when the sky looks forbidding.

A Tornado Watch means tornadoes may be expected to develop.
A Tornado Warning means a tornado has actually been sighted.

For further protection, move to your basement. Get under a heavy table or work bench if possible. If you have no basement, take cover in small, windowless interior rooms on the lowest level, such as closets or bathrooms.

If you’re in an office building or school, protect yourself in an interior hallway or a lower floor. Avoid auditorium or gymnasiums or other structures with wide, free span roofs.

In mobile homes or vehicles, leave them and go to a substantial structure. If there is no shelter nearby, lie flat in the nearest ditch, ravine or culvert with your hands shielding your head.

Closely inspect your property, including automobiles, for damage. Report any gas leaks or electrical damage immediately.

If your home is damaged, get in touch with your insurance agent or company. In the meantime, secure your remaining property to protect it from further damage or theft. Take an inventory of the damage so you can file your insurance claim as soon as possible. Notify your relatives of your safety. Local authorities may waste time trying to locate you if you don’t send word. Limit your calls to one minute each. Do not tie up the telephone lines with unnecessary calls. Cooperate in the general clean-up of debris.

Driving during severe winter weather conditions can be demanding. And how you handle your vehicle in those conditions could be the difference between a safe trip and serious trouble.

Not all cars are alike. To become familiar with your vehicle’s winter weather operating characteristics, AAA-Chicago Motor Club recommends practicing slow-speed maneuvers on an empty snow or ice-covered parking lot. The Club also suggests reading your owner’s manual for information on equipment and handling characteristics.

The following are things to consider while driving in winter weather conditions.

Front, rear, four or all-wheel drive
Become familiar with what wheels are given power in your vehicle. Front-wheel-drive vehicles generally handle better than rear-wheel-drive vehicles on slippery roads because the weight of the engine is on the drive wheels. The back end of rear-wheel-drive cars tends to lose traction and slide side-to-side during turns on icy roads because there is little weight on the drive wheels.

Many vehicles today are equipped with four, or all-wheel drive, which helps maintain traction in difficult conditions. However, drivers of four-wheel-drive vehicles should avoid becoming over confident. Four-wheel-drive does not make the car brake any better.

A vehicle’s braking system also determines how motorists should operate their cars in winter weather. Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) provide significant stopping advantages on slick roads, but are only effective if properly used. When stopping a vehicle with ABS in slippery conditions, motorists should apply steady pressure to the brake pedal. The ABS automatically pumps the brakes to keep the wheels from locking up, preventing skids and loss of control. Do not take your foot off the brake pedal if you hear or feel it chatter. That means that the ABS system is working properly and you should continue to steer the car normally.

If you don’t have ABS, gently pump the brakes during slippery conditions to avoid locking the wheels and losing control.

Recognize Danger Zones
Intersections – Slow down before reaching an intersection. Scan left and right for cars and pedestrians. If you are having trouble stopping, they most likely are too. After a stop, press the accelerator slowly to get moving again. If you have a manual transmission, try starting in second gear to avoid wheel spin.

Hills – When approaching an icy hill pick a path that will allow you the most traction. Head for unpacked snow or powder where you’ll get a better grip. Build your speed gradually before you reach the hill and if you have switch-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, shift before you reach the hill.

Curves – Reduce your speed before you enter an icy curve. Any sudden acceleration or deceleration while turning could send you into a skid. Controlled speed, smooth steering and braking will help prevent from skidding on an icy turn. If your wheels lose grip, gradually release the pressure from whichever pedal you’re using and smoothly steer in the direction you want the car to go.

Getting unstuck
The simplest thing to remember when extricating your vehicle from snow and ice is to use finesse rather than power. Hard acceleration is likely to worsen the situation by causing the tires to dig the car deeper into the snow.

AAA-Chicago Motor Club recommends first, clearing away the snow. To improve traction, spread sand, cat litter or some kind of abrasive material around the tires containing power. Then, shift the car into low gear (or second gear in a manual transmission) and slowly apply pressure to the accelerator.

If that doesn’t work, try rocking the car back and forth by easing forward and then releasing the accelerator.

If you are unable to free your vehicle, carefully assess the weather conditions before abandoning it. In extreme cold or heavy snow, stay with your vehicle and wait until you can be rescued.