Hazardous Situations

House Fires

Fire Safety Precautions

  • Do not smoke while using oxygen. Do not smoke in bed.
  • Do not use lighted matches or candles around any gas.
  • Do not use frayed electrical cords.
  • Do not store gasoline in your home.
  • Do not place heaters near curtains, furniture or paper.
  • Turn off heating pad before you go to sleep.
  • Store flammable materials away from heat or fire.
  • Keep properly working smoke detectors in your home, hallways and near sleeping areas. Check batteries and replace regularly.
  • Have your heating system checked and cleaned by qualified professionals.
  • Place a fire extinguisher at a convenient location in your home.

If a Fire Erupts

  • If the fire is too large to be smothered by a fire extinguisher, immediately get everyone out.
  • If oxygen is in use, shut it off.
  • If there is a fire alarm, pull it.
  • Close entrance doors and take your keys with you.
  • Avoid using elevators. Use stairs instead.
  • Once outside, call Fire Department.
  • Avoid stopping to gather items.
  • Do not go back inside for any reason.
  • If your fire escape is cut off, or you are unable to leave the house:
    • Remain calm.
    • Close the door and window of the room you are in and stay there.
    • Feel the door and/or doorknob. If the door is hot or there is smoke outside, place towels (wet if possible) under the door to prevent the smoke from getting in.
    • Advise First Responders where you are located.
  • If clothing catches on fire: “Stop, Drop and Roll”.

Power Outages

  • Determine if power outage is limited to your home or is also out in the neighborhood.
  • If power outage is limited to your home, check:
    • fuse box or circuit breaker panel;
    • service wires leading to the house. If they are on the ground or damaged, don’t go within 35 feet and notify your electric supply authority.
  • If the power is also out in the surrounding area, contact the utility company.
  • If instructed to do so, cut off your utilities at the main valves.
  • If power outage occurs when you are in an elevator, press the alarm button.
  • If the power outage is expected to be long-term or is widespread:
    • Set up your generator, if you have one
    • Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors or in garages.
    • Collect flashlights and Emergency Kit.
    • Shut off the switches on all electrical items to prevent damage to appliances and equipment once power is turned back on.
    • Turn off stove burners and oven, even if the stove is gas.
    • Turn off the lights.
    • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
    • Limit phone usage.
    • Stay put and limit driving, as traffic light outages may cause hazardous driving conditions.
    • Dress appropriately for weather conditions.
  • If leaving the premises, each person should tell the others where he/she is going.
  • Attempt to communicate or receive communication via:
    • phone (cell or land);
    • social media;
    • email, if there is a computer/laptop with a battery backup; or,
    • radio or television, if have battery backup.

Vehicles & Downed Power Lines

  • If a downed power line touches your vehicle, remain in the vehicle and:
    • Warn others not to touch the vehicle.
    • Phone or ask someone to call ““9-1-1”” or the utility company.
  • If your vehicle catches on fire, open the door and:
    • Jump free of the vehicle far enough so your body clears the vehicle before it touches the ground.
    • Walk in a shuffling manner to a distance at least 50-feet from the vehicle.
  • Do not step out of the vehicle directly onto the ground.

Extreme Heat

  • Keep you’re your home cool, if possible, with air-conditioner.
  • If you do not have an air-conditioning, open windows (if outdoor air quality permits) and use fans.
  • Drink a glass of fluid every 15 to 20-minutes and drink at least one gallon each day.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and caffeine, as they cause dehydration.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
  • Take frequent cool showers/baths or sponge off with a cold, wet cloth.
  • Watch for signs of heat exhaustion: cold, clammy skin, heavy sweating, nausea, weakness.
  • If dizziness or overheating occurs find a cool place; sit or lie down; drink water; wash head and face.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you show any signs of heat stroke (e.g., hot, dry skin; body temperature above 103° F; fast, strong pulse; confusion).
  • Do chores or work during cooler hours or distribute the workload evenly throughout the day.

Extreme Cold

Hypothermia happens when a person’s core body temperature drops at least 2°F. below the normal body temperature of 98.6 °F.

Ways to prevent hypothermia:

  • Ensure adequate food, clothing, shelter, and sources of heat are available.
  • Use electric blankets & heating pads.
  • Wear layers of clothing, which help to keep in body heat.
  • Keep moving, as physical activity raises body temperature.
  • Avoid alcohol & tobacco, which increase susceptibility to cold.

If you must go outdoors:

  • Check weather forecast.
  • Dress in layers with a wind-resistant outer layer.
  • Wear a hat, mittens or insulated gloves and something to keep your face warm (e.g., scarf, neck tube, face mask).
  • Wear warm and waterproof footwear.
  • When it is very cold, or wind chill is significant, cover as much of your exposed skin as possible and keep dry.
  • Keep moving and seek shelter if cold weather or windchill become significant.

Major Police Incidents

If you find yourself near a major police incident:

  • Follow the directions of law enforcement and first responders.
  • Do not approach the area and leave the vicinity, unless you are advised by police to shelter-in-place.
  • Limit the use of your cell phone to reduce the burden on the telecommunications network.
  • Avoid posting pictures of law enforcement activities on social media, as it may provide sensitive information to potential criminals and/or endanger first responders.
  • If there are road closures, expect delays for your commute or find an alternative mode or route for transportation.
  • If possible, avoid evacuation areas to permit those attempting to leave the area to do so efficiently and safely.


If you are instructed to “shelter-in-place”, remain inside wherever you are (e.g., your home, mall or other premise) and:

  • Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
  • Turn off all fans, heating and air-conditioning systems to avoid drawing in air from the outside.
  • Close the fireplace damper.
  • Get your Emergency Kit and make sure the radio is working.
  • Go to an interior room that is above ground level, preferably without windows.
  • If threats are chemical in nature:
    • avoid retreating to basement, if possible and:
    • Seal all cracks with duct/other wide tape around the door and vents.
  • Continue to monitor your radio or television until you are told all is safe or are advised to evacuate.

Evacuation Orders

Authorities will not order you to evacuate unless they believe you are in danger.

If you are ordered to evacuate, take:

  • Emergency Kit,
  • Emergency Plan,
  • essential medications and copies of prescriptions,
  • cellular phone, and,
  • pets.

Protect your home:

  • Shut off water and electricity if officials tell you to do so.
  • Leave natural gas service on, unless officials tell you to turn it off.
  • Lock your home.

If you have time:

  • Call or e-mail your out-of-town contacts with details of your plans.
  • Leave a note detailing when you left and where you are going.

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