Fire Prevention

General Fire Prevention

Fires occur so regularly that most cities have full-time fire fighters. Preventing fires and getting out safely in a fire are key life skills. Fires can be prevented from starting if you take some simple precautions:

  • Check your electrical appliances and wiring for frayed wires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately.
  • Clean up immediately after parties and take all trash outside.
  • Put out candles and incense when unattended.
  • Candles and items with open flames are not permitted in residence halls.
  • Keep space heaters and halogen lamps away from flammables such as clothes and curtains. Halogen lamps can reach over 900 °F. Paper burns at 451 °F.
  • Use electrical appliances that have the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) seal for safety.
  • Don’t smoke in bed. Extinguish all smoking materials thoroughly. Always dispose of smoking materials in a non-combustible container, such as an ashtray.
  • Recognize that holiday decorations have started fatal fires (Bellingham Fire Department requires permits for resin-bearing trees and greenery in public buildings.)
  • Keep barbecue grills away from buildings and combustibles.
  • Keep fireplace screens or doors in place when in use.
  • Store combustibles away from fireplaces and barbecue grills.
  • Building Surveys are done regularly in every building.

In this Fire Safety Survey Explanation you will find what is looked for during the surveys, along with an explanation of why it is important to check. The code reference is also included for those that wish to do additional research.

Electrical Safety for Home and Office

Many places are not wired to support the numbers of electrical appliances and computer equipment used in today’s technological world. Greater electrical use increases the potential for fire if outlets are overloaded. Consider how you plug in:

Power Strips

  • Use power strips with surge protectors instead of extension cords.
  • Use strips or protectors that have a built-in circuit breaker, the breaker will trip if the strip is overloaded or there is a power surge.
  • Use strips or protectors that have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) seal of approval.
  • Never plug one strip into another. Always plug then directly into an outlet.

Extension Cords: Use extension cords only temporarily (less than 90 days)

  • Use only cords that have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) seal of approval.
  • Never plug one extension cord into another or into a power strip.
  • Never use multi-plug outlet adapters to obtain more outlets.
  • Replace worn or frayed cords.
  • Avoid running cords under carpets, rugs or tiles.