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Safety Tips


Safety Tips
Avondale Fire & Medical is committed to keeping our customers safe through education, awareness, and prevention. Please choose from the menu to the right to view safety tips that can keep you and your family safer.

Smoke Alarms
Most home fire fatalities occur at night while people are asleep. The majority of house fire related deaths are attributed to toxic gas and smoke inhalation rather than the actual fire itself. By installing and maintaining smoke alarms in your home, you and your family's chances for survival increase by 50%. Here are some tips for installing and maintaining smoke alarms:
  • For the minimum protection, install a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area.
  • For homes with more than one level, install a smoke alarm on every level of your home.
    Smoke Detector Layout
  • For maximum protection, install a smoke alarm in each bedroom, on every level of your home, and in every living area.
  • Mount the smoke alarms in the middle of the ceiling, at the highest point.
  • If mounting on the wall, place them at least 3 feet from any corner and 4 to 6 inches from the ceiling.
  • Do not install smoke alarms near heating or cooling ducts.
  • Test your smoke alarms once a month.
    Animated Smoke Detector
  • Replace the batteries in smoke alarms every year. It is easiest to remember if you pick a holiday to replace the batteries. Smoke alarms that make a chirping sound may indicate that the battery needs to be replaced. Replace the battery immediately.
  • If your smoke alarm sounds while you are cooking, it's just doing its job. Do not disable thealarm because you may not remember to re-enable it later. It is better to clear the air by opening windows and vents and clearing the air around the smoke alarm. You may want to replace the smoke alarm that sounds often from cooking with one with a silence button feature. Ionization type alarms may be better replaced with photoelectric alarms since they are less affected by cooking smoke or steam particles.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.
  • Vacuum the outside cover periodically to remove loose dust particles.
  • If you live in Avondale, call Avondale Fire & Medical at 623.333.6000 if you are having difficulty installing your smoke alarms. We will try to assist you.

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Fire
  • Install and maintain smoke alarms in your house.
  • Draw an escape plan of your home. The plan should include all doors, windows, hallways, and stairways. Try to include two different routes from every room in case one is blocked or not passable. Consider having an emergency window escape ladder for rooms in upper levels of the structure. They can be purchased for around $90.00. When crawling through smoke, remember to "stay low and go".
  • Practice the plan with the entire family. Make sure that family members with special physical needs get help. Try to practice the escape plan at least twice a year.
  • Select a meeting place once outside of the house. This can be a neighbor's house, the mailbox, or a street corner, etc.
  • Once you are out of the structure, STAY OUT!!
  • Have fire extinguishers mounted in the kitchen, garage, or workshop. The extinguisher should be certified to extinguish A, B, and C fires. Learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher. Remember, fire extinguishers are for small fires. For larger fires, get out of the structure immediately and call 911.
  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed. Closed doors may by you time by holding back heat and smoke. If you suspect there is a fire, feel the door for heat first before opening it. If it is hot, use a different escape route.
  • Fireplaces should have spark screens.
  • Keep combustible material such and kindling, newspaper, matches or rugs away from the fireplace or space heaters.
  • Do not use gas stoves for heating. This is not only an obvious fire hazard, but can increase carbon monoxide levels in the home.
  • Follow the proper operating instructions for space heaters.
  • Keep cooking appliances clean. Grease buildup over time is a fire hazard. In case of a grease fire, do not throw water on the fire. Try to cover the pot or pan with a lid or close the oven. Call 911.
  • Keep all pot handles turned inward toward the stove to prevent children from tipping hot foods or liquids onto themselves. Always watch children carefully in the kitchen.
  • Properly store flammable liquids in the appropriate containers. Store gasoline outside of the house and make sure containers are in good condition and caps are tightly secured. Avoid starting gasoline-fueled equipment within 10 feet of where they were refueled.
  • Use extreme caution when filling gasoline containers. Fill gasoline containers while on the ground (as opposed to inside the bed of a truck). This will help reduce the likelihood of static electricity discharge.
  • Never smoke in bed. Avoid smoking when drinking alcoholic beverages or when extremely tired. Place butts in ashtrays when finished, wet butts prior to throwing in trash receptacle.
  • Avoid overloading electrical circuits. Use only Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approved electrical equipment. Insert plastic plugs into electrical outlets to prevent children from placing objects into them.

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Pool & Water
One might find it hard to believe that even in this arid state, drowning is one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of four in Arizona. The main reason is the great amount of pools that are constructed here in the state. But, alarmingly, children are also drowning in buckets, toilets, bathtubs, and ponds. A child can drown in as little as 2 inches of water.

Supervision is very important in drowning prevention. "I only turned my back for a second" is heard only too often. If one combines pool barriers and safety devices with proper supervision, greater steps in drowning prevention can be achieved. Here are some pool/water safety tips for your home:
  • Never leave children unattended around water. This includes the pool area, buckets, toilets, and bathtubs. Not even for a second!!
  • Secure anything that holds water; close toilet lids, empty inflatable/small play pools, cover spas, cover/empty buckets, drain bathtubs after use.
  • Lock all exterior windows, doors, and sliding doors at all times. Make sure that locks between the house and the pool are well above a child's reach.
  • Lock doggie doors.
  • Install self-closing mechanisms on doors. Consider adding open door alarms.
  • Do not let children play in pool area. Remove all toys from pool area to prevent the temptation for children to try to retrieve these items.
  • Regularly check to make sure that all pool gate locks and latches work properly and close securely.
  • Always have designated child watcher when children are in the pool.
  • Keep chairs and tables away from pool fences.
  • Keep a phone in pool area for easy access.
  • If you can't find your child in the house, go directly to the pool to check if they are there. Do not waste any time.
  • Know CPR and keep life saving equipment such as a pole or life preserver with rope attached in the pool area.
  • Do not rely on "floaties" to protect children in the water.
  • Teach your children how to swim and respect the water as soon as possible.
Pool Safely: Put Simple Steps in Play Save a Child’s Life!  http://www.poolsafely.gov/
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Guns
Federal statistics indicate that 50% of all U.S. households contain guns. If your household is not one of them, the chances are that your neighbor, family member or friends do own some sort of firearm. Your child could come into contact with guns almost anywhere at anytime. It is critical for your child to know what to do if he or she encounters a firearm anywhere, and it is the parents' responsibility to provide that training.

Talking with your child about gun safety should be done when your child first expresses curiosity about firearms. Discuss guns and gun safety openly and honestly with your child. Telling your child to simply stay away from the gun may just spark more curiosity to investigate. Give him or her a safety lesson explaining the rules and answering any questions. Be sure that your child understands that the rules apply to all friends and visitors.

Television and movies often show firearms being mishandled as well as violent scenes of actors being shot. This may lead to your child's confusion between the Hollywood and real life effect guns have. Discuss the gun use on television as opposed to the gun use in real life. Demonstrate safe gun handling, even with toy guns. Here are some more gun safety tips:
  • Treat every Gun as a Loaded Gun!!
  • Take personal responsibility for your firearm.
  • Misuse of a firearm can cause serious injury or death. Take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and visitors to your home.
  • Enroll in a Firearm Safety Course.
  • Know how to safely clean, load, lock, store, and handle your gun. Understand federal, state, and local firearm laws. Know the conditions under which you may be liable to civil penalties for any deaths or injuries caused by your firearm.
  • Strictly enforce gun safety rules in your home.
  • If you own a firearm, take firm control. Do not let your gun fall into the wrong hands. Protect yourself, your family, and visitors to your home. Lock up your firearm.
  • Guns seem like toys to children who see them fired in countless movies and television programs. Guns have a strong - sometimes fatal - fascination for teenagers. If you have children or young adults living in your home or visiting, protect them. Lock up your firearm.
  • A person suffering from depression or mental illness may use your gun to commit suicide. Suicide attempts involving firearms are usually fatal - there is no second chance. Someone addicted to alcohol or drugs may use your gun to harm others. Lock up your firearm.
  • A flare-up of anger can lead to tragedy if a loaded gun can be grabbed quickly. A quarrel that would have blown over by morning can lead to death, injury, a lifetime of regret. Lock up your firearm.
  • Children or adolescents who use a firearm for hunting or target practice should have adult supervision and must obtain the appropriate instruction and certification for gun safety and use. Young people must be taught to respect a firearm as a dangerous weapon. They must assume - the gun is always loaded. Even if they know for certain the gun is not loaded, they must handle it as if it were. Be a responsible gun owner. If your children use guns, teach them to use them properly and supervise their activity.
  • Tell your children that if they see someone pull out a gun at a party or on the street - leave the area immediately.
  • Tell your children that if they see a gun to:
    • Stop
    • Don't Touch
    • Remove yourself from the area
    • Go tell an adult
  • Empty the ammunition from your firearm. Use a trigger lock, barrel lock, cylinder lock, a locking firearm case, or keep your firearm in a locked gun safe. Locking devices cost between $7 and $20; gun safes range in price from $100 to $1,000.
  • Store ammunition separately in a locked container away from heat or moisture. Never throw ammunition in the trash.
  • Carry the keys for the gun and the ammunition on your person at all times or keep the keys locked in a location known only to you.
  • Never store a firearm on a bedside table or under a mattress or pillow.
  • Do not store a firearm among valuables such as jewelry or silver where it might be stolen. Don't let your gun be used to commit a crime!
  • Handle every firearm as if it were loaded. Never point a gun at yourself or at anyone else.
  • Never display your gun at a social gathering.
  • Never allow your gun to be present when alcohol or drugs are being used.
  • Clean your gun alone and in a safe place. Do not leave your gun unattended even for a moment.
  • Load your gun only if, and when, you intend to fire it.

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Cooking & Kitchen
  • Always make sure the oven and stove top is clean. If not, clean them thoroughly and safely. Residue grease and food can catch fire.
  • If a grease fire erupts in a pan on top of the stove, quickly and carefully cover the pan with a lid or a larger pan. Never use water. If the fire is in the oven, turn the controls off and close the door tightly. This will smother the flames. Have a portable fire extinguisher in a handy location in the kitchen. Avondale Fire & Medical recommends having a 2A10BC fire extinguisher in the kitchen; make sure it is charged at all times. Know how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
  • Keep pot handles turned inward, away from the edge of the stove.
  • Don't wear long, loose sleeves that can hang over the stove while cooking. Flammable fabrics, such as towels, dish rags or curtains can be ignited merely by being used or stored near a gas or electric range.
  • Continuously supervise children in the kitchen. Keep children at a safe distance from all hot items by using highchairs, child safety gates, and playpens. Keep small children out of the kitchen when the oven is in use. Curious hands may easily open oven doors. It can be particularly dangerous for a child just learning to walk who may use the door for support.
  • Do not allow appliance cords to dangle over the edge of counter tops or tables. Children may pull at them and injure themselves.
  • Do not overload electrical circuits. Unplug appliances when not in use. If an appliance smells funny, doesn't function correctly, or has frayed or broken wiring, have it repaired or replaced.
  • Have an ABC fire extinguisher stored in a location in the kitchen where it can be easily grabbed for quick use. Learn how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Wash in between preparation of different foods and after completing different stages of preparation
  • Cut meats and vegetables with separate knives and cutting boards, or carefully wash knife and cutting boards in between the two.
  • Cook meats and poultry thoroughly.
  • Don't leave food sitting out at room or outdoor temperatures for an extended period of time.
  • Don't use canned food if the can is bulging or severely damaged.

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Disaster Preparedness
The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it--on the refrigerator or bulletin board. For additional information about how to prepare for hazards in your community, contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and your American Red Cross chapter.
  • Call Your Emergency Management Office or American Red Cross Chapter
  • Find out which disasters could occur in your area.
  • Ask how to prepare for each disaster.
  • Ask how you would be warned of an emergency.
  • Learn your community's evacuation routes.
  • Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons.
  • Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
  • Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center.

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Create An Emergency Plan

  • Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
  • Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
  • Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
  • Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.
  • Pick two meeting places.
    - A place near your home in case of a fire.
    - A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
  • Take a Basic First Aid and CPR Class
  • Keep family records in a water-and fire-proof container.

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Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit
Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. Store them in an easy-to-carry container, such as a backpack or duffel bag. Include:
  • A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.
  • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener.
  • A change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags.
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications.
  • An extra pair of glasses.
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
  • Credit cards and cash.
  • An extra set of car keys.
  • A list of family physicians.
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices, such as pacemakers.
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.

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Escape Plan

In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment, or mobile home on a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast.

Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits, and utility shut off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of fire. Be sure to include important points outside, such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways, and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.

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Home Hazard Hunt

In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
  • Fasten shelves securely.
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
  • Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds.
  • Brace overhead light fixtures.
  • Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
  • Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
  • Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
  • Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.

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If You Need to Evacuate

  • Listen to a battery-powered radio for the location of emergency shelters.
  • Follow instructions of local officials.
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Lock your home.
  • Use travel routes specified by local officials.
  • If you are sure you have time ...
    Shut off water, gas, and electricity, if instructed to do so.
  • Let others know when you left and where you are going.
  • Make arrangements for pets. Animals are not be allowed in public shelters.

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Prepare an Emergency Kit for Vehicle

  • Battery powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Blanket
  • Booster cables
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  • First aid kit and manual
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
  • Maps
  • Shovel
  • Tire repair kit and pump
  • Flares

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Fire Safety

  • Plan two escape routes out of each room.
  • Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire.
  • Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.
  • Install smoke alarms. Clean and test smoke detectors once a month.
  • Change batteries at least once a year.
  • Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of fire.
  • Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets.
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type).
  • Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
  • Consider installing home sprinklers.

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Chemical & Poisons
Chemicals, medicines and poisons can be found all over any household. Children's hands keep very busy, and curious containers are just too hard to resist. Improperly labeled chemicals can be accidentally misused thus creating a health or fire hazard. Please be careful about how these items are used and stored in the household. The following are some helpful hints that may help keep the household safer:

  • Keep all household products and medicines in their original, labeled, child resistant containers.
  • Lock poisons and medicines out of the reach of small children.
  • Always wear appropriate safety equipment when handling chemicals.
  • Install safety latches on all drawers or cabinets that contain liquor, chemicals, medicines, or poisons.
  • Take time to teach children about poisonous substances. Teach them to alert an adult rather than handle these substance by themselves.
  • Know which plants around the house are poisonous. Common houseplants like Rhododendrons, Philodendrons, and Geraniums are poisonous and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.
  • Never leave children unattended with household products or medications.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dosage of any medication. Consult your doctor if you missed a dose before "double-up" another dose.
  • Use child resistant containers for medications.
  • Throw out old or expired drugs. Flushing them down the toilet may prevent children from picking them out of the trash later.
  • Do not borrow or share prescribed medications.
  • Do not mix products, especially cleaning products. Some chemicals when combined may become, flammable, explosive, or toxic.
  • Be aware or seasonal changes and holidays that may introduce "new poisons" into your household (i.e. Mistletoe during Christmas).
  • Thoroughly cook all meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
  • Do not use canned foods with bulging or cracked lids.
  • Thaw meat and poultry in the refrigerator.
  • Do not refer to medicines as "candy".
  • If you suspect somebody in your household has ingested or been exposed to chemicals, poisons, or overdose of medications, call 911 immediately. For general questions, call the Arizona Poison & Drug Information hotline at 1-800-362-0101.

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Bicycles, Scooters, and Skateboards
  • BicycleA helmet should be worn every time you ride a bike, scooter, skateboard or in-line skate. Wear a comfortable, properly fitted helmet – and always fasten the safety strap.
  • Wear the gear. Be sure that safety gear (wrist, elbow and kneepads) fits properly and does not interfere with movement, vision or hearing.
  • Always ride in safe areas and never at night.
  • Learn the proper hand signals and use them when you turn or stop.
  • Come to a complete stop before entering driveways, paths or sidewalks, then look left, right and left again for bikes, cars or pedestrians heading your way.

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Heat & Environmental
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is reminding individuals to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses during Arizona's wave of triple-digit temperatures.

Staying cool by increasing daily fluid intake, by planning activities outdoors when the sun is not as intense and by wearing light clothing can help individuals remain safe and healthy, according to Brian Hasty, Environmental Toxicologist, ADHS Office of Environmental Health.

"People that live in Arizona may feel they are generally acclimated to the heat we experience during the summertime," Hasty said. "However, when we go through the extreme temperatures like we are now, it is important for people who are active outdoors to take special precautions to balance their activities with measures that help keep the body cool and hydrated."

Animated SunIndividuals suffer heat-related illness when the body's temperature control system is overloaded and the body can no longer cool itself. The body normally cools itself by sweating. As long as blood is flowing properly to the skin, extra heat from the body is pumped to the skin and removed by sweat evaporation.

However, under extreme conditions, sweating will result in significant fluid loss and body temperatures can rise rapidly, Hasty said. Heavy sweating, paleness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, shallow breathing and a rapid but weakened pulse rate are some of the symptoms individuals experience when the effects of heat exhaustion start to unfold. "If heat exhaustion is left untreated, it may progress to heat stroke, a severe form of heat illness," Hasty warned.

Hasty advised special precautions be taken for those individuals at a heightened risk for heat related illness. "Parents should ensure their kids have on hats or protective clothing and are adequately hydrated before and after being outside. It's also a good idea to check in on loved ones and friends who are ill, on certain medications or elderly folks who may live alone." ADHS offers the following prevention tips to avoid heat-related illness:
  • Never leave infants, children or pets inside a parked vehicle.
  • Increase fluid intake, regardless of activity level. Don't wait until thirsty to drink fluids; drink more liquid than one's thirst indicates.
  • Avoid "heat hangover." Continue to drink fluids even after strenuous activity. This will enable the body to maintain optimum hydration, and help prevent the after effects of heat exposure such as headaches and fatigue.
  • Avoid beverages containing alcohol, caffeine or large amounts of sugar as they dehydrate the body. Avoid very cold beverages as they cause stomach cramps.
  • Limit exercise or outdoor activity between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its peak intensity. If active during this time frame, drink a minimum of 16 to 32 ounces of water each hour.
  • Take advantage of free air conditioning! Visit shopping malls, movie theaters or the library to escape the heat for a few hours.

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Outdoor Protection

  • When outdoors, wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF15. Apply at least 30 minutes prior to going outdoors, and re-apply as necessary.
  • Rest frequently in shady areas so that the body's temperature has a chance to recover.
  • If unaccustomed to working or exercising in a hot environment, gradually increase the pace and limit exercise or work time.

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Clothing

  • Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing; sunglasses to protect the eyes; and a wide-brimmed hat to provide shade and keep the head cool.
  • Take special precaution with infants and young children by dressing them in loose, cool clothing and shading their heads and faces with hats or an umbrella.
  • Know these heat disorder symptoms:

      Sunburn:

      Symptoms: Redness and pain. In severe cases, swelling of skin, blisters, fever, headache.

      First Aid: Ointment for mild cases if blisters appear. If breaking occurs, apply dry sterile dressing. Serious, extensive cases should be seen by a physician.

      Heat Cramps:

      Symptoms: Painful spasms usually in the legs and abdomen. Heavy sweating.

      First Aid: Firm pressure on cramping muscles, or gentle massage to relieve spasm. Give sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use.

      Heat Exhaustion:

      Symptoms: Heavy sweating, weakness, skin cold to touch, pale and clammy. Pulse thready. Normal temperature possible. Fainting and vomiting.

      First Aid: Get victim out of the sun immediately. Lay down, loosen clothing, elevate feet. Apply wet cloths. Fan or move victim into air conditioned room. Sips of water. If nausea occurs, discontinue use and seek immediate medical attention.

      Heat Stroke:

      Symptoms: High body temperature (106 degrees or higher), Hot, dry, red skin. Rapid and strong pulse. Possible loss of consciousness.

      First Aid: Heat Stroke is a life threatening emergency. Call 911 immediately or take victim to hospital ASAP. Move victim into cooler environment. Reduce body temperature with cool bath sponging. Lie victim down with legs elevated. Remove clothing and cool with fans or air conditioners.

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Child Car Seats
Each year approximately 1,800 children ages 14 and under are killed as occupants in motor vehicles, and more than 280,000 are injured. The State of Arizona requires that children up to the age of five be restrained in the appropriate car seat for the child's age and/or weight. When children car seats are correctly installed and used, studies indicate that the risk of death to infants can be reduced as much as 71%.

However, car seats can be difficult to properly install. In fact, studies have found that about four out of every five car seats are installed or used incorrectly. Factors contributing to the difficulty of using seats correctly include a variety of age and size requirements, incompatibility between car seat and vehicle design, improper seating position and gaps in child occupant protection laws. If you have a child young enough to be in a car seat, chances are that there could be some things you could do to improve their chances of not getting injured or killed in the event of a vehicle accident. Here are some guidelines and tips for proper use of your child's car seat:
  • Rear facing child safety seats must be used until the child is at least 1 year of age  AND  20 lbs.       
  • Never put a rear-facing infant or convertible safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle with an active passenger air bag. Children are safest in the back seat.
  • For a snug fit, adjust the harness straps so they lie in a straight line without sagging. Place the chest clip at armpit level.
  • Do not wrap your child up in a blanket, thick coat, or other thick garment prior to strapping him/her into the car seat.
  • Children over 2 years old and between 35 and 40 pounds can be in forward-facing child safety seats, or in rear-facing convertible seats if the child has not reached the maximum rear-facing weight.
  • Untwist harness straps. Twisted harness straps compromise protection.
  • Children ages 5 to 8 ( 40 to 80 pounds) must be in a booster seat and restrained with lap and shoulder belts every time they ride. Adult safety belts alone do not adequately protect children this size from injury in a crash.
  • Usually, children that are 4' 9",over 80 pounds and 9 years old can fit correctly in lap/shoulder belts. When the child is sitting all the way back against the vehicle seat, the lap belt should fit across the child's hips, not the stomach. The shoulder belt should cross the center of the shoulder. Do not let your children put shoulder belts under their arms or behind their backs. This could result in serious injuries.
  • Read your child safety seat instruction manual and vehicle owner's manual carefully for proper installation. The seat should be locked tightly against the vehicle seat - it should not move more than 1 inch forward or side-to-side.
  • If you have any questions, please contact Avondale Fire & Medical Public Education Specialist Sue Pistoia at 623.333.6112. You can set up an appointment to get your car seat checked.

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Apartment Safety
  • Make sure the smoke detector is working properly. Test the detector once a month and replace the batteries once a year.
  • Fire extinguishers are required to be within 75-feet of each apartment complex. If you cannot find one outside, look inside your apartment, typically under the sink or in a closet.
  • Do not use barbeques under covered porches, patios, walkways, or roof overhangs. Barbeques should be used on the ground level and away from structural overhangs. Most apartments have designated barbeque areas which should be used when possible.
  • Do not park in front of fire hydrants or with marked fire lanes. Fire Department vehicles are counting on hydrants and fire lanes being accessible for emergency purposes.
  • Never leave smoking material burning. Never smoke in bed and be sure cigarette and/or cigar butts are properly extinguished and disposed.
  • Get to know your apartment unit and apartment complex layout. Know at least two ways to escape and create a meeting place for separated family members to meet. Practice your emergency escape plan.
  • Become acquainted with elderly neighbors that may need your assistance in case an evacuation is necessary. If you cannot assist your elderly neighbors, you may be able to direct firefighters to their apartment.
  • Consider purchasing an emergency window escape ladder if you live in above ground apartment units.
  • Make sure your apartment number on your door or just outside the unit. Contact the apartment complex management if you cannot find your number.
  • Do not run extension cords under carpets or from unit to unit.

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Trimming the Tree Safely
Trimming the tree is a traditional holiday pastime. However, Christmas trees pose a serious danger to households if not properly cared for. Avondale Fire Rescue offers some tips when selecting and caring for your Christmas tree this holiday season.
Tree After 20 Seconds
Tree After 20 Seconds
Tree After 2 Minutes
Tree After 2 Minutes
  • When purchasing live, cut trees or greens, carefully inspect the needles. If they're brown or break easily, the greenery isn't fresh and poses a greater fire risk. Test for freshness by bending a few needles in half. If they snap in two, the tree is dry - look for one on which the needles spring back to their original shape.
  • When you take your tree home, put it in a sturdy, non-tip stand filled with water.
  • Keep live trees supplied with water at all times; dehydrated Christmas trees can catch fire more easily.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any flame or heat source and never decorate trees with candles.
  • Try to position it near an outlet so that cords are not running long distances.
  • Do not place the tree where it may block exits.
  • Inspect electrical lights and extension cords for wear and tear and replace any cords that are beginning to fray or have broken sockets; pay special attention to outdoor lights that have been exposed to winter weather conditions. To reduce fire hazards and extend the life of outdoor decorative lights, bring them inside after the holidays.
  • Avoid cluttering outlets - string no more than three strands of lights together and make sure all lights bear the mark of an independent organization such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).
  • When decorating indoors, use only those lights listed for indoor use. Unplug all lights - inside and out -- before going to bed or leaving home.
  • Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are flammable and should not be left inside the home or garage, or placed against the house.
  • Make sure your home is equipped with working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers. Don't forget to install, test and maintain these devices in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Develop and practice a fire escape plan for your household so overnight guests are familiar with your procedures.

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