Fire Prevention Month

October is National Fire Prevention Month, a time when we should all be aware of ways to help learn fire safety and prevention.  Annual observances like National Fire Prevention Month are excellent opportunities to focus on fire hazards – but we should all practice fire safety every day—at home, at work and at play.  The following are tips that may save your life.

Blocked Exits can be fatal in a fire!

When a smoke alarm sounds we all know what to do, right? Find the nearest escape route, get out and stay out! But if that exit is blocked, the best escape plan in the world will not help you and your family get to safety.

Items that block doors and windows in your home could keep you from escaping in the event of a home fire. Any emergency can affect one’s ability to think clearly, but during a fire, smoke and other physical factors can literally inhibit your ability to react. Add a blocked escape route to the equation and your chances of safely escaping a fire may decrease even more. Not only can blocked windows and doors hinder you and your family’s ability to escape a fire, but they can also keep firefighters from successfully completing their rescue attempts.


Whether your home has security bars or other items blocking escape routes, the following tips can help you to increase your chances of escaping your home should a fire occur:


In addition to clearing clutter and unblocking exits, the most important key to your family’s safety is planning and practicing a home fire

escape plan. Make sure you develop a fire escape plan that identifies two ways out of each room and a family meeting place outside. Practice using the plan, at least twice a year. If everyone knows that everyone else is ready to exit quickly, no one will lose precious time trying to help someone who doesn’t need help.  The City of St. Albans Fire Department is encouraging local families to make a fire escape plan and practice it during The Great American Fire Drill.

Padlocks can be a barrier to safety. In the event of a home fire, you’ll need access to every escape route. Remove padlocks so the door or window can be used as an escape route.

When arranging furniture and other items, make sure that you’re not blocking doors or windows with televisions, heavy dressers, tables, couches, even potted plants. Every room needs two ways out. Remove furniture that may be blocking doors or windows.


Never nail or paint windows shut. Opening them could be crucial in the event of a home fire.  Inspect your windows and doors. Remove nails or paint that could prevent using windows for escape.


A pile of toys or other items in front of a doorway can block your escape route and could be a threat to the safety of you and your family. Remove toys that may be blocking doors or windows


Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period time, turn off the stove.

Heating: Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding or furniture, at least 3 feet away form heating equipment.


Electrical: Replace cracked and damaged electrical cords.  Consider having additional circuits or receptacles added by a qualified electrician.


Smoking: If you smoke, smoke outside; wherever you smoke, use deep, sturdy ashtrays.



Top 10 Tips for chimney and venting system safety

To aid in the prevention of chimney fires and carbon monoxide intrusion and to help keep heating appliances and fireplaces functioning properly, the City of St. Albans Fire Department offers the following safety tips:

1. Get an annual chimney check. Have chimneys inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a qualified professional chimney service technician. This reduces the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisonings due to creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimneys.

2. Keep it clear. Keep tree branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the top of the chimney.

3. Install a chimney cap to keep debris and animals out of the chimney.

4. Choose the right fuel. For burning firewood in wood stoves or fireplaces, choose well seasoned wood that has been split for a minimum of six months - one year and

stored in a covered and elevated location. Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in your fireplace or wood stove.

5. Build it right. Place firewood or fire logs at the rear of the fireplace on a supporting grate. To start the fire, use kindling or a commercial firelighter. Never use flammable liquids.

6. Keep the hearth area clear. Combustible material too close to the fireplace, or to a wood stove, could easily catch fire. Keep furniture at least 36” away from the hearth.

7. Use a fireplace screen. Use metal mesh or a screen in front of the fireplace to catch flying sparks that could ignite or burn holes in the carpet or flooring.

8. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Place detectors throughout the house and check batteries in the spring and fall. When you change your clocks for Daylight Savings Time, remember to check your batteries.

9. Never leave a fire unattended. Before turning in for the evening, be sure that the fire is fully extinguished. Supervise children and pets closely around wood stoves and fireplaces.

10.  Not sure if you need a chimney sweep to come out to your house? Or, concerned about getting your home dirty? And, what is the difference between having your chimney inspected and having it swept?  Access the answers to these and other questions from the Chimney Safety Institute of America online at



For more information on life saving information please visit any of the links below:

Attached Document or FileScholastic - National Fire Prevention Week For kids, parents, and teachers!
Attached Document or Tips for Fire Safe Sleep
Attached Document or FileThe Home Safety Council A Safe Home Is In Your Hands
Attached Document or An Information Resource for Eliminating Residential Fire Deaths
Attached Document or FileNFPA - Fire Safety Videos On YouTube You Can Learn A Lot From Doofus Dan
Attached Document or FileChimney Safety Institute of America Tips on Chimney Safety
Official website of the City of Saint Albans, Vermont | (802) 524-1500 |