Have a Warm and Safe Holiday Season using the following tips:
- Protect your Pipes from Freezing
- Fire and Heater Safety
- Turkey Fryers - A Serious Risk
- Candles and Holiday Lights - Beautiful but Dangerous
- Going out of Town? Protect your House and Belongings
- Guests in Town? Protect your Visitors and Family
Tucson Fire Department Cold Weather Safety Tips
Stay safe and warm during the cold weather months.
Consejos para mantenerse seguro este invierno
Thinking of trying to deep fry a turkey? Before you fry make sure you understand the risks and how to prevent fires and injuries.
William Shatner - a turkey fryer fire cautionary tale
Turkey Fryer Cautionary Tale by William Shatner
Captain Kirk and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) agree.
The increasing number of fires related to turkey fryers is a risk that outweighs the benefits of the appliance.
PREVENT FIRES AND BURNS:
- The devices can easily tip over, spilling gallons of hot oil
- If the pot is overfilled, the oil may spill out when the turkey is added, causing the oil to ignite and a fire to engulf the unit
- If a partially frozen turkey is placed in the hot oil, a spillover effect can occur, which can also result in a fire
- Units with no thermostat control can overheat the oil to the point of combustion
- The sides, lid and pot handles of the unit all get dangerously hot, posing sever burn hazards.
- To reduce the likelihood of injury when using a fryer, take the following precautions:
- Follow all manufacturer recommendations
- Only use fryers outdoors and away from the building.
- Keep at least two feet of space between the propane tank and fryer
- Never use fryers on wooden decks or under a garage, carport or breeze-way
- Make sure the turkey is completely thawed and dried before adding it to the oil
- If smoke emits from the fryer, turn off the burner immediately
- Never leave the fryer unattended
- Cover bare skin and use potholders
- Keep children and pets away from the fryer when in use and for several hours after use
- Select a tree with branches that easily bend without snapping or breaking and needles that are green and hard to pull from branches, not brown and brittle.
- Cut the base of your tree just before placing it in water and keep and check daily. A tree can absorb a full gallon of water the first night.
- Keep trees away from heat sources such as fireplaces, heating vents or radiators as they tent to dry out branches.
- Do not place breakable ornaments, ornaments with small, detachable parts, or ornaments that look like food or candy on the lower branches where small children or pets can reach them.
- RECYCLE your tree quickly after the holidays.
- Never attempt to burn your Christmas tree or its branches in your fireplace.
LIGHTS AND CANDLES:
- Decorate using only UL approved lights and cords. Inspect the lights for exposed or frayed wires, loose connections or broken sockets.
- Do not overload extension cords with lights.
- Use no more than three strings of lights on one extension cord.
- Never run cords under carpet, across doorways, or through windows where the cord may be pinched and damaged.
- Unplug and cover open electrical sockets when they are not in use.
- Turn off the tree lights when you go to bed or leave the house. Consider using a timer.
- Keep burning candles, matches and lighters out of children’s reach.
- Do not place candles near draperies or anything that may easily catch fire.
- After building a fire in the fireplace, always use a screen and never leave young children unattended in the room.
- Remember to open the damper and keep it open until the fire is out
- Remove all the embers from fireplace
- Never burn candles near a Christmas tree or decorations.
- Never leave a child unsupervised in a room with a burning candle.
- Extinguish all candles before leaving a room or going to bed.
POINTS OF ENTRY:
Many burglaries are committed by opportunists who take advantage of inviting situations. Open doors and windows, storage sheds and outbuildings without locks, pet doors are all obvious signs a residence is unoccupied.
- Keep all doors and windows closed and securely fastened. An open window or door is an open invitation for burglars, and has been a point of entry in a number of recent burglaries in Tucson.
- Doors should have deadbolt locks with a one-inch throw and reinforced strike plate with three-inch screws. All windows should have window locks. Sliding glass doors should have a metal rod or piece of wooden dowel in the track, and vertical bolts to prevent lifting the door.
- For residents with evaporative “swamp” coolers, who rely on an open window or door for enhanced airflow, consider a locking system that allows you to secure a window in a slightly opened position that is too small for entry.
- These will help prevent burglars from forcing the door open or lifting it off the track.
- If you have an attached garage, always lock the door that leads into the house. Don't rely on your automatic garage door mechanism for security.
- Consider updating your older automatic opener to include one with enhanced security features.
- Don’t get in the habit of leaving your garage vehicle-bay door open when you are home and only closing it at night.
Thieves need just seconds to take valuables from an open garage.
- Dog and cat doors or flaps are frequently used by burglars for gaining entry. If you must have a pet-access door, invest in one that has security features, and secure it if you will be away from home for an extended period.
A burglar-friendly location is one that provides a thief with a sense of privacy, a reasonable expectation that no one is home, and an opportunity to take items of value that can be resold quickly.
- Keep the perimeter of your home well lighted. Low-voltage lighting is relatively inexpensive.
- Create the illusion that you are home through the use of timers on lights, radios and TV's.
- Keep shrubbery trimmed away from entrances and walkways. They provide concealment for burglars.
- Never leave clues that you are away on a trip. Have a trusted neighbor collect mail and newspapers while you are away so delivered items do not accumulate. You can also ask a neighbor to park in your driveway or parking place, and to open and close curtains and shades to make it appear that you are home.
- Record serial numbers and take photographs or video of valuable items to aid recovery if stolen. Often, a serial number is the only way to reconnect a victim with their recovered stolen property.
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL TIPS:
The simple rule is that if the information is not something you would provide to a complete stranger on the street, don’t share it online.
- Know who is in your home. Don’t allow friends to bring unknown people to your home or host parties that are open to uninvited guests.
- Never leave a message on your telephone answering machine telling people that you are away from home. A message that you will return at a certain time leaves your home vulnerable in the interim.
- Restrict access to your social media pages to family and close friends.
- Don’t accept “friend” requests unless you are convinced that you know and trust the sender.
- Don’t post about upcoming vacation dates or times when you will be away from home
- Don't update your “status” to tell others that you are currently sitting on a tropical beach, and not at home.
- Organize or actively participate in a neighborhood watch program.
- An alert community is a safe community.
- Your neighbors will be the first ones to recognize when someone or something is out of place.
- Call 911 as soon as you see something suspicious occurring. Allow the police the opportunity to investigate the situation before it becomes a crime.
These tips are not all-inclusive, but a basic guide that provides some common sense and practical tips for citizens.
With very little effort and no, or sometimes minimal, expense, we can all take steps to make our properties less attractive targets for criminal activity.
- Keep common baking ingredients such as vanilla and almond extract out of reach. They contain high levels of alcohol and may be harmful to young children if swallowed.
- Beware of fire salts used in fireplaces to produce colored flames. They contain heavy metals and cause intense gastrointestinal irritation or vomiting if eaten.
- Dispose of colored paper immediately. It may contain materials toxic to small children if chewed. Teach your young children that decorations are not food to be put into their mouths.
- Buy your smoke alarm a battery for Christmas. Replace smoke alarms that are more than ten years old.
- Buy a carbon monoxide detector.
- Practice your fire evacuation plan.
If you have guests visiting this holiday season don’t let holiday distractions prevent you from creating a safe environment for your loved ones. No matter how long your guests stay, be sure to take special precautions for older adults and young children.
- Check lighting over stairways, hallways, entry ways and between the bedroom and the bathroom
- Place non-slip bath mats in tubs and showers
- Install grab bars in tubs and showers
- Place safety gates in locations that pose a risk to toddlers
- Install and test smoke detectors in each sleeping area
- Teach your guests the home escape plan, point out exits and the meeting place and practice a fire drill
- Use toilet seat locks and remove all water from buckets, tubs, and coolers
- Install and lock security gates and lids around pools, ponds and hot tubs
- Keep all poisons, chemicals, matches, lighters and any other hazardous material locked up and out of the reach of children
For more crime prevention tips as well as contact information for our Neighborhood Watch coordinators, please visit our website at http://cms3.tucsonaz.gov/police/crime-prevention.