Middletown Fire Fighters Safety Page

Smoke Detector Safety Information


An average of three children a day die in home fires and 80 percent of those occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Non-working smoke alarms rob residents of the protective benefits home fire safety devices were designed to provide. The most commonly cited cause of non-working smoke alarms: worn or missing batteries.

Changing smoke alarm batteries at least once a year is one of the simplest, most effective ways to reduce these tragic deaths and injuries. In fact, working smoke alarms nearly cut in half the risk of dying in a home fire. Additionally, the International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends replacing your smoke alarms every ten years.

Tragically, fire can kill selectively. Those most at risk include:

Children - Approximately 1000 children under the age of 20 die each year in home fires. Fire is the third leading cause of accidental deaths among children under age five, placing them at twice the risk of dying in a home fire.

Seniors - Adults over age 75 are three times more likely to die in home fires than the rest of the population; those over 85 are 4.5 times more likely to die in a home fire. Many seniors are unable to escape quickly.

Low Income Households - Many low-income families are unable to afford batteries for their smoke alarms. These same households often rely on poorly installed, maintained or misused portable or area heating equipment -- a main cause of fatal home fires.

Families should also prepare a fire safety kit that includes working flashlights and fresh batteries.

Do You have a  smoke detector?                                                                  

Candle Safety Information

Candle fires rise to a 19-year high after a decade-long decline.

Candle fires in one- and two-family dwellings, manufactured housing, and apartments have been on the increase recently, reaching a 19-year high in 1998, the last year for which National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has statistics. That year, 12,540 fires resulted in 157 deaths, 1,106 civilian injuries, and $176.1 million in property damage. This increase came after a decline from 8,240 candle fires reported in 1980, the first year of available data, through 1990, when they hit a low of 5,460.

Safety tips

· Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep.

· Keep candles away from items that can catch fire, such as clothing, books, paper, curtains, Christmas trees, and flammable decorations.

· Use sturdy candleholders that won't tip over easily, are made of a material that can't burn, and are large enough to collect dripping wax.

· Don't place lit candles in windows, where blinds and curtains can close over them.

· Place candleholders on a sturdy, uncluttered surface and don't use candles in places where children or pets can knock them over.

· Keep candles and all open flames away from flammable liquids.

· Trim candle wicks to one-quarter inch (6.4 millimeters) and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) of the holder. Votives should be extinguished before the last half-inch (1.3 centimeters) of wax starts to melt.

· Avoid candles with combustible items embedded in them.

Candles and children

· Keep candles up high, out of reach of children.

· Never leave a child unattended in a room with a candle.

· A child shouldn't sleep in a room with a lit candle.

· Don't allow children or teens to have candles in their bedrooms.

· Store candles, matches, and lighters up high, out of children's sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

During power outages

· Use flashlights whenever possible. Try to avoid carrying a lit candle. Don't use a lit candle when searching for items in a confined space.

· Never use a candle for light when checking pilot lights or fueling equipment, such as lanterns. The flame may ignite the fumes.

Information obtained from the National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA

Fire safety  information

Fire deaths

  • In the United States, someone is fatally injured in a home fire roughly every 170 minutes.
  • In Canada, someone is fatally injured in a home fire roughly every 31 hours.
  • Smoking materials such as cigarettes, cigars and pipes are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. The majority of residential fires associated with smoking materials started as a result of careless or improper disposal.

Smoke alarms

  • Fifteen of every 16 homes (94%) in the United States have at least one smoke alarm.
  • Having smoke alarms in your home reduces your chance of dying in a fire nearly in half.
  • One-half of home fire deaths occur in the 6 % of homes with no smoke alarms.
  • In three of every 10 reported fires in homes equipped with smoke alarms, the devices did not work, most often because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries.
  • Only eight percent of those surveyed whose smoke alarms had sounded in the past year thought it was a fire that caused the alarm to go off, and got out of their homes as a result.

Home fire sprinklers

  • Properly installed and maintained, automatic fire sprinkler systems help save lives.
  • Automatic fire sprinklers and smoke alarms together cut your risk of dying in a home fire 82% relative to having neither – a savings of thousands of lives a year.

Home escape planning

  • According to an NFPA survey, 26 percent of Americans said they had never thought about practicing a home fire escape plan. Three percent said they didn't believe that practice was necessary.


  • During the months of December, January and February, heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires. Two-thirds of home heating fire deaths were caused by portable or fixed space heaters.


  • Over the last decade, candle fires have almost tripled. In 1999 alone, an estimated 15,040 home fires started by candles were reported to fire departments. These fires resulted in 102 deaths, 1,473 injuries and an estimated property loss of $278 million.
  • Forty percent of U.S. home candle fires begin in the bedroom.


  • More fires start in the kitchen than in any other place in the home.
  • Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries.
  • Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires.


  • Electrical fires and shocks kill hundreds of people and injure thousands each year.
  • In 1999, electrical distribution equipment was the fourth leading cause of home structure fires, but ranked first in cause of direct property damage.

Donald Hardin, President Emeritus
Darrell Yater, Sergeant at Arms Emeritus