|Home Fire Inspections
||In an effort to educate the public on fire and life safety issues, the Skokie Fire Department offers home safety inspections by request. The Fire Prevention Bureau will visit your home and check for any fire or life safety hazards.
|Fire Hydrant Obstruction Code
||The Skokie Village Code indicates that it is unlawful for any person in any manner to obstruct the use of any fire hydrant or place any material or a vehicle in from of a hydrant within 15 feet. Click here for more information.
|10 Tips for Fire Safety
- Keep an eye on the stove top.
- Give space heaters space.
- Smokers need watchers.
- Keep matches and lighters out of reach.
- Inspect electrical cords.
- Be vigilant when using candles.
- Have a home fire escape plan.
- Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- To escape through smoke – get low and go.
- If your clothing catches fire – STOP, DROP, COVER YOUR FACE WITH YOUR HANDS, AND ROLL.
|Older Adults and Fall Safety
- If you are age 65 or older, you are your own best insurance against fire and burn injuries. Older adults are at a greater risk of being injured or killed from fire or burn injuries than other adults.
- Be prepared. You must take particular care to be as well prepared as possible for emergencies due to fire.
- Safe smoking habits are high on the list of sound fire safety practices! NEVER smoke in bed. Use large untippable ashtrays. Make sure cigarettes and all hot ashes are completely out before disposing of them..
- Space heaters can get hot enough to ignite nearby drapery, paper or clothing. Keep heaters at least three feet away from combustibles. Always turn the heater off before going to bed.
- Older adults need all the warning opportunities available. Install smoke alarms at every risk location; at each sleeping area, in the basement, the garage, and each level of your home. Use alarms with especially loud signals or flashing lights. Test them each month and replace the batteries twice a year.
- Take care in the kitchen; the kitchen is a high-risk area for fire. Cooking carelessly can be dangerous. Never leave cooking foods unattended and always turn the pot handles in to avoid accidental spills. Use a timer with a loud buzzer alarm to remind you when burners or the oven need to be turned off. Use kitchen mitts or pot holders for protection from burns. NEVER wear loose fitting clothing around the stove. In case of a grease fire, use a lid to smother the flames. NEVER USE WATER.
- Plan your escape. Know two ways to escape from every room! Practice to avoid confusion in an emergency. Remember, during a fire the breathable air is close to the floor, so crawl low under smoke. Once you get out, stay out and call 9-1-1 from a neighbor's home. Keep your glasses, flashlight and keys by your bed.
- Get help. If you can't get out, don't panic. Use the telephone if you can, to call for help, or signal from a window to attract attention to your location. Have a neighbor check on you in an emergency. Test the doors for heat. Be sure the doors on your escape route are safe to open by testing for heat. First press the back of your hand lightly against the door. If it feels hot, do not open it. Use your alternate route.
- Your clothing begins to burn or smolder, don't panic. STOP walking or running so you won't fan the flames. Get down on the floor quickly, then cover your face with your hands and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cool burns with cold water and seek medical assistance.
- After you have successfully followed your escape route and are safely outside, get as far away from the building as you can. NEVER go back inside, not for ANYTHING OR ANYBODY!
- Make sure you have ensured your safety at home by knowing what to do in case of a fire.
|How to Prevent Falls for Older Adults
Statistics show that falls are the leading cause of death from unintentional injury in the home. The Skokie Fire Department urges older adults to follow these simple fall prevention tips to keep you on your feet:
- Exercise regularly. This will help your bones stay strong. Never start an exercise program before checking with your doctor.
- Take your time. Think before you make a move. Get out of chairs and bed slowly. Sit; get your balance before you stand up.
- Keep stairs and hallways clear. Remove all clutter from stairs and walking areas. Discard any unused or unwanted items to avoid excessive accumulation.
- Keep an eye on your eyesight. See an eye doctor once a year. Poor vision can greatly increase your chance of falling. Make sure your home lighting is adequate. Use night lights and always turn lights on before going up and down stairs (remember to use the handrails).
- Use grab bars. Have grab bars installed in your bathroom. Use them on the wall next to a bathtub, shower, and toilet (use non-slip mats inside the tub and shower). Avoid spills by wiping them up as soon as they occur.
- Don't be thrown by your rugs. Use only throw rugs with non-skid backing. Look out for folds in your carpeting. If necessary, have it re-stretched to avoid falls.
- Check stairway treads. Stairways need to be well lit. Have an easy to grip handrail the full length of the stairway (on both sides), and use it every time you use the stairs.
- Take care of your feet. Wear low heeled, sturdy shoes with non-slip soles. Be careful when wearing athletic shoes, slippers, or stocking feet. See a Podiatrist if issues arise.
|Portable Fire Extinguishers
Portable fire extinguishers are not designed to fight large fires, but they can be useful for small, contained household fires. It is important to know how to operate a fire extinguisher. You must remember the following:
In case of a fire, remember P.A.S.S. – Pull – Aim – Squeeze – Sweep
PULL – pull the pin
AIM - aim the extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire
SQUEEZE – squeeze or press the handles
SWEEP – sweep from side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out
If you have any doubts on when you should use the extinguisher, don't. Leave the house and dial 9-1-1 from a neighbor's house.
|What You Should Know About Juvenile Firesetting
||Many young children are fascinated by matches and lighters but do not know about fire's destructive consequences. Children may set fires because of curiosity or accidentally because of poor judgment. Children need parental supervision and education about fire safety.
If you discover burnt matches or other fire-starting materials, or have any reason to suspect that your child has set a fire, you should take immediate action. Help is available through the Skokie Fire Department. A Certified Juvenile Firesetter Intervention Specialist is available to talk to you and your child. For confidential assistance, call the Skokie Fire Department 847-982-5340.
Help is also available at http://www.ifsa.org or the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance at 847/390-0911
|Fire Safety for Kids
||Set a good example for your child by following basic fire and life safety guidelines:
- Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children.
- Store flammable liquids properly and away from children.
- Never leave young children unsupervised.
- Install and maintain smoke detectors.
|Questions & Answers About Emergency Vehicles For Safer Driving
Ten important questions and answers every motorist should know about emergency vehicles to become a more knowledgeable driver.
Q. What steps should drivers take to ensure they can hear the approach of an emergency vehicle?
When windows are closed, drivers should remain alert for flashing lights by looking in their rear view mirrors. Radio or stereo systems should be set at a level that allows sirens or horns to be heard. Cellular phone users should concentrate on safely operating the vehicle and maintain an awareness of their surroundings. Motorists with cellular phones should use hands-free features, such as speakerphone and voice dialing, or have a passenger dial the call.
Q. Should motorists stop when they see or hear an emergency vehicle approaching with emergency lights and siren operating?
Yes. Upon the approach of any emergency vehicle giving audible signal by siren, the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way by pulling to the right-hand side of the roadway until the emergency vehicle has passed.
Q. What should drivers do on a multi-lane road when they are in the middle lane and the emergency vehicle is in the right lane?
Pull over to the left side of the road and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Always use common sense when driving on a multi-lane road.
Q. When drivers approach an emergency vehicle scene, what precautions should they take?
Do not make the emergency scene worse. Drivers should maintain a safe driving speed, keep their eyes on the road and follow directions from authorized personnel. Be aware that other emergency vehicles may be approaching the scene.
Q. At a fire scene, can motorists drive over a fire hose stretched across the street?
No, unless a fire department official gives them permission.
Q. What should drivers be aware of when approaching a fire station?
Upon approaching a fire station, motorists should be aware that fire department vehicles may be entering the street responding to a call for help. If this happens to you -- STOP - and allow the emergency vehicle or vehicles to proceed.
Q. Is it illegal to follow an emergency vehicle too closely when the warning lights and siren are operating?
YES. A driver should not follow an authorized emergency vehicle responding to a call or alarm closer than 500 feet. A driver should not park his or her vehicle within 300 feet of fire department vehicles that have stopped at an emergency scene. Also, do not attempt to follow an ambulance that is transporting a patient to the hospital.
Q. Do pedestrians have the right-of-way over an emergency vehicle responding with lights and siren operating?
NO. Pedestrians should remain on the sidewalk and wait until the emergency vehicle has passed. Pedestrians should always exercise caution and be aware of their safety.
Q. While responding to a call for help, what can emergency vehicles do that motorists cannot?
An operator of an emergency vehicle must have warning lights and siren operating to do the following: Exceed the speed limit, proceed through stop signs and stop lights, travel in opposing traffic lanes, and drive the wrong way on a one-way street. While emergency vehicles can disregard traffic laws, operators must drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using roadways.
Q. When an emergency vehicle is approaching me on a divided highway, do drivers have to pull to the right and stop?
NO, because the road is separated by a barrier or median. Occasionally an emergency vehicle may travel in the wrong direction on a divided highway. If this occurs, reduce your speed, yield the right of way and proceed cautiously.
|For the Business Owner – Ten Common Code Violations and 10 Easy Solutions
- Are there obstructions in exit and passageways that would interfere with quick and safe egress? If so, remove any and all obstructions.
- Are your exit and emergency lights illuminated and in good working order? If not, provide new light bulbs and/or batteries.
- Are your fire extinguishers mounted and do they display a current annual certification tag? If not, hang them on approved brackets, clearly visible and have them certified annually.
- Are your fire alarm and sprinkler systems working? A monthly test to ensure that they are operating is a good idea; however, an annual certified test of both systems is required.
- Are your smoke detectors working? Make sure they are clean and tested monthly. Replace batteries and/or detectors as needed.
- Do you keep your fire doors closed? Fire doors must be kept in a "closed" position or held open by a magnetic device. Do not use door stops, wedges or anything else that would prevent the doors from closing in the event of a fire.
- Are your self-closing fire doors maintained? Conduct a fire alarm test to ensure these doors operate properly.
- Are you using extension cords? Extension cords may only be used for temporary basis and can never be used as permanent wiring. They can not extend through walls, ceilings, floors, under or through doors and floor coverings. They can not be plugged into one another.
- Is your electrical panel clearly labeled? Are all junction boxes covered? If not, make sure they are and be certain firefighters can gain access to your panel in the event of an emergency situation where power might need to be shut off.
- Is the clearance in front of electrical boxes at least 36 inches? Is there storage in furnace rooms? If so, correct by removing and discarding items.
Inspection/Test Fees (Sec. 46-127)
Hydrant Flow Test $100
Annual Pump Test $100
Hydrostatic Test $100
Fire alarm Test $100
Sprinkler system per Riser $50
Fire Prevention Bureau Information Fees (Sec. 46-31)
Copy of Report $5
Subpoena of records $25
Freedom of Information $0.20 per page copy fee
Photograph Copy $5 per photo
Alarm Systems and Users (Sec.46-74)
Original permit issuance fee: $15
Annual permit fee after first year: $10
Reinstatement fee: $50
Fees for false alarms:
For each false alarm in a calendar year after two: $50
For each false alarm in a calendar year after five: $100
For each false alarm in a calendar year after seven: $200
(Code 1979, 37.20)
|Do I Need a "Knox Box"?
||If you own a business or large residential building you are required to obtain a Knox Box. A Knox Box is for fire/law enforcement to gain rapid entry into a building. In an emergency, lack of immediate access can endanger lives and cause property damage from fire, smoke, water, and forcible entry.
This box usually contains all necessary keys, pass cards, and other relevant items to ensure after-hour entry should emergencies occur. The "Knox Box" system is a secure and established system that is used throughout the country.
For information or to get a Knox Box application, contact the Fire Prevention Bureau at 847/982-5340.
|Do I Need a Residential Fire Sprinkler System?
In January 2005, in accordance with NFPA 13-D, the Village of Skokie adopted a Residential Fire Sprinkler Ordinance. This requires all new one and two family dwellings to install and maintain a fire sprinkler system. All work must be done by an Illinois State Fire Marshal Licensed Sprinkler Contractor.
What You Should Know About Automatic Fire Sprinkler Systems
Automatic sprinkler systems supply water to a network of individual sprinklers, each protecting the area below from fire. These sprinklers open automatically in response to high heat and spray water on the fire. Sprinklers control fires quickly and efficiently and reduce the smoke and toxic gases.
Many people resist the idea of home sprinkler systems due to some common misconceptions, but the truth is:
- Only sprinklers near the fire discharge. Your entire house will not be flooded due to a small fire in a confined area. Fires are usually contained by the operation of just one sprinkler.
- Water damage from accidental sprinkler release is no more likely than water damage from your household plumbing system.
- Sprinklers attack a fire before it spreads, so there is usually less water damage than if the fire department had to fight the fire at a more advanced stage.
- Modern sprinklers can be inconspicuous with fixtures mounted almost flush with walls or ceilings.
|What You Should Know About High-rise Safety
Skokie has added some new heights to the horizon. High-rise buildings are popping up all over. The Skokie Fire Department wants you to know that high-rise buildings are among the safest places to live these days. High-rise fires start from the same causes as fires in other kind of homes; among the most common causes are heating equipment, smoking, electrical systems, cooking, carelessness, and arson. To save lives and minimize property damage, the fire safety features of your building must be respected and maintained.
Alarms, Emergency Lighting and Sprinkler Systems
Know who is responsible for maintaining these systems in your building. Make sure that nothing blocks or interferes with these devices, and promptly report any sign of damage or malfunction to building management.
Keep Exits Clear
Never lock or block doorways, hallways, or stairwells. FIRE DOORS not only will provide a safe way out, they may stop the spread of fire and smoke. NEVER PROP OR WEDGE FIRE DOORS OPEN.
Learn your building evacuation plans. Check to see if evacuation plans are posted throughout the building. Learn the sound of the fire alarms. Are there two escape routes? Prepare yourself by counting the number of doors between your unit and the two nearest exits. Know where your buildings fire alarm pull stations are, and know how to use them. Post emergency numbers.
If There is a Fire
With large numbers of people evacuating at the same time – some of them from upper floors – cooperation is most important. If you discover fire, sound the alarm and call 9-1-1. If you can hear instructions over your building's public address system, listen carefully and follow instructions; you may be able to stay where you are. Follow your building's evacuation plans, unless doing so puts you in danger.
If you have to leave the Building
Leave quickly; close all doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke. If you have to escape through smoke, crawl low under the smoke; keep your head one to two feet above the floor, where the air will be the cleanest. Test the door knob and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm do not open it.
Never Use the Elevator
Once you are out do not go back in to the building unless directed to do so by the fire department.
If you are Unable to Escape
If you are unable to escape to safety call the fire department to let them know where you are. If the fire is not in your area, close all doors and stay put. If there is fire or smoke go to another room with an outside window, and sit on the floor and wait. Stuff the cracks around the door and cover vents with towels or cloth to keep out smoke. Wait at the window and signal for help with a flashlight or light –colored cloth. If possible, open the window a small amount. Do not break the window. Be ready to close the window if smoke gets in. Encourage your building management to conduct an emergency evacuation drill.
Practice and prevention are your best defense against emergency situations!
||Spring and Summer
Spring cleaning? The days are getting warmer and longer so now is a good time to get rid of all that extra trash, boxes, piles of clothing and other combustibles that can start a fire. The Skokie Fire Department suggests you clean out storage areas on a regular basis. Don't give fire a place to start. A clean house is a safe house. Make sure that you store gasoline and other flammables outside your home. Store oily, greasy rags in labeled, sealed metal containers. Never use flammable liquids near sparks, heat, or open flames such as a pilot light or while smoking. Note: Flammable liquids include linseed oil, gasoline, paints, paint thinner, strippers, acetone and adhesives. Never use an open flame after spilling flammable liquid on your hands or clothing.
Store unused charcoal in a cool, dry place as damp coal can ignite itself. Be careful when barbecuing. Use caution with hot coals and lighter fluid, and dispose of properly.
Tornado - Watch or Warning?
A WATCH is whenever there is a potential for severe storms or tornadoes in your immediate area.
A WARNING indicates the presence of a tornado or a severe storm. Once a warning is issued, immediately seek shelter. A warning is usually indicated to the local community by the constant sounding of the warning sirens. These sirens are tested on the first Tuesday morning of every month at 10:00 a.m.. Become familiar with the sounds.
Tornado - MYTHS and FACTS
MYTH: Open the windows before seeking shelter.
FACT: While once thought to be correct, opening the windows has no benefit because it is sheer wind power which destroys buildings.
MYTH: High-rise buildings disrupt tornadoes.
FACT: Tornadoes can reach heights of 40,000 feet. High-rise buildings have no impact on storms this large.
MYTH: The southwest corner of the basement is the safest place to be.
FACT: The safest place to be is in the center of the basement under a strong table or other heavy furniture. Debris has been found to collect in the corners of basements.
MYTH: Radar can pinpoint the exact location of a tornado.
FACT: While Doppler radar has increased the accuracy of predictions, the weather service is still only able to predict the general areas that may get tornadoes or severe storms.
MYTH: A car can outrun a tornado and is a safe place to be.
FACT: A tornado's speed and direction can change suddenly and quickly. You should seek shelter in a building or in a low area of the ground.
The following safety suggestions will help you and your family have a worry free winter.
- Have furnaces, wood stoves and chimneys cleaned and inspected by qualified personnel before the heating season begins.
- If you have frozen pipes, do not attempt to thaw them with a torch or open flame.
- Make sure there are operating smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms throughout your home, and develop a family escape plan.
- Keep the area around the furnace and hot water heater free of clutter.
- If the pilot light on your furnace or water heater goes out, relight it carefully, following the manufacturer's instructions, or have a qualified person relight it.
- Clean lint from your dryer before each load.
- If a fuse or breaker blows, find the cause.
- Never use an open flame (i.e. lighted match, lighter, or candle) to illuminate a dark area such as a closet.
- Discard trash regularly so that it does not accumulate.
- If using a fireplace, burn only small loads of wood or follow instructions when using artificial logs. Use a metal fireplace screen or tempered glass door enclosure. Be sure the fire goes out before going to bed or leaving the home. NEVER burn newspapers or gift wrappings in the fireplace; they create high, hot flames that can start a chimney fire.
- Remember, when the holidays arrive – FIRE NEVER TAKES A HOLIDAY
- Use care when using candles. Keep them away from other flammables. Place candles where they cannot be knocked over or reached by children and pets.
- If you purchase a live tree, cut off about two inches of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better absorption of water. Keep the tree stored outside the house until you are ready to decorate. Keep it watered. Check out your lights before placing them on a tree or around your house. DO NOT OVERLOAD OUTLETS with excessive extension cord use.
|National Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week marks the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of October 8-9, 1871. This historic blaze raged for several days and killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings.
Each October, the National Fire Protection Association sponsors a Fire Prevention Campaign. For more information on this year's Fire Prevention Week please click here.