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Fire Safety Tips
Handling Gasoline
Use extreme caution whenever you store gasoline, which is a flammable liquid that gives off vapors that are easily ignited with a spark or small flame. Gasoline should only be used as a motor fuel and never as a degreaser or cleaning solvent. Using gasoline for any other purpose other than motor fuel is dangerous, and gasoline should be stored in tightly capped containers intended for that use. Gasoline should be stored in a garage or an outdoor shed, but never in the basement or home itself.

Avoiding Smoke Inhalation
Most people have a natural fear of fires and burns but feel relatively safe in smoke. However, the Tinley Park Fire Department warns that smoke is the real killer in fire. About eight out of every 10 fire deaths are attributed to breathing poisonous smoke and gases. Some victims never even see the flames.

Since smoke is lighter than air, it rises. In buildings, smoke goes to the ceiling first and then back down. It winds up stairs and down hallways. To prevent smoke inhalation, get low and go. Crawl to the nearest exit as quickly as possible, and once out of the building, stay out. Although you can’t see it, smoke is filled with toxic gases.

Plastics in particular give off a highly poisonous gas when burned. Since most homes have large amounts of plastic furnishings and contents, these fires can be deadly. Smoke also contains carbon dioxide, a tasteless, odorless gas that causes confusion, reduced mental capacity and eventually death. It is important to stay low to avoid breathing a large amount of these poisons.

Maintaining Smoke Detectors
It also is important to install and maintain smoke detectors to provide early warning to fire and smoke. Exposure to smoke for even a few seconds or minutes can be fatal. Smoke detectors give you the extra edge you need to escape safely. Every family should have a home fire escape plan that includes the use of smoke detectors and knowledge of the “Stay Low and Go” method. Even young children can be taught to respond properly.

No matter where a fire is – in a home, shopping center, hotel, office, church or anywhere – your response should be the same: Get down on your hands and knees below the smoke and crawl to safety!