Earthquake Fire Safety

Fire Earthquake

Some Types of Fire Related Hazards Present During and After an Earthquake

  • Appliances, furniture, and household products can shift, fall, and spill.
  • Gas, chemical and electrical hazards may be present.
  • Leaking gas lines, damaged or leaking gas propane containers, and leaking vehicle gas tanks could explode or ignite.
  • Pools of water or even appliances can be electrically charged.

FEMA Earthquake Fire Safety Fact Sheet

Chemical Safety

  • Look for flammable liquids like gasoline, lighter fluid, and paint thinner that may have spilled.
  • Thoroughly clean the spill and place containers in a well-ventilated area.
  • Keep combustible liquids away from heat sources.

Electrical Safety

  • If you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.
  • Look for items that might have jarred loose during the earthquake.
  • Appliances or power connectors could create a fire hazard.
  • Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds.
  • Look for and replace frayed or cracked extension and appliance cords, loose prongs, and plugs.
  • Exposed outlets and wiring could present a fire and life safety hazard.
  • Appliances that emit smoke or sparks should be repaired or replaced.
  • Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage.

Gas Safety

  • Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house and leave the door(s) open.
  • Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion.
  • Before turning the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.

Generator Safety

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using generators.
  • Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors.
  • Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
  • Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
  • Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or ‘backfeed’ can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.

Heating Safety

  • Kerosene heaters may not be legal in your area and should only be used where approved by authorities.
  • Do not use the kitchen oven range to heat your home. In addition to being a fire hazard, it can be a source of toxic fumes.
  • Alternative heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least 3 feet away.
  • Make sure your alternative heaters have ‘tip switches.’ These ‘tip switches’ are designed to automatically turn off the heater in the event they tip over.
  • Only use the type of fuel recommended by the manufacturer and follow suggested guidelines.
  • Never refill a space heater while it is operating or still hot.
  • Refuel heaters only outdoors.
  • Make sure wood stoves are properly installed, and at least 3 feet away from combustible materials. Ensure they have the proper floor support and adequate ventilation.
  • Use a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks from igniting nearby carpets, furniture or other combustible items.

and Remember…

  • Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
  • Some smoke alarms may be dependent on your home’s electrical service and could be inoperative during a power outage. Check to see if your smoke alarm uses a back-up battery and install a new battery at least once a year.
  • Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of your home.
  • All smoke alarms should be tested monthly. All batteries should be replaced with new ones at least once a year.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home, keep it clear of debris for easy access by the fire department.

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