Safety and Preparedness Tips


 After the Fire

Recovering from a fire may take a long time and many of the things you have to do will be new to you.

If you are not insured, your recovery from a fire loss most likely will be dependent upon your own resources. Private organizations that can help include the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and you also could talk with your church. Whether you rent or own, it is important to be insured!

Insurance Information
If you are insured, your insurance will be the most important single component in recovering from a fire loss. A number of coverages are available such as - homeowner's, tenant's or condominium owner's insurance policies.

Your insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurer. The insurer promises to do certain things for you. In turn, you have certain obligations.  Among your duties after a fire loss is to give immediate notice of the loss to the insurance company or the insurer's agent.

Protect the property from further damage by making sensible or necessary repairs such as covering holes in the roof or walls.  Take reasonable precautions against loss, such as draining water lines in winter if the house will be unheated for some time. The insurance company may refuse to pay losses that occur from not taking such reasonable care.

Make an inventory of damaged personal property showing in detail the quantity, description, original purchase price, purchase date, damage estimate and replacement cost.

Cooperate with the insurer or his/her adjuster by exhibiting the damaged property. Submit, within a stated time period (usually 30 - 60 days), a formal statement of loss. 

Such a statement should include: 
  • The time and cause of loss.
  • The names and addresses of those who have an interest in the property. These might include the mortgage holder, a separated or divorced spouse or a lien holder. 
  • Building plans and specifications of the original home and a detailed estimate for repairs. 
  • The damage inventory mentioned above. 
  • Receipts for additional living expenses and loss of use claims. 
Valuing Your Property
A pre-fire inventory along with a videotape of all your property could prove to be a valuable record when making your claim.
When adjusting your fire loss or in claiming a casualty loss on your Federal income tax, you will have to deal with various viewpoints on the value of your property.
Some terms used are listed below:  
  • Your "personal valuation" is your attachment to and personal valuation of your property lost in a fire.  Personal items have a certain sentimental value. This term is not meant to belittle their value to you but is used to separate feelings about the value from objective measures of value. It will be objective measures of value which you, the insurer, and the Internal Revenue Service will use as a common ground. 
  • The "cost when purchased" is an important element in establishing an item's final value.  Receipts will help verify the cost price. 
  • Fair market value before the fire also is expressed as "actual cash value." This is what you could have gotten for the item if you had sold it the day before the fire.  Its price would reflect its cost at purchase and the wear it had sustained since then.  Depreciation is the formal term to express the amount of value an item loses over a period of time. 
  • "Value after the fire" is sometimes called the item's "salvage value." 
  • The cost to replace the item with a like, but not necessarily identical, item is the replacement cost.
Adjusting the Loss
"Loss adjustment" is the process of establishing the value of the damaged property.  This is the result of a joint effort among a number of parties.  Basic parties to the process are the owner or occupant and the insurance company and its representatives. 
The owner or occupant is required by the insurance contract to prepare an inventory and cooperate in the loss valuation process.  An insurance agent may act as the adjuster if the loss is small.  The insurer may send an adjuster who is a permanent member of the insurer's staff, or the company may hire an independent adjuster to act in its behalf.  It is the insurance adjuster's job, as a representative of the insurance company, to monitor and assist in the loss valuation process and to bring the loss to a just and equitable settlement. 
Either you or the insurer may hire the services of a fire damage restoration firm or fire damage service company. These firms provide a range of services that may include some or all of the following: 
  • Securing the site against further damage
  • Estimating structural damage
  • Repairing structural damage
  • Estimating the cost to repair or renew items of personal property
  • Packing, transportation, and storage of household items
  • Securing appropriate cleaning or repair subcontractors
  • Storing repaired items until needed
It is important to coordinate with the insurance adjuster before contracting for any services.  If you invade the insurer's responsibility area by contracting without their knowledge or consent, you may be left with bills to pay that otherwise would have been covered by the insurer. 
Replacement of Valuable Documents and Records:
Item  Who to Contact
Driver's license Local department of motor vehicles
Bank books Your bank, as soon as possible
Insurance policies Your insurance agent
Military discharge papers Local Veterans Administration
Passports Local passport office
Birth, death, and/or marriage Certificates State Bureau of Records in the State of birth, death or marriage
Divorce papers Circuit Court where decree was issued
Social Security or Medicare Cards Local Social Security Office
Credit Cards  The issuing companies, as soon as possible
Titles to deeds  Records dept of city or Cty in which property is located 
Stocks and bonds  Issuing company or your broker 
Wills  Your lawyer 
Medical records  Your doctor 
Warranties Issuing company 
Income tax records  Internal Revenue Service Center or your accountant 
Auto registration title  Department of Motor Vehicles 
Citizenship papers  The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service 
Prepaid burial contracts  Issuing company 
Animal registration papers  Society of registry 

Salvage Hints
Clothing. Smoke odor and soot sometimes can be washed from clothing. The following formula often will work for clothing that can be bleached: 
  • 4-6 tbsp. of Tri-Sodium Phosphate
  • 1 cup Lysol or any household chlorine bleach
  • 1 gallon warm water 
  • Mix well, add clothes, rinse with clear water, and dry well. 
Be aware that Tri-Sodium Phosphate is a caustic substance used as a cleaning agent.  It should be used with care and stored out of reach of children and pets.  Wear rubber gloves when using it.  Read the label carefully.  To remove mildew, wash the fresh stain with soap and warm water. Then rinse and dry in sun. If the stain has not disappeared, use lemon juice and salt, or a diluted solution of household chlorine bleach.
Cooking Utensils. Your pots, pans, flatware, etc., should be washed with soapy water, rinsed and then polished with a fine-powdered cleaner.  You can polish copper and brass with special polish, salt sprinkled on a piece of lemon or salt sprinkled on a cloth saturated with vinegar.
Electrical Appliances. Appliances that have been exposed to water or steam should not be used until you have a service representative check them.  This is especially true of electrical appliances.  In addition, steam can remove the lubricant from some moving parts.  If the fire department turned off your gas or power during the fire, call the electric or gas company to restore these services - Do Not Do It Yourself.
Food. Wash your canned goods in detergent and water.  Do the same for food in jars.  If labels come off, be sure you mark the contents on the can or jar with a grease pencil.  Do not use canned goods when cans have bulged or are dented or rusted. 
If your home freezer has stopped running, you still can save the frozen food.  Keep the freezer closed.  Your freezer has enough insulation to keep food frozen for at least one day - perhaps for as many as two or three days. Move your food to a neighbor's freezer or a rented locker.  Wrap the frozen food in newspapers and blankets or use insulated boxes.  Do not re-freeze food that has thawed. 
To remove odor from your refrigerator or freezer, wash the inside with a solution of baking soda and water, or use one cup of vinegar or household ammonia to one gallon of water.  Some baking soda in an open container or a piece of charcoal can be placed in the refrigerator or freezer to absorb odor.
Flooring and Rugs. When water gets underneath linoleum, it can cause odors and warp the wood floor.  If this happens, remove the entire sheet.  If the linoleum is brittle, a heat lamp will soften it so it can be rolled up without breaking.  If carefully removed, it can be re-cemented after the floor has completely dried.  Small blisters in linoleum can be punctured with a nail and re-cemented if you are careful. Dilute regular linoleum paste thin enough to go through a hand syringe and shoot adhesive through the nail hole.  Weigh down the linoleum with bricks or boards.  It usually is possible to cement loose tiles of any type.  Wait until the floor is completely dry before beginning. 
Rugs and carpets should also be allowed to dry thoroughly.  Throw rugs then can be cleaned by beating, sweeping or vacuuming, and then shampooing.  Rugs should be dried as quickly as possible.  Lay them flat, and expose them to a circulation of warm, dry air.  A fan turned on the rugs will speed drying.  Make sure the rugs are thoroughly dry.  Even though the surface seems dry, moisture remaining at the base of the tufts can quickly rot a rug.  For information on cleaning and preserving carpets, call your carpet dealer or installer or qualified carpet cleaning professional.
Mattresses and Pillows. Reconditioning an innerspring mattress at home is very difficult, if not impossible.  Your mattress may be able to be renovated by a company that builds or repairs mattresses.  If you must use your mattress temporarily, put it out in the sun to dry.  Then cover it with rubber or plastic sheeting.  It is almost impossible to get smoke odor out of pillows.  The feathers and foam retain the odor.
Leather and Books. Wipe leather goods with a damp cloth, then a dry cloth.  Stuff purses and shoes with newspapers to retain shape.  Leave suitcases open.  Leather goods should be dried away from heat and sun. When leather goods are dry, clean with saddle soap.  You can use steel wool or a suede brush on suede. Rinse leather and suede jackets in cold weather and dry away from heat and sun. 
Wet books must be taken care of as soon as possible.  The best method to save wet books is to freeze them in a vacuum freezer.  This special freezer will remove the moisture without damaging the pages.  If there will be a delay in locating such a freezer, place them in a normal freezer until a vacuum freezer can be located.
Locks and Hinges. Locks (especially iron locks) should be taken apart, wiped with kerosene and oiled.  If locks cannot be removed, squirt machine oil through a bolt opening or keyhole, and work the knob to distribute the oil.  Hinges also should be thoroughly cleaned and oiled.
Walls and Furniture. To remove soot and smoke from walls, furniture and floors, mix together: 
  • 4 to 6 tbsp. Tri-Sodium Phosphate
  • 1 cup Lysol or any chloride bleach
  • 1 gallon warm water   

Wear rubber gloves when cleaning. After washing the article, rinse with clear warm water and dry thoroughly. 
Walls may be washed down while wet. Use a mild soap or detergent. Wash a small area at one time, working from the floor up. Then rinse the wall with clear water immediately. Ceilings should be washed last. Do not repaint until the walls and ceilings are completely dry. 
Wallpaper also can be repaired. Use a commercial paste to re-paste loose edges or sections. Contact your wallpaper dealer or installer for information on wallpaper cleaners. Washable wallpaper can be washed like an ordinary wall, but care must be taken not to soak the paper.  Work from bottom to top to prevent streaking. 
Do not dry your furniture in the sun.  The wood will warp and twist out of shape.  Clear off the mud and dirt by scrubbing with a stiff brush and a cleaning solution.  You can also rub the wood surface with a 4/0 steel wool pad dipped in liquid polishing wax, wipe with a soft cloth and then buff. Remove the drawers and let them dry thoroughly so there will be no sticking when you replace them.  Wet wood can decay and mold, so allow it to dry thoroughly. Open doors and windows for good ventilation, and turn on your furnace or air conditioner, if necessary.  If mold forms, wipe the wood with a cloth soaked in a mixture of borax dissolved in hot water. To remove white spots or film, rub the wood surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup of household ammonia and a half cup of water. Wipe dry and polish with wax, or rub the surface with a cloth soaked in a solution of a half cup turpentine and a half cup of linseed oil.  Be careful because turpentine is combustible.
FEMA offers guidelines and a comprehensive checklist for those have experienced a home fire.
Money Replacement. Handle burned money as little as possible. Attempt to encase each bill or portion of a bill in plastic wrap for preservation. If money is only half-burned or less (if half or more of the bill is intact), you can take the remainder to your local Federal Reserve Bank for replacement. Ask your personal bank for the nearest one.  Or you can mail the burned or torn money via First Class Registered Mail To:  
U.S. Treasury Department
Main Treasury Building, Room 1123
Washington, D.C. 20220 
Mutilated or melted coins can be taken to the Federal Reserve Bank, or mailed via First Class Registered Mail To
Superintendent, U.S. Assay Office
32 Old Slip
New York, NY 10005 
If your U.S. Savings Bonds have been mutilated or destroyed, write to: 
U.S. Treasury Department
Bureau of Public Debt
Division of Loans and Currency
537 South Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60605
Attn: Bond Consultant 
Include name(s) on bonds, approximate date or time period when purchased, denominations and approximate number of each.

 Bedroom Fire Safety

Each year, fire claims the lives of approximately 4,000 Americans and injures approximately 25,000. Bedrooms are a common area of fire origin. Nearly 1,000 lives are lost to fires that start in bedrooms. Many of these fires are caused by misuse or poor maintenance of electrical devices, such as overloading extension cords or using portable space heaters too close to combustibles. Many other bedroom fires are caused by children who play with matches and lighters, careless smoking among adults, and arson.
The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority (AFMA) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from bedroom fires.
Children and Fire: A Bad Match
Children are one of the highest risk groups for deaths in residential fires. At home, children usually play with fire (lighters, matches, and other ignitable) in bedrooms, in closets, and under beds. These are "secret" places where there are a lot of things that catch fire easily.  
  • Children of all ages set over 100,000 fires annually. Over 30% of fires that kill children are set by children playing with fire. 
  • Every year over 800 children nine years and younger die in home fires. 
  • Keep matches and lighters locked up and away from children. Check under beds and in closets for burnt matches and any evidence your child may be playing with matches. 
  • Teach your child that fire is a tool, not a toy. 
Appliances Need Special Attention
Bedrooms are the most common room in the home where electrical fires start. Electrical fires are a special concern during winter months that call for more indoor activities and increases in lighting, heating, and appliance use. 
  • Do not trap electric cords against walls where heat can build up. 
  • Take extra care when using portable heaters. Keep bedding, clothes, curtains and other combustible items at least three feet away from space heaters. 
  • Only use lab-approved electric blankets and warmers. Check to make sure the cords are not frayed. 
Tuck Yourself In For A Safe Sleep
  • Never smoke in bed. 
  • Replace mattresses made before the 1973 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. Mattresses made since then are required by law to be safer. 
Finally, having working smoke alarms dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. Place at least one smoke alarm on each level of your home and in halls outside bedrooms. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.
Call the Authority at (623) 544-5400 for more information regarding bedroom fire safety or to schedule a free home safety inspection.

 Bites and Stings


Approximately 45,000 people are bitten by snakes every year in the United States. Of those, 7,000 involve poisonous snakes, and of those treated, only about 15 die. More than half of the poisonous snakebites involve children, and most occur between April and October. Of the poisonous bites in the United States, 55 percent are from rattlesnakes, 34 percent from copperheads, 10 percent from water moccasins, and one percent from coral snakes. Rattlesnake bites account for 70 percent of the fatalities and between 95 and 98 percent of the bites occur on extremities. Each year the Regional Poison Center has more than 65 calls about rattlesnake bites.

There are 11 species of rattlesnakes identified in Arizona. A pit viper snake has a heat sensing "pit" located between the nostril and eye on each side that is used to locate and trail prey. Rattlesnakes can grow up to six feet in length. Baby rattlesnakes are capable of a venomous bite from birth. Nonpoisonous snakebites are not considered serious and are generally treated as minor wounds; only poisonous snakebites are considered medical emergencies. 

Symptoms generally occur immediately, but only about one third of all bites manifest symptoms. When no symptoms occur, probably no venom was injected into the victim. In 50 percent of coral snake bites, no venom is injected because the coral snake has to chew the skin for envenomation to occur. In as many as 25 percent of all venomous pit viper bites, no venom is injected, possibly because the fangs may be injured, the venom sacs may be empty at the time of the bite, or the snake may not use the fangs when it strikes. Poisonous snakebite venom contains some of the most complex toxins known; venoms can affect the central nervous system, brain, heart, kidneys, and blood. 
Signs that indicate a poisonous snakebite include:
The bite consists of one or two distinct puncture wounds. Nonpoisonous snakes usually leave a series of small, shallow puncture wounds because they have teeth instead of fangs. The exception is the coral snake, which leaves a semicircular marking from its teeth. Because some poisonous snakes also have teeth, fang and teeth marks may be apparent. The presence of teeth marks does not rule out a poisonous bite, but the presence of fang marks always confirms a poisonous snakebite. 
Characteristics of pit viper snakes:
  • Large fangs (nonpoisonous snakes have small teeth). 
  • The two fangs of a poisonous snake are hollow and work like a hypodermic needle. 
  • Pupils resemble vertical slits. 
  • Presence of a pit. Pit vipers have a telltale pit between the eye and the mouth. The pit, a heat-sensing organ, makes it possible for the snake to accurately strike a warm-blooded victim, even if the snake cannot see the victim. 
  • A triangular or arrowhead shaped head. 
  • The rattlesnake often shakes its rattles as a warning, But Not Always!
One snake that is not a pit viper snake but is poisonous is the coral snake. The coral snake is highly poisonous and resembles a number of nonpoisonous snakes. It does not have fangs and has round pupils. Because its mouth is so small and its teeth are short, most coral snakes inflict bites on the toes and fingers. They have to chew the skin a while to inject venom. Coral snakes are small and ringed with red, yellow, and black. The chances for recovery of a snakebite are great if the patient receives care within two hours of the bite. 
You can decide how serious the bite is by considering several factors:
  • The age, size and general health of the patient. A small child will probably react much more severely to a smaller amount of venom than will an adult. Bites are most dangerous in children and the elderly. 
  • The depth, location and number of bites. A single, glancing blow by the fangs is much less dangerous than multiple wounds or wounds that penetrate the flesh deeply. A bite that penetrates a blood vessel is extremely dangerous. The least dangerous bites occur on the extremities and in fatty tissue. Bites on the head or trunk are usually fatal. 
  • The duration of the bite. The longer the bite, the greater the amount of venom that may be injected into the patient's system. 
  • Clothing. A snake that bites through several layers of clothing will not leave as much venom as a snake that strikes bare skin. 
  • Maturity, type, and size of the snake. Small snakes usually do not produce enough venom to seriously harm an adult.
  • Condition of the fangs and venom sacs. More venom will be injected if the fangs and venom sacs are in good condition.
  • How angry or fearful a snake is. More venom will be injected if the snake is angry or fearful.
Treatment for snake bite:
The severity of a pit viper bite is gauged by how rapidly symptoms develop, which depends on how much poison was injected. Signs and symptoms of a pit viper bite include: 
  1. Immediate and severe burning pain and swelling around the fang marks, usually within five minutes. The entire extremity generally swells within 8 to 36 hours. 
  2. Purplish discoloration around the bite, usually developing within two to three hours. 
  3. Numbness and possible blistering around the bite, generally within several hours. 
  4. Nausea and vomiting. 
  5. Rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, weakness, and fainting. 
  6. Numbness and tingling of the tongue and mouth. 
  7. Excessive sweating. 
  8. Fever and chills. 
  9. Muscular twitching. 
  10. Convulsions. 
  11. Dimmed vision. 
  12. Headache 
The priorities of emergency care for snakebite are to maintain basic life support - airway, breathing and circulation - and limit the spread of the venom and to transport the patient without delay. 
  1. Move the patient away from the snake to prevent repeated bites or bites to yourself. Snakes cannot sustain prolonged rapid movement so are often within a 20 foot radius of where the bite first occurred. 
  2. Have the patient lie down and keep him quiet. Reassure him to slow the metabolism and subsequent spread of the venom. 
  3. Cut and suck methods are useless. According to one study, the most you can get is six percent of the venom. Many people do far more damage when they cut than they do good. 
  4. Keep the bitten extremity at the level of the heart. 
  5. Remove any rings, bracelets or other jewelry that could impede circulation if swelling occurs. 
  6. Clean the wound gently with alcohol, soap and water, hydrogen peroxide or other mild antiseptic. 
  7. Do not cool or chill or apply ice. 
  8. Do not attempt to tie any type of tourniquet or constricting bands. 
  9. Transport the patient as soon as possible to the hospital. Signs and symptoms of a coral snake bite are different than those of a pit viper. Rather than leaving two distinct fang marks, the coral snake leaves one or more tiny scratch marks in the area of the bite. There is little pain or swelling and the patient's tissue usually does not turn black and blue. Usually, there is no pain or swelling at the bite site. However, one to eight hours after the bite, the patient will experience blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, increased salivation and sweating. Emergency care for a coral snake bite is similar to that for a pit viper snake bite.

Gila Monsters
Another poisonous creature in Arizona is the gila monster. The gila monster injects venom with a chewing motion. It has eight venom glands in the bottom of its mouth. The venom flows across the teeth with the chewing motions. The venom will attack the nervous system, and can cause pain, swelling and possibly low blood pressure. But it is mostly a local reaction. Treatment for a gila monster bite is similar to a pit viper snake bite. 

Prevention:  There are certain times of the year to be extra careful. In March and April, the snakes are becoming active and seeking warm sun. Snakes are born toward the end of July. They can bite with venom from birth. During the hot summer months, snakes are more active at night. Don't put your hands where you can't see. Walk around snakes. Don't challenge them or try to move them. If you need help moving one off your property, call the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center at 582-9806 or the Arizona Fish and Game Department at 942-3000.
Insect / Spider Bites
Insect bites and stings are common, and most are considered minor. It is only when the insect is poisonous or when the patient has an allergic reaction and runs the risk of developing anaphylactic shock that the situation becomes an emergency. Even under those conditions, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment can save lives and prevent permanent tissue damage.

The normal reaction to an insect sting is a sharp, stinging pain followed by an itchy, swollen, painful raised area. The swelling may be there for several days but usually goes away within 24 hours. Local reactions are rarely serious or life-threatening and can be treated with cold compresses.

However, there are some people who have allergic reactions to "normal" insect stings. Approximately 50 people die each year in the United States from insect stings. This is more than all other bites combined including snakebites. Thousands of people are allergic to bee, wasp, and hornet stings. Insect stings can be deadly for those people, on the average, within 10 minutes of the sting but almost always within the first hour.

The stinging insects that most commonly cause allergic reactions belong to a group of the hymenoptera, the insects with membranous wings. These include bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. Stings from wasps and bees are the most common.

Black Widow Spider
The black widow is a spider with a shiny black body, thin legs and an hourglass shaped red/white mark on its abdomen. The female is much larger than the male and is one of the largest spiders in the United States. Males generally do not bite. Females bite only when hungry, agitated or protecting the egg sac. The black widow is not aggressive. They are usually found in dry, secluded, dimly lit areas. More than 80 percent of all bite victims are adult men.

Black widow spider bites are the leading cause of death from spider bites in the United States. The venom is 14 times more toxic than rattlesnake venom. It is a neurotoxin that causes little local reaction but does cause pain and spasms in the larger muscle groups of the body within 30 minutes to three hours. Severe bites can cause respiratory failure, coma and death.

Those at the highest risk are children under age 16, the elderly, people with chronic illness and people with high blood pressure. Signs and symptoms of a black widow spider bite (symptoms usually last 24 to 48 hours):

  1. A pinprick sensation at the bite site, becoming a dull ache within 30 to 40 minutes. 
  2. Pain and spasms in the shoulders, back, chest, and abdominal muscles within 30 minutes to three hours. 
  3. Rigid, boardlike abdomen. 
  4. Restlessness and anxiety. 
  5. Fever. 
  6. Rash. 
  7. Headache. 
  8. Vomiting and nausea. 
  9. Flushing. 
  10. Sweating. 
  11. Grimacing.

  1. Treat for shock 
  2. Apply a cold compress but do not apply ice 
  3. Transport to hospital as quickly as possible
Brown Spiders
There are two types of brown spiders or brown recluse spiders in Arizona. They often are called violin spiders because of the characteristic "violin-shaped" marking on the upper back. They are generally brown but can range in color from yellow to dark brown. They are timid with webs in dry undisturbed areas. The Arizona species is not the same as the brown recluse spider in the Midwest.

The bite of the brown spider is a serious medical condition. The bite is non-healing and causes tissue death. Sometimes surgery is necessary. The bite causes only a mild stinging sensation if any at all. Victims are often unaware they have been bitten. Several hours after the bite, the following signs and symptoms begin to result:

  1. A small white area appears surrounded by a margin of redness which may produce a mild itching pain. 
  2. A blister appears surrounded by mild swelling and redness. 
  3. A "bulls-eye" or "target" lesion develops.
  4. There may be fever, chills, rash, hives, nausea and pain in the joints over the next few days.
The target lesion will enlarge over the next few days and produce extensive tissue death. There is no antivenom. The lesion will have to be soaked in antispetic and possibly antibiotics. Surgery may be necessary to cut out the dead tissue. 
There are many species of scorpions found in Arizona but only one is potentially lethal. This is the bark scorpion. It is one of the smaller species being one to one and a half inches long. It prefers places dark and cool, wood piles, palm trees, and decorative bark. The severity of the sting depends on the amount of venom injected, but scorpion stings can be fatal. Ninety percent of all scorpion stings occur on the hands. 
The lethal scorpion is very slender and streamlined. It is straw-colored or nearly opaque, small, less than two inches long. Signs and symptoms of scorpion stings include: 
  1. Sharp pain at the site of the sting. 
  2. Swelling that gradually spreads. 
  3. Discoloration. 
  4. Nausea and vomiting. 
  5. Restlessness. 
  6. Drooling. 
  7. Poor coordination. 
  8. Incontinence. 
  9. Seizures.
  1. Apply ice to relieve the pain of the sting .
  2. Be sure the victim's airway stays clear. 
  3. Transport to a hospital. A specific antivenom is available.
Africanized Honey Bees
Africanized honey bees were imported to Brazil in 1956 to enhance honey production in the tropics. Some of the bees escaped into the wild and have gradually moved towards North America. 

Africanized honey bees are the temperamental cousin of the more common European honey bee found in Arizona. They are often called "killer bees", but in reality, their stings are less potent and painful than the common bee sting. Contrary to portrayal in the movies, these bees do not swoop down in mass causing death and destruction. They do defend their nesting sites very aggressively, sometimes stinging their victims hundreds of times.

It is impossible for the average person to tell the difference between an Africanized honey bee and the common European honey bee. Only an expert with sophisticated lab equipment is able to distinguish between the two. Those at highest risk are individuals who are allergic to bee stings and pets that are penned or tied up near honey bee hives.

Do's and Don'ts
  • DO check your property regularly for bee colonies. Honey bees nest in a wide variety of places, especially Africanized honey bees. Check animal burrows, water meter boxes, overturned flower pots, trees and shrubs. 
  • DO keep pets and children indoors when using weed eaters, hedge clippers, tractor power mowers, chain saws, etc. Attacks frequently occur when a person is mowing the lawn or pruning shrubs and inadvertently strikes a bee's nest. 
  • DO avoid excessive motion when near a colony. Bees are much more likely to respond to an object in motion than a stationary one. 
  • DON'T pen, tie or tether animals near bee hives or nests. 
  • DON'T destroy bee colonies or hive, especially with pesticides. Honey bees are a vital link to U.S. agriculture. Each year, pollination by honey bees add at least $10 billion to the value of more than 90 crops. They also produce about $150 million worth of honey each year. 
  • DON'T remove bees yourself. If you want bees removed, search the Internet or look in the yellow pages under "bee removal" or "beekeepers". 
What to do if you are attacked: 
  1. Run as quickly as you can away from the bees. Do not flail or swing your arms at them, as this may further annoy them. 
  2. Because bees target the head and eyes, cover your head as much as you can without slowing your escape. 
  3. Get to the shelter or closest house or car as quickly as possible. Don't worry if a few bees become trapped in your home. If several bees follow you into your car, drive about a quarter of a mile and let the bees out of the car.

When to call for help:
Call the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority (AFMA) only when emergency medical services are needed. If someone has been stung by many bees at once or has an allergic reaction to a bee sting, call 9-1-1. Call AFMA if someone has become trapped in a building or car with lots of bees. Fire trucks are equipped with a foam that can be sprayed on the bees to drown them. DO NOT call AFMA to remove bee colonies or hives. If you want bees removed, search the Internet or look in the yellow pages under "bee removal" or "beekeepers". 
Treating stings from Africanized bees is much the same as treating a common bee sting. How to treat stings from Africanized bees: 
  1. Keep the affected area below the heart. 
  2. If the sting was by a bee and the stinger is still in the skin, remove it by gently scraping against it with your fingernail, a credit card or a knife. Be careful not to squeeze the stinger. The venom sac will still be attached and you will inject additional venom into the area. Be sure to remove the venom sac. 
  3. Apply cold compresses to relieve pain and swelling but do not apply ice directly. 
  4. If it becomes difficult to breathe, call 9-1-1. Itching should quit within a few hours. If it persists beyond two days, or if signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction occur after an insect bite you should be seen by a doctor. The signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction include: 
    • Burning pain and itching at the bite site. 
    • Itching on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. 
    • Itching on the neck and the groin. 
    • General body swelling. 
    • A nettlelike rash over the entire body. 
    • Difficulty breathing. 
    • Faintness, weakness. 
    • Nausea. 
    • Shock. 
    • Unconsciousness.

 Brush / Wildland Fire - Home Preparedness

The winter and spring rains typically result in a lot of vegetation around the Valley. But as temperatures climb, the vegetation dries out… and becomes a serious fire risk. Don’t let your home or property fall victim to a brush fire. Be sure to maintain your property and landscaping in a fire-wise condition. 
  • Keep weeds and grass cut. 
  • Remove dead and piled up vegetation, and dispose of it properly. 
  • Properly dispose of trash and debris. Piles of refuse such as old furniture, boxes and pallets are fires waiting to happen. Even old cars can burn! 
  • Stack firewood away from structures, fences or anything else that may be combustible.
If you live in an outlying or more rural area, consider these additional steps:
  • Create at least a 30-ft. safety zone or firebreak around your home. 
  • Limit the use of flammable plants in landscape design. Choose fire resistant varieties. 
  • Plant trees and large shrubs in sparse, separate areas. 
  • Limit the use of trees and shrubs that have large volumes of foliage and branches. 
  • Limit the use of plants that have shaggy bark or dry leaves that shed annually. 
  • Limit the use of plants that develop dry or dead undergrowth. 
  • Limit the placement of plants next to structures, under eaves, overhangs, decks, etc. 
  • Limit the use of plants placed at the bases of trees or large shrubs. 
  • Remove ladder fuels (plants that provide a link between the ground and tree limbs).
Maintenance Hints:
  • Conduct regular maintenance to reduce the opportunity for brush fires. 
  • Remove low hanging branches. Also, remove tree limbs around chimneys. 
  • Keep the roof clear. Sweep gutters and eaves, and wash the roof on a regular basis to get rid of dry needles and leaves. 
  • Control the height of ground vegetation and mow the grass often. 
  • Remove dead and accumulated vegetation, and dispose of it properly. 
  • Provide enough water to keep plants healthy and green. Keep irrigation systems in good working order. 
  • Top trees only when necessary as topping creates too many lower branches that can increase the fire danger. 
  • Remove or thin the dead wood and the older trees beyond 100 feet from the house. 
  • Store and use flammable liquids properly. 
  • ALWAYS dispose of cigarettes carefully.


The Authority supports FEMA's Fire is Everyone's Fight Campaign.

 Burn Emergencies

One of the most painful injuries that one can ever experience is a burn injury. When a burn occurs to the skin, nerve endings are damaged causing intense feelings of pain. Every year, millions of people in the United States are burned in one way or another. Of those, thousands die as a result of their burns. Many require long-term hospitalization. Burns are a leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, exceeded in numbers only by automobile crashes and falls.
Serious burns are complex injuries. In addition to the burn injury itself, a number of other functions may be affected. Burn injuries can affect muscles, bones, nerves, and blood vessels. The respiratory system can be damaged, with possible airway obstruction, respiratory failure and respiratory arrest. Since burns injure the skin, they impair the body's normal fluid/electrolyte balance, body temperature, body thermal regulation, joint function, manual dexterity, and physical appearance. In addition to the physical damage caused by burns, patients also may suffer emotional and psychological problems that begin at the emergency scene and could last a long time. 
Classifying Burns
Burns are classified in two ways: Method and degree of burn.

Methods are:
  • Thermal - including flame, radiation, or excessive heat from fire, steam, and hot liquids and hot objects.
  • Chemical - including various acids, bases, and caustics.
  • Electrical - including electrical current and lightning.
  • Light - burns caused by intense light sources or ultraviolet light, which includes sunlight.
  • Radiation - such as from nuclear sources. Ultraviolet light is also a source of radiation burns. 
Never assume the source of a burn. Gather information and be sure. 
Degrees are: 
  • First-degree burns are superficial injuries that involve only the epidermis or outer layer of skin. They are the most common and the most minor of all burns. The skin is reddened and extremely painful. The burn will heal on its own without scarring within two to five days. There may be peeling of the skin and some temporary discoloration. 
  • Second-degree burns occur when the first layer of skin is burned through and the second layer, the dermal layer, is damaged but the burn does not pass through to underlying tissues. The skin appears moist and there will be deep intense pain, reddening, blisters and a mottled appearance to the skin. Second-degree burns are considered minor if they involve less than 15 percent of the body surface in adults and less than 10 percent in children. When treated with reasonable care, second-degree burns will heal themselves and produce very little scarring. Healing is usually complete within three weeks. 
  • Third degree burns involve all the layers of the skin. They are referred to as full thickness burns and are the most serious of all burns. These are usually charred black and include areas that are dry and white. While a third-degree burn may be very painful, some patients feel little or no pain because the nerve endings have been destroyed. This type of burn may require skin grafting. As third degree burns heal, dense scars form.
Determining the Severity of Burns
  • Source of the burn. A minor burn caused by nuclear radiation is more severe than a burn caused by thermal sources. Chemical burns are dangerous because the chemical may still be on the skin. 
  • Body regions burned.  Burns to the face are more severe because they could affect airway management or the eyes. Burns to hands and feet are also of special concern because they could impede movement of fingers and toes. 
  • Degree of the burn. The degree of the burn is important because it could cause infection of exposed tissues and permit invasion of the circulatory system. 
  • Extent of burned surface areas. It is important to know the percentage of the amount of the skin surface involved in the burn. The adult body is divided into regions, each of which represents nine percent of the total body surface. These regions are the head and neck, each upper limb, the chest, the abdomen, the upper back, the lower back and buttocks, the front of each lower limb, and the back of each lower limb. This makes up 99 percent of the human body. The remaining one percent is the genital area. With an infant or small child, more emphasis is placed on the head and trunk. 
  • Age of the patient. This is important because small children and senior citizens usually have more severe reactions to burns and different healing processes.
  • Pre-existing physical or mental conditions. Patients with respiratory illnesses, heart disorders, and diabetes or kidney disease are in greater jeopardy than normally healthy people.
Treatment of Burns
"Cool a burn" with water. Do what you must to get cool water on the burn as soon as you can. Go to the nearest water faucet and turn on the cold spigot and get cool water on the burn. Put cool, water-soaked cloths on the burn. If possible, avoid icy cold water and ice cubes. Such measures could cause further damage to burned skin. 

Never apply ointment, grease or butter to the burned area. Applying such products, actually confine the heat of the burn to the skin and do not allow the damaged area to cool. In essence, the skin continues to "simmer." After the initial trauma of the burn and after it has had sufficient time to cool, it would then be appropriate to put an ointment on the burn. Ointments help prevent infection. 

The one exception to the "Cool a Burn" method is when the burn is caused by lime powder. In that case, carefully brush the lime off the skin completely and then flush the area with water. In the event of any serious burns, call 9-1-1.

 Calling 9-1-1

If you are unable to call 911, you can "Text to 911" in Maricopa County. This service assists those who may not be able to call and relay information to a dispatcher. Just enter "911" into the field, provide an accurate location and be able to answer questions and follow instructions while avoiding using  abbreviations and slang.

Only Call 9-1-1 to Report:

  • A fire. 
  • A serious crime. 
  • Any serious medical condition. 
  • Any situation requiring immediate response of Police, Fire or Emergency Medical Personnel. 
What the 9-1-1 Operator Will Need to Know:
  • Address of the emergency. 
  • Phone number you are calling from. 
  • Nature of the emergency.
  • Stay calm, speak clearly, be prepared to answer questions, receive instructions and stay on the phone until you are told to hang up! 
Emergency Vehicles and You
When an emergency vehicle has its lights and siren on, it is responding to an emergency. It is the law and YOUR responsibility to: 
  • Pull to the right side of the road and STOP until the emergency vehicle has passed. 
  • Give all emergency vehicles the right-of-way. 
  • Keep back at least 500 feet from an emergency vehicle when it is responding with lights and sirens. 
  • Do not drive over fire hoses. 
  • Drive carefully around an emergency scene. 
At the Emergency
  • Have someone wait at the street to direct the fire and police departments to the emergency. 
  • If you are a witness to the emergency, stay at the scene to provide emergency personnel with information. 
  • If you are asked to move or leave the area, DO IT! The firefighters and police officers are looking out for your safety. 
  • Remember, things can become very hectic in an emergency. Firefighters and police officers need to do their jobs in a safe way. 
Some other Tips:
  • Make sure your address is visible from the street. 
  • Keep areas around fire hydrants clear of parked cars, fences, bushes, tall weeds and debris. 
  • Keep bushes, trees, grass and weeds cut or trimmed to avoid the chance of brush fires. 
  • If you have security bars on your windows, make sure they are fitted with inside quick releases.

 Carbon Monoxide

Each year in America, carbon monoxide poisoning claims approximately 480 lives and sends another 15,200 people to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.

Understanding the Risk

  • What is carbon monoxide?
    Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
  • Where does carbon monoxide come from?
    CO gas can come from several sources: gas-fired appliances, charcoal grills, wood-burning furnaces or fireplaces and motor vehicles.
  • Who is at risk?
    Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Medical experts believe that unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens and people with heart or lung problems are at even greater risk for CO poisoning. 
What Actions do I Take if my Carbon Monoxide Alarm goes off?
(What you need to do if your carbon monoxide alarm goes off depends on whether anyone is feeling ill or not.)
  • If no one is feeling ill:
    1. Silence the alarm. 
    2. Turn off all appliances and sources of combustion (i.e. furnace and fireplace). 
    3. Ventilate the house with fresh air by opening doors and windows. 
    4. Call a qualified professional to investigate the source of the possible CO buildup. 
  • If illness is a factor:
    1. Evacuate all occupants immediately. 
    2. Determine how many occupants are ill and determine their symptoms. 
    3. Call your local emergency number and when relaying information to the dispatcher, include the number of people feeling ill. 
    4. Do not re-enter the home without the approval of a fire department representative. 
    5. Call a qualified professional to repair the source of the CO. 

Protect Yourself & Your Family from CO Poisoning
  • Install at least one UL (Underwriters Laboratories) listed carbon monoxide alarm with an audible warning signal near the sleeping areas and outside individual bedrooms. Carbon monoxide alarms measure levels of CO over time and are designed to sound an alarm before an average, healthy adult would experience symptoms. It is very possible that you may not be experiencing symptoms when you hear the alarm. This does not mean that CO is not present. 
  • Have a qualified professional check all fuel burning appliances, furnaces, venting and chimney systems at least once a year. 
  • Never use your range or oven to help heat your home and never use a charcoal grill or hibachi in your home or garage. 
  • Never keep a car running in a garage. Even if the garage doors are open, normal circulation will not provide enough fresh air to reliably prevent a dangerous buildup of CO. 
  • When purchasing an existing home, have a qualified technician evaluate the integrity of the heating and cooking systems, as well as the sealed spaces between the garage and house. The presence of a carbon monoxide alarm in your home can save your life in the event of CO buildup.

 Child Car Safety Seats

If you see an unbuckled child in a moving vehicle, call 1-800-505-BABY. The Office of Highway Safety will ask you for the license number and state on the car, the city where it occurred and the location of the child (front seat, driver's lap, etc.). The car owner will receive a letter saying that an unrestrained child was observed, and that the law requires children under five to be properly secured. The letter is not a ticket, but an opportunity to educate the owner of the vehicle about keeping children safe in the car. The number one killer of children in Arizona is motor vehicle crashes. One simple item could help save countless children is a car safety seat. 

A disturbing fact comes from a recent study by the SAFE KIDS organization: one third of children are riding in the wrong restraints for their age and size.
  • 33% of children were in the wrong restraint for their size and age. 
  • 63% of kids who should have been in belt-positioning booster seats (typically ages 4 to 8) were inappropriately restrained.
Here are some questions to ask yourself about the safety of your child when it comes to riding in a vehicle:
  • Does your child ride in the back seat? The back seat is generally the safest place in a crash. If your vehicle has a passenger air bag, it is essential that children ride in the rear of the vehicle (back seat) until they are 13 years old.
  • Does your child ride facing the right way? Infants should ride in rear-facing restraints (in the back seat) until they reach the height and weight limit of their car seat which, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, is age 2. Always read your child restraint manual for instructions on properly using the restraint.  A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body.
  • Does the safety belt hold the seat tightly in place? Put the belt through the correct path. If your safety seat can be used facing either way, use the correct belt path for each direction. Check the vehicle owner's manual and safety seat instruction book for guidance.
  • Is the harness buckled snugly around your child? Keep harness straps snug over the child's shoulders. Place the chest clip at armpit level.
  • Does your child have the best protection possible? Keep your child in a safety seat with a full five-point harness as long as possible, at least until 5 years old. Then use a belt-positioning highback booster seat which helps the adult lap and shoulder belt fit properly. A child restraint system (safety seat) is needed in the state of Arizona when transporting a child who is under eight years of age and who is not more than 4'9" (57 inches).
  • How should a safety belt fit an older child? The child should be tall enough to sit without slouching, with knees bent at the edge of the seat, with feet on the floor. The lap belt must fit low and tight across the upper thighs. The shoulder belt should rest over the shoulder and across the chest. Never put the shoulder belt under the arm or behind the child's back. The adult lap and shoulder belt system alone will not fit most children until they are at least 4'9" tall. 
Authority residents should call the Authority at (623) 544-5400 for more information or assistance with your Child Car Safety Seat.
AFMA offers child safety seat inspections for residents who are interested in having their child safety seats inspected/installed by a certified passenger safety seat technician. Inspection dates are listed on the home page calendar and are scheduled monthly on specific dates/times at specific locations. No appointments are necessary. View the calendar on the home page. For more information pertaining to AFMA's Child Car Safety Seat Programs, please contact the Community Risk Management Division at 623-544-5400.

 Children & Disasters

Disasters happen everywhere, and every member of the family can prepare. Preparedness for the future starts today. Whether you’re a kid or teen yourself, a parent or loved one, or work with youth, Ready Kids has tools and information to help before, during and after disasters.

Visit for preparedness tips and resources.

The Prepare with Pedro Disaster Preparedness Activity Book was created in partnership with the American Red Cross. In the book, kids can follow Pedro around the United States as he learns safety advice for disasters. The 28-page book teaches young children about staying safe in thunderstorms, earthquakes, and other hazards. It also shows them the basics of making an emergency kit and family communication plan. Kids can learn about these topics through crossword puzzles, mazes, games, and more. Read more...

 Desert Survival

The Southwest desert, with its broad range of climates and topography, attracts many visitors each year. Although pleasant and mild most of the year, the weather ranges from ice cold wintertime temperatures high in the mountains to stifling heat in the summer on the flat, sandy desert floor. Many who venture into the desert do so without taking necessary precautions. There are inherent risks to those who travel into the desert including brilliant sunshine, low humidity, low rainfall, sparse shade and wide temperature fluctuations. All present threats to the unprepared. 

There are many things to consider before taking a trip into the desert. Make sure your vehicle is in good repair. Extra engine coolant, radiator water and a tool kit (complete with extra hoses, engine oil and fan belts) should be brought along. Obtain a map of the area being visited and identify a travel plan that includes main roadways, trails, closest towns, etc. 
Before leaving for a trip into the desert, inform a neighbor or relative as to exactly where you are going and when you expect to return. Keep them informed of your progress, especially if your plans change. Search and rescue organizations spend thousands of dollars each year looking for lost victims who neglected to tell anyone where they were going or when their plans changed. 
Be sure to carry at least three gallons of fresh drinking water for each person in the vehicle. Some other items recommended for desert travel include waterproof matches, a cigarette lighter or flint and steel, a survival guide, pocket knife, metal signaling mirror, iodine tablets, a small pencil and writing materials, a whistle, a canteen cup, aluminum foil, a compass a first aid kit, and possibly a small hand gun with ammunition. 
There is a risk of becoming lost when traveling off-road or hiking on trails. Become familiar with a map of the area and check local landmarks. When traveling, turn around occasionally and look back to familiarize yourself with the land layout from the other side. This will help make a mental picture of what it will look like when you return, or in case you become lost. When hiking, stay on established trails when possible. Mark your trail route with blazes on trees and brush, or making ducques (pronounced "ducks"), which are piles of three rocks stacked on top of one another. 
When driving off-road through the desert, be sure the vehicle is designed for this type of activity. Start with a full tank of fuel, and bring a tow rope, tire pump, filled water cans and a shovel. In most cases, four-wheel drive vehicles are used for traveling over especially difficult terrain. If unfamiliar with the area, check difficult terrain for undercarriage clearance on foot before proceeding. Be alert for flash flooding when it is raining. If you become stuck in the sand, apply power slowly to gain gentle traction. Let a little air out of the tires. 
If You Become Lost
If you become lost while hiking on foot or traveling by vehicle, stay put! Sit down for a while and take stock of the situation. Stay with your vehicle if you came in one. Most lost or stranded victims would be rescued sooner if they resisted the urge to walk for help. It is better to conserve energy and prepare distress signals. 
If you feel you can retrace your steps, mark your spot and leave a note. Then backtrack by following footprints or vehicle tracks. Consult a map and try to identify landmarks and other surroundings. Don't take shortcuts. Go to a high point and look around. Always move downstream or down country, but travel the ridges instead of washes or valleys. 
Move with a purpose. Don't wander aimlessly. If you aren't absolutely sure you can follow your tracks or prints. Stay put! 

Hot Weather Conditions
During hot weather, walk through the desert slowly and rest for 10 minutes every hour. Begin early in the morning or late in the day. Water and body temperature are critical to survival. A person requires about a gallon of water each day. Be sure extra drinking water is available as it may be the difference between life and death. 
To reduce water loss, keep the mouth closed, breathe through the nose and avoid conversation. Do not drink alcohol. It causes dehydration. Digestion consumes water so don't eat food if there is not a sufficient amount of water available. Don't ration water in hot weather. When you are thirsty, drink. Conserve water as best as possible and look for more. 
In the summer, ground temperatures can be 30 degrees hotter than the surrounding air temperature, so, when resting, sit at least 12 inches above the ground on a stool or a branch. 
Body temperature is absorbed in three ways: from direct sunlight, hot air and heat reflected from the ground. Stay in the shade and wear clothing, including shirt, hat and sunglasses. Clothing helps ration sweat by slowing evaporation and prolonging the cooling effect. Travel at night or early in the day if possible. 
Water sources can be located at the base of rock cliffs or in the gravel wash from mountain valleys, especially after a recent rain. Water may be found by digging three to six feet at the outside edge of a sharp bend in a dry stream bed. If wet sand is found, dig down into it to find seeping water. Green vegetation, tree clusters and other "indicator" shrubbery, such as cottonwood, sycamore, willow or tamarisk trees, may indicate the presence of water. Animal paths and flocks of birds also may lead you to water. 
Cactus fruit and flowers may be eaten when food or water is scarce. Split open the base of cactus stalks and chew on the pith...but don't swallow it. Carry chunks of pith to alleviate thirst while walking. Other desert plants are not edible. 
Cold Weather Exposure
While the desert becomes very hot in the summer, it can become very cold in the winter. To avoid the cold, wear layered clothing including waterproofed garments. Eat when you are hungry. Exercise to keep body heat up and drink warm liquids. Be aware of behavior that isn't normal, such as excessive giggling, silence, excessive talking, etc. It is one of the first signs of hypothermia. Other signs include intense shivering, muscle tensing, fatigue, poor coordination, stumbling, and blueness of the lips and fingernails. 
To combat hypothermia, shelter the victim from the wind and cold. Insulate them from the ground with newspaper, clothing, leaves or grass. Replace wet clothing with dry clothing. Wool or polypropolyene is preferable over cotton or synthetics because it stays warm when wet. The victim may have to be placed inside a sleeping bag with someone else to keep them warm. Provide warm liquids, food and sweets, but don't force them on someone who is unconscious. 
Signaling For Help
There are several things one can do to alert others for help. Disturb the natural appearance of the area such as with brush, rocks or dirt. Lay out signals and start a controlled fire. Three fires set in a triangle is an internationally-recognized distress signal. Generally, a fire can be built using any available fuel such as wood, a car tire or a car seat, which has been taken out of the vehicle. 
In daylight hours, it is better to have a fire produce black smoke like a tire fire. Bright fires are best at night. Keep the fire burning at all times, if possible. If your fuel is limited, keep a small kindling fire burning and have your resources nearby to make the fire bigger in case you see someone who could come to help. 
There are other distress signals which you can use. In a clearing, use newspaper or aluminum foil weighed down with rocks to make a large triangle. This is an accepted distress signal. A large "I" indicates to rescuers that someone is injured; an "X" means you are unable to proceed; an "F" indicates you need food and water. An adult may elect to fire three shots from a gun, which also is a recognized distress signal.

 Disaster / Terrorism

Emergencies can happen anywhere at anytime. Would you know what to do if you or a loved one needed help? Here's a quick checklist to see if you and your home are safe:  

  • Keep a well-stocked first aid kit. Store medication in a locked cabinet so kids can't access it. Keep cleaning agents and dangerous chemicals out of reach. Keep all substances in their original containers.
  • Fire extinguishers are affordable. Keep one near the furnace, in the garage, and anywhere else a fire may start. Make sure everyone knows how to use them.
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended or sleep while a candle is burning.
  • Space heaters can be dangerous if not used correctly. Make sure yours will shut off if accidentally tipped over.
  • Install smoke, gas and carbon monoxide detectors outside each sleeping area in your home, and change batteries regularly.
  • Make sure family members know how to shut off utilities, and post the phone numbers for gas, water and electricity providers.
  • Create and practice a home emergency/escape plan. Determine a place where your family can meet if forced to leave the home and post a note on your door telling others the date and time you left, and where you’re going.
  • Keep a bag stocked with cash, nonperishable food and water (3 days' worth for each family member), battery-powered radio, flashlight, first-aid kit, extra eyeglasses and prescription drugs, change of clothes and sturdy shoes, keys, pet supplies, and blanket or sleeping bag. Make sure all family members know where the bag is kept.
  • Keep a radio, blanket, flashlight, first-aid kit, and fresh batteries in every vehicle.
  • Keep a phone list of emergency contacts in your vehicle and wallet or purse.
  • Children should know their street address and last name, and how to dial 9-1-1.
If a local disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it - on the refrigerator or bulletin board. For additional information about how to prepare for hazards in the community, contact your local emergency management or civil defense office and your American Red Cross chapter. 
Emergency Checklist
Refining and exercising preplanned Protective Measures 
  • Call the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority (AFMA) or the local American Red Cross Chapter. 
  • Find out which disasters could occur in your area. 
  • Ask how to prepare for each disaster. 
  • Ask how you would be warned of an emergency. 
  • Learn the community's evacuation routes. 
  • Ask about special assistance for elderly or disabled persons. 
  • Ask your workplace about emergency plans. 
  • Learn about emergency plans for your children's school or day care center. 
Create An Emergency Plan
  • Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies. 
  • Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur. 
  • Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries. 
  • Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room. 
  • Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches. 
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones. 
  • Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire. 
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information. 
  • Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area). 
  • Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls. 
  • Pick two meeting places. 
    - A place near your home in case of a fire. 
    - A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster. 
  • Take a Basic First Aid and CPR Class. 
  • Keep family records in a water and fire-proof container. 
Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit 
Assemble supplies you might need in an evacuation. Store them in an easy to carry container, such as a backpack or duffel bag. Include:
  • A supply of water (one gallon per person per day). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months. 
  • A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food and a non-electric can opener. 
  • A change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes. 
  • Blankets or sleeping bags. 
  • A first aid kit and prescription medications. 
  • An extra pair of glasses. 
  • A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries. 
  • Credit cards and cash. 
  • An extra set of car keys. 
  • A list of family physicians. 
  • A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices, such as pacemakers. 
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members. 
Escape Plan
In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment, or mobile home on a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast. 
Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits, and utility shut off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of fire. Be sure to include important points outside, such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways, and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year. 
Home Hazard Hunt
In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard. 
  • Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. 
  • Fasten shelves securely. 
  • Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves. 
  • Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds. 
  • Brace overhead light fixtures. 
  • Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs. 
  • Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations. 
  • Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources. 
  • Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans. 
  • Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents. 
If You Need to Evacuate. . . 
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio for the location of emergency shelters. 
  • Follow instructions of local officials. 
  • Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes. 
  • Take your Disaster Supplies Kit. 
  • Lock your home. 
  • Use travel routes specified by local officials.

If you are sure you have time ... 
  • Shut off water, gas, and electricity, if instructed to do so. 
  • Let others know when you left and where you are going. 
  • Make arrangements for pets. Animals are not allowed in public shelters. 
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit:
  • Battery powered radio and extra batteries. 
  • Flashlight and extra batteries. 
  • Blanket. 
  • Booster cables. 
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type). 
  • First aid kit and manual. 
  • Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter. 
  • Maps. 
  • Shovel. 
  • Tire repair kit and pump. 
  • Flares. 
  • Fire Safety. 
Plan two escape routes out of each room
  • Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire. 
  • Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out. 
  • Install smoke detectors. Clean and test smoke detectors once a month. 
  • Change batteries at least once a year. 
  • Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of fire. 
  • Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets. 
  • Purchase a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type). 
  • Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house. 
  • Consider installing home sprinklers.
Courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency

 Electrical Safety

Electrical fires in our homes claim the lives of 485 Americans each year and injure 2,300 more. Some of these fires are caused by electrical system failures and appliance defects, but many more are caused by the misuse and poor maintenance of electrical appliances, incorrectly installed wiring, and overloaded circuits and extension cords. 

The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority (AFMA) wants you to know that there are simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from electrical fires. 
The Problem
During a typical year, home electrical problems account for 67,800 fires, 485 deaths, and $868 million in property losses. Home electrical wiring causes twice as many fires as electrical appliances.
The Facts
December is the most dangerous month for electrical fires. Fire deaths are highest in winter months which call for more indoor activities and increase in lighting, heating, and appliance use. Most electrical wiring fires start in the bedroom. 
The Cause
Electrical Wiring
  • Most electrical fires result from problems with "fixed wiring" such as faulty electrical outlets and old wiring. Problems with cords and plugs, such as extension and appliance cords, also cause many home electrical fires. 
  • In urban areas, faulty wiring accounts for 33% of residential electrical fires. 
  • Many avoidable electrical fires can be traced to misuse of electric cords, such as overloading circuits, poor maintenance and running the cords under rugs or in high traffic areas. 

Home Appliances

  • The home appliances most often involved in electrical fires are electric stoves and ovens, dryers, central heating units, televisions, radios and record players. 
Safety Precautions
  • Routinely check your electrical appliances and wiring. 
  • Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately. 
  • Use electrical extension cords wisely and don't overload them. 
  • Keep electrical appliances away from wet floors and counters; pay special care to electrical appliances in the bathroom and kitchen. 
  • When buying electrical appliances look for products which meet the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) standard for safety. 
  • Don't allow children to play with or around electrical appliances like space heaters, irons and hair dryers. 
  • Keep clothes, curtains and other potentially combustible items at least three feet from all heaters. 
  • If an appliance has a three-prong plug, use it only in a three-slot outlet. Never force it to fit into a two-slot outlet or extension cord. 
  • Never overload extension cords or wall sockets. Immediately shut off, then professionally replace, light switches that are hot to the touch and lights that flicker. Use safety closures to "child-proof" electrical outlets. 
  • Check your electrical tools regularly for signs of wear. If the cords are frayed or cracked, replace them. Replace any tool if it causes even small electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or gives off smoke or sparks. 
Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.
Call the Authority at (623) 544-5400 for more information regarding electrical fire safety or to schedule a FREE home safety inspection.

 Fire Extinguishers

Almost everyone has seen fire extinguishers. Many people have them in their car, at home or at work. But not everyone understands them or knows how to work them. The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority would like for you to have a working knowledge of fire extinguishers. It could save your life or the lives of the people you love.

Fire extinguishers are not designed to fight a large or spreading fire. Even against small fires, they are useful only under the right conditions. 

An extinguisher must be large enough for the fire at hand. It must be available and in working order, fully charged. The operator should be familiar with the extinguisher so that it isn't necessary to read directions during an emergency. 
Buy Extinguishers Carefully
A fire extinguisher should be "listed" and "labeled" by an independent testing laboratory such as FM (Factory Mutual) or UL (Underwriters Laboratory). 
The higher the rating number on an A or B fire extinguisher, the more fire it can put out, but high-rated units are often the heavier models. Make sure you can hold and operate the extinguisher you are buying. 
Remember that extinguishers need care and must be recharged after every use. Ask the dealer about the extinguisher and how it should be serviced and inspected. 
You may need more than one extinguisher in your home. For example, you may want an extinguisher in the kitchen as well as one in the garage or workshop. Each extinguisher should be installed in plain view near an escape route and away from potential fire hazards such as heating appliances. 
Types of Extinguishers
Fire extinguishers are labeled according to the type of fire on which they may be used. Fires involving wood or cloth, flammable liquids, electrical, or metal sources react differently to extinguishers. Using one type of extinguisher on the wrong type of fire could be dangerous and make matters even worse. 
Traditionally, the labels A, B, C or D have been used to indicate the type of fire on which an extinguisher is to be used. 
  • Type A Label
    A Type A label is in a triangle on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for ordinary combustibles such as cloth, wood, rubber and many plastics. These types of fire usually leave ashes after they burn. Type A extinguishers for Ashes.
  • Type B Label
    A Type B label is in a square on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for flammable liquid fires such as oil, gasoline, paints, lacquers, grease, and solvents. These substances often come in barrels. Type B extinguishers for Barrels.
  • Type C Label
    A Type C label is in a circle on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for electrical fires such as in wiring, fuse boxes, energized electrical equipment and other electrical sources. Electricity travels in currents. Type C extinguishers for Currents.
  • Type D Label
    A Type D label is in a star on the extinguisher. This extinguisher is used for metal fires such as magnesium, titanium and sodium. These types of fire are very dangerous and seldom handled by the general public. Type D for Don't get involved. 
Recently, pictograms have come into use on fire extinguishers. These picture the type of fire on which an extinguisher is to be used. For instance, a Type A extinguisher has a pictogram showing burning wood. A Type C extinguisher has a pictogram showing an electrical cord and outlet. These pictograms are also used to show what not to use. For example, a Type A extinguisher will show a pictogram of an electrical cord and outlet with a big slash through it. In other words, don't use it on an electrical fire. 
Number Rating
Fire extinguishers also have a number rating. For Type A fires, a 1 would stand for 1 1/4 gallons of water, a 2 would represent 2 1/2 gallons, 3 would be 3 3/4 gallons of water, etc. For Type B and Type C fire, the number represents square feet. For example, 2 would be two square feet, 5 is five square feet, etc. 
Fire extinguishers can also be made to extinguish more than one type of fire. For example, you might have an extinguisher with a label that reads 2A5B. This would mean this extinguisher is good for Type A fires with a 2 1/2 gallon equivalence and it is also good for Type B fires with a 5 square feet equivalency. A good extinguisher to have in each residential kitchen is a 2A10BC fire extinguisher. You might also get a Type A for the living room and bedrooms and an ABC for the basement and garage.   
Using a Fire Extinguisher
There is a simple acronym to remember to operate most fire extinguishers - PASS. PASS stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.

Pull the pin at the top of the cylinder. Some units require the releasing of a lock latch or pressing a puncture lever. 
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. 
Squeeze or press the handle. 
Sweep the contents from side to side at the base of the fire until it goes out. 
Shut off the extinguisher and then watch carefully for a rekindling of the fire. 
When to Fight a Fire
You should fight a fire with a fire extinguisher only when all the following are true:
  • Everyone has left or is leaving the building. 
  • The fire department has been called. 
  • The fire is small and confined to the immediate areas where it started such as in a wastebasket, cushion, small appliance, stove, etc. 
  • You can fight the fire with your back to a safe escape route. 
  • Your extinguisher is rated for the type of fire you are fighting and is in good working order. 
  • You have had training in use of the extinguisher and are confident that you can operate it effectively. 

Remember, if you have the slightest doubt about whether or not to fight the fire - DON'T. Instead, GET OUT, closing the door behind you to slow the spread of the fire. You have one of the best fire departments in the world standing by ready to protect you. Let the professionals do their job.

Call the Authority Administrative Office at (623) 544-5400 for more information or visit the fire extinguisher training classes page.

 Fireworks Safety

Fireworks are often used to mark special events and holidays. Fireworks cause thousands of burns and eye injuries each year. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends attending a professional show as the only safe way to view fireworks. Click on the following links for some fireworks safety facts and resources:

Aerial fireworks are illegal to use in Arizona. The only fireworks use allowed in Arizona are the ones listed as novelty and permissible on the chart below. This chart will help you to determine if a product is legal or illegal to use in Maricopa County.  Please use best practices during extreme fire weather and always have a water source on hand when using fireworks.  Always know the local laws in various communities around the State of Arizona when using fireworks. 

Arizona law regulates when and where consumer fireworks can be bought, sold and used in the state. 

The sale of permissible consumer fireworks is allowed on the following dates:

  • April 25 - May 6
  • May 20 - July 6
  • Dec. 10 - Jan. 3

The use of permissible consumer fireworks is allowed on private property, with the permission of the property owner:

  • May 4 - May 6
  • June 24 - July 6
  • Dec. 24 - Jan. 3

The law does not apply to novelty items: snappers, snap caps, glow worms, snakes, party poppers, toy smoke devices and sparklers, which have always been considered permissible. Permissible fireworks include: cylindrical and cone fountains, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, ground sparkling devices.

For more information to the State of Arizona's Consumer Fireworks Regulation, click here.

The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority encourages residents to use caution when storing, handling and using fireworks, and when in the vicinity of other people using fireworks.


Types of Fire Related Hazards Present During & After a Flood

  • Generators are often used during power outages. Unless generators are properly used and maintained, they can be very hazardous. 
  • Alternative heating devices used incorrectly create fire hazards. Proper use and maintenance can decrease the possibility of a fire. 
  • Leaking above ground gas lines, damaged or leaking gas or propane containers, and leaking vehicle gas tanks may explode or ignite. 
  • Pools of water and even appliances can be electrically charged. This can result in a dangerous electrical fire. 
  • Appliances that have been exposed to water can short out and become a fire hazard. 

Chemical Safety

  • Look for combustible 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 your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power. 
  • Assume all wires on the ground are electrically charged. This includes cable TV feeds. 
  • Be aware of and avoid downed utility lines. Report downed or damaged power lines to the utility company or emergency services. 
  • Remove standing water, wet carpets and furnishings. Air dry your home with good ventilation before restoring power. 
  • Have a licensed electrician check your home for damage. 
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 size 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. 
  • Always refuel generators outdoors. 
  • 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. 
  • Only refuel heaters 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...
  • Do not use alternative heating devices to dry clothes or furnishings. 
  • Be careful when using candles. Keep the flame away from combustible objects and out of the reach of children. 
  • Never thaw frozen pipes with a blow torch or other open flame. Use hot water or a UL listed device such as a hand held dryer. 
  • 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.

 Heat / Sun Stress

Hot weather triggers a variety of medical emergencies. Even healthy people should take it easy during extremely high temperatures, and those with respiratory and other health problems must be especially careful. Stay out of the sun as much as possible. Drink extra fluids, but avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol can cause dehydration. 

The best ways to prevent a sun stress emergency are:
  • Drink before you're thirsty and drink often. 
  • Eat a healthy diet. 
  • Wear a hat or cap, keep the neck covered and wear loose fitting clothing. 
  • If you can, work outside during the cool hours of the day or evening.
It's important to wear a hat because it prevents heat load by acting as a barrier from the heat source (usually the sun). Cooling the head and neck may be an effective means of reducing core body temperature in those with heat stress. 
The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority does not recommend the use of table salt or salt tablets to replace body electrolytes. Many electrolyte replacement drinks are available on the market. Electrolytes are crucial for the proper functioning of the body. 
Common electrolytes are: 
  • Sodium 
  • Calcium
  • Potassium
Heat-related injuries fall into three major categories:
  • Heat cramps 
  • Heat exhaustion 
  • Heatstroke
Heat cramps are muscular pains and spasms that occur when the body loses electrolytes during profuse sweating or when inadequate electrolytes are taken into the body. They usually begin in the arms, legs or abdomen, and often precede heat exhaustion. 
Treatment for heat cramps is to rest in the shade, get near a fan, spray the person with water and massage the cramp. 
Heat exhaustion is a medical emergency. When a person is suffering from heat exhaustion, they will perspire profusely and most likely will be pale. 
The best treatment is to take the patient to a cool place, applying cool compresses, elevating the feet and giving the patient fluids. 
Heat stroke is the worst heat-related injury. A heat stroke occurs when the brain has lost its ability to regulate body temperature. The patient will be hot, reddish and warm to the touch. Their temperature will be markedly high and there will be no perspiration. This is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1. 
The emergency care of heatstroke is to cool the body as quickly as possible. One of the best methods for cooling the body during a heat emergency is to wrap the patient in cool, wet sheets.

 Holiday Fire Prevention

Each year, fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,600 individuals and cause over $930 million in damage. According to the United Sates Fire Administration (USFA), there are simple life-saving steps you can take to ensure a safe and happy holiday. By following some of the outlined precautionary tips, individuals may greatly reduce their chances of becoming a holiday fire casualty.

Preventing Holiday Tree Fires
  • Holiday Tree Hazards
    Movie segments demonstrate how fast a live Christmas tree can become fully engulfed in flames. Special fire safety precautions need to be taken when keeping a live tree in the house. A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases. 
  • Selecting a Tree for the Holiday
    Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needle should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard. 
  • Caring for Your Tree
    Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times. 
  • Disposing of Your Tree
    Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best way to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or having it hauled away by a community pick-up service. 
Holiday Lights
  • Maintain Your Holiday Lights
    Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets, and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory. 
  • Do Not Overload Electrical Outlets
    Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires; they should not be warm to the touch. 
  • Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended
Holiday Decorations
  • Use Only Nonflammable Decorations
    All decorations should be nonflammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents. 
  • Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
    Wrapping paper can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical buildup in the home that could cause an explosion. 
  • Artificial Holiday Trees
    If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant. 
Candle Care
  • Avoid Using Lit Candles
    If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked over. Never leave the house with candles burning. 
  • Never Put Lit Candles on a Tree
    Do not go near a holiday tree with an open flame (candles, lighters or matches). 
Finally, as in every season, have working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, test them monthly and keep them clean and equipped with fresh batteries at all times. Know when and how to call for help. And remember to practice your home escape plan.
Call the Authority at (623) 544-5400 for more information regarding holiday fire prevention or to schedule a FREE home safety inspection.

 Home Escape Plan

Have a Sound Fire Escape Plan

In the event of a fire, remember - time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.

Special Considerations
  • Practice Escaping from Every Room in the Home
    Practice escape plans every month. The best plans include two ways to get out of each room. If the primary route is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out. A secondary route might be a window onto an adjacent roof or using an Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows. Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and security bars may be properly opened. Also, practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Security Bars
    Security bars may help to keep your family safe from intruders, but they can also trap you in a deadly fire! Windows and doors with security bars must have quick release devices to allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
  • Immediately Leave the Home
    When a fire occurs, do not waste any time saving property. Take the safest exit route, but if you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. The smoke contains toxic gases which can disorient you or, at worst, overcome you.
  • Never Open Doors that are Hot to the Touch
    When you come to a closed door, use the back of your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and door frame to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route.
  • Designate a Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance
    Designate a meeting location away from the home, but not necessarily across the street. For example, meet under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor's house to phone the fire department.
  • Once Out, Stay Out
    Remember to escape first, then notify the fire department using the 9-1-1 system or proper local emergency number in your area. Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Teach children not to hide from firefighters. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters. They are equipped to perform rescues safely.
Finally, having working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home dramatically increases your chances of survival. Smoke alarm batteries need to be tested every month and changed with new ones at least once a year. Also, consider replacing the entire smoke alarm every ten years, or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend.

 Home Fire Prevention

More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 25,000 are injured. An overwhelming number of fires occur in the home. There are time-tested ways to prevent and survive a fire. It's not a question of luck. It's a matter of planning ahead.

Every Home Should Have at Least One Working Smoke Alarm
You may buy a smoke alarm at any hardware or discount store. It's inexpensive protection for you and your family. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home and every sleeping area. A working smoke alarm can double your chances of survival. Test it monthly, keep it free of dust and replace the battery at least once a year. Smoke alarms themselves should be replaced after ten years of service, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
Prevent Electrical Fires
Never overload circuits or extension cords. Do not place cords and wires under rugs, over nails or in high traffic areas. Immediately shut off and unplug appliances that sputter, spark or emit an unusual smell. Have them professionally repaired or replaced.
Use Appliances Wisely
When using appliances, follow the manufacturer's safety precautions. Overheating, unusual smells, shorts and sparks are all warning signs that appliances need to be shut off, then replaced or repaired. Unplug appliances when not in use. Use safety caps to cover all unused outlets, especially if there are small children in the home.
Alternate Heaters
  • Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything combustible at least three feet away. 
  • Keep fire in the fireplace. Use fire screens and have your chimney cleaned annually. The creosote buildup can ignite a chimney fire that could easily spread. 
  • Kerosene heaters should be used only where approved by authorities. Never use gasoline or camp-stove fuel. Refuel outside and only after the heater has cooled. 
Affordable Home Fire Safety Sprinklers
When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, your chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. Sprinklers are affordable. They can increase property value and lower insurance rates.
Plan Your Escape
Practice an escape plan from every room in the house. Caution everyone to stay low to the floor when escaping from fire and never to open doors that are hot. Select a location where everyone can meet after escaping the house. Get out then call for help.
Caring for Children
Children under five are naturally curious about fire. Many play with matches and lighters. Tragically, children set over 20,000 house fires every year. Take the mystery out of fire play by teaching your children that fire is a tool, not a toy. 
Caring for Older People
Every year over 1,200 senior citizens die in fires. Many of these fire deaths could have been prevented. Seniors are especially vulnerable because many live alone and can't respond quickly.
Call the Authority at (623) 544-5400 for more information regarding home fire prevention or to schedule a FREE home safety inspection.

 Kitchen Fire Safety

The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house. It contains many hazards that can cause burns and unintentional fires. Every year in the valley, more than 300 residential fires start in the kitchen, the largest category for causes of residential fires. It's important to recognize proper heating and cooking equipment functions, and to know how to extinguish a grease fire. Taking steps to protect young children from these heating and cooking appliances can prevent damaging fires, injuries and loss of life. 
Children in the Kitchen
Children and kitchens aren't a good mix. Continuous and adequate supervision of children in the kitchen is of prime importance. As a child's mobility and curiosity increase, appropriate supervision becomes essential. 
Keep all hot items at a safe distance from a child. 
Keep the child at a safe distance from all hot items by using highchairs, child safety gates, playpens, etc. Create a safe zone for children. Keep them out of the household traffic path and check for their location before moving any hot or heavy item. 
Remove tablecloths and place-mats when toddlers are present. They can tug and pull on everything within their reach. Hot or heavy items can be easily pulled on top of them. Never give children pots and pans to play with. Children may reach for this "toy" when it contains hot liquid or food. 
An oven door can get hot enough to burn a youngster who might fall or lean against it. It can be particularly dangerous for a child just learning to walk who may use the door for support; the child is often unable to let go before suffering a burn. Keep small children out of the kitchen when the oven is in use. 
Ovens and Ranges
Always make sure the oven and stove top are clean. If not, clean them thoroughly and safely. Residue grease and food can catch fire. 
Keep pot handles turned inward, away from the edge of the stove. Don't wear long, loose sleeves that can hang over the stove while cooking. 
An electric burner coil can reach a temperature of more than 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This can ignite clothing even after the coil has been turned off. Flammable fabrics, such as towels, dish rags or curtains can be ignited merely by being used or stored near a gas or electric range. Vapors from contact cement, gasoline, cleaning fluids or other flammable liquids can be ignited by the pilot of the kitchen range. 
Grease Fires
If a grease fire erupts in a pan on top of the stove, quickly and carefully cover the pan with a lid or a larger pan. Never use water. If the fire is in the oven, turn the controls off and close the door tightly. This will smother the flames. Better yet, have a portable fire extinguisher handy and know how to use it. The Phoenix Fire Department recommends having a 2A10BC fire extinguisher in the kitchen; make sure it is charged at all times. 
If you suspect there may be fire still smoldering somewhere in the cabinets or the woodwork after such an experience, don't hesitate to call 9-1-1. 
Use only appliances that have received an Underwriters' Laboratory or Factory Mutual testing label. 
Do not allow appliance cords to dangle over the edge of counter tops or tables. Children may pull at them and injure themselves. Or you may catch them unintentionally and pull them off the counter. 
Do not overload electrical circuits. Unplug appliances when not in use. If an appliance smells funny, doesn't function correctly, or has frayed or broken wiring, have it repaired or replaced. 
Microwave Ovens
Burns associated with the use or misuse of microwave ovens are increasing. The scald burn is the most common type of burn and most involve the hands. The age distribution is rather broad, but there continue to be a large number of young children who sustain the more serious burns. The single most common cause of burn injury is simply the fact that people do not expect items heated in the microwave oven to present the same risk as items heated by other more conventional means. 
Many people do not fully appreciate or understand how the microwave oven heats food. The fact that a food container may not be hot may mislead an individual to assume that the food itself is not really hot; thus, a burn injury occurs. 
The single most important prevention measure is to read and follow the microwave directions. Directions associated with the operation of the microwave oven and the specific directions associated with heating prepared or packaged foods are equally important. 
Use a pot holder or appropriate utensil to remove lids and coverings from heated containers to prevent steam or contact burns. This also is necessary when removing items that may have been heated for extended periods of time; the container may be hot. 
Be sure children are old enough to understand the safe use of the microwave oven before allowing them to heat foods. Children under the age of seven may not be able to read and follow directions and are at a higher risk potential than older children. Their height is also an important factor. Some manufacturers do not recommend that their products be heated in a microwave oven. Be sure you follow their recommendations. (For example, some baby foods are not to be heated in a microwave, and items such as jelly-filled donuts can be a major source of mouth burns.) 
Use caution when handling and cutting thick pieces of meat after heating, especially meats containing a considerable amount of fat. Spattering of hot fat and meat juices may occur. 
Puncture plastic pouches and plastic wrap covering before heating. This will reduce the risk of a vapor pressure build up and prevent steam burns. 
Put a cut in potato skins or other vegetables to reduce the risk of "bursting" when you cut into them after they are heated. 
Eggs should be removed from the shell before being cooked in the microwave oven. The egg in a shell may explode causing both mechanical and thermal injuries. 
Identify containers, dishes and utensils that are safe for use in the microwave oven. Some items are not "microwave safe" and may become very hot or even burst when heated in the microwave oven. 
When using smooth vessels for heating liquids, place a plastic spoon in the vessel during the heating process. This will prevent the "super heated" phenomenon that may result in liquid spattering and scald burns. 
Check for the presence of metal when reheating some "fast food" items. Aluminum foil, staples in bags, twist-ties, etc., may become very hot and ignite combustible containers. 
Children who are permitted to operate the microwave oven should be tall enough to be able to safely remove items from the oven. One major risk is facial burns, which occur among children whose height places their face at the level of the heating chamber of the microwave oven. 
Check with the dealer or manufacturer to determine if the microwave oven you choose can be installed where you wish to install it. Proper ventilation and control of moisture exposure may be important considerations for many microwave ovens. 
Purchase only microwave ovens that have a "fail safe" mechanism, which will shut off the power when the door is opened or will prevent the door from opening when the oven is operating.


When the Monsoon storms hit in Arizona, they bring plenty of rain, thunder and lightning. Here are some things to remember when you see lightning in the area: 

  • No place is absolutely safe from the lightning threat; however, some places are safer than others.  
  • Large enclosed structures (substantially constructed buildings) tend to be much safer than smaller or open structures. 
  • The risk for lightning injury depends on whether the structure incorporates lightning protection, construction materials used and the size of the structure. 
  • In general, fully enclosed metal vehicles such as cars, trucks, buses, vans, fully enclosed farm vehicles, etc. with the windows rolled up provide good shelter from lightning. Avoid contact with metal or conducting surfaces outside or inside the vehicle.

Do you know what to do to protect yourself against a lightning strike? Here are some tips:
  • Plan in advance your evacuation and safety measures. When you first see lightning or hear thunder, activate your emergency plan. Now is the time to go to a building or a vehicle. Lightning often precedes rain, so don't wait for the rain to begin before suspending activities.
  • If Outdoors... Avoid water. Avoid the high ground. Avoid open spaces. Avoid all metal objects including electric wires, fences, machinery, motors, power tools, etc. Unsafe places include underneath canopies, small picnic or rain shelters or near trees. Where possible, find shelter in a substantial building or in a fully enclosed metal vehicle such as a car, truck or a van with the windows completely shut. 
  • If Indoors... Avoid water. Stay away from doors and windows. Do not use the telephone. Take off head sets. Turn off, unplug, and stay away from appliances, computers, power tools, & TV sets. Lightning may strike exterior electric and phone lines, inducing shocks to inside equipment. 

Suspend Activities for 30 minutes after the last observed lightning or thunder.
  • Crouch down. Put feet together. Place hands over ears to minimize hearing damage from thunder. 
  • Avoid proximity (minimum of 15 ft.) to other people.
Injured Persons do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely. Apply First Aid procedures to a lightning victim if you are qualified to do so. Call 9-1-1 or send for help immediately. 

Courtesy: National Weather Service


Here are some tips to help you protect yourself and your family when a big storm hits: 

Lightning is attracted to metal and water, and tends to strike the highest or tallest objects. Your are in a strike zone if you head thunder five seconds or less after seeing lightning! 
  • Avoid wide, open areas such as fields and golf courses. 
  • Stay off hilltops and other high points of land. 
  • Don’t stand near trees or tall poles 
  • Get at least 7 feet away from tall objects 
  • Avoid metal objects such as golf carts and clubs, lawn mowers and pipes. 
  • Get to the lowest point of ground you can, and kneel or squat to minimize your contact points with the ground. 
  • Do not lie flat. This will make you a bigger target. 
  • Don’t huddle with others. Spread out at least 15 feet apart. 
  • Remove golf shoes or steel-toed boots. 
  • If you’re out on the water, get to land. 
  • If you’re in a pool, get out.

Downed Power Lines
  • Stay at least 100 feet away. 
  • If the power line has fallen on your car while you’re in it, don’t touch anything metal in the car, and stay inside until professional help arrives. 
  • Never try to help someone trapped by a power line. You endanger your own safety. Instead, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Indoor Safety
  • Stay away from windows during strong winds. Tree limbs and other wind-borne objects can be a hazard. 
  • Electrical wiring attracts lightning. Avoid using the telephone, except for emergencies. 
  • Lighting can move through a home’s plumbing, attracted to the metal or water. Avoid using sinks and showers. 
  • Disconnect computers, TVs and other delicate electronic equipment. Consider attaching surge protectors to such equipment.
Driving Safety
In Dust:
  • Don’t enter a dust storm if you can avoid it. 
  • Turn headlights on and slow to a prudent speed.
  • If you pull off the road, get as far to the right as possible. Turn off the car and headlights, and set the parking brake. Keep your foot off the brake pedal because other drivers may think you’re a car in motion. 

In Rain:

  • Rain reduces traction and causes tires to hydroplane. Slow your speed accordingly. 
  • Water on roads may be deeper than it looks. Watch for vehicles travelling too fast. They can throw up blinding sheets of water. 
  • Don’t cross rain-swollen washes. You can be caught in a flash flood that can sweep your vehicle and its contents away. 
  • Pay attention to hazard signs and roadblocks. Ignoring them threatens life and property, and can result in enforcement action by police. 

Stuck in a wash: 

  • Control of a vehicle is lost in 6 inches of water. Most vehicles will begin to float in 2 feet of water. 
  • If you have a phone, call 911. Our firefighters are equipped and trained on swift water rescues.
  • If you can, climb onto the roof and wait to be rescued.
  • If the water is still low and you can wade to safety, do so, but beware of floating debris. 


Additional Monsoon and Dust Storm Information

Arizona's "Stupid Motorist Law"
"28-910. Liability for emergency responses in flood areas; definitions"

  1. A driver of a vehicle who drives the vehicle on a public street or highway that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water, and that is barricaded because of flooding is liable for the expenses of any emergency response that is required to remove from the public street or highway the driver or any passenger in the vehicle that becomes inoperable on the public street or highway or the vehicle that becomes inoperable on the public street or highway, or both.
  2. A person convicted of violating section 28-693 for driving a vehicle into any area that is temporarily covered by a rise in water level, including groundwater or overflow of water, may be liable for expenses of any emergency response that is required to remove from the area the driver or any passenger in the vehicle that becomes inoperable in the area or the vehicle that becomes inoperable in the area, or both.
  3. The expenses of an emergency response are a charge against the person liable for those expenses pursuant to subsection A or B of this section. The charge constitutes a debt of that person and may be collected proportionately by the public agencies, for-profit entities or not-for-profit entities that incurred the expenses. The person's liability for the expenses of an emergency response shall not exceed two thousand dollars for a single incident. The liability imposed under this section is in addition to and not in limitation of any other liability that may be imposed.
  4. An insurance policy may exclude coverage for a person's liability for expenses of an emergency response under this section.
  5. For the purposes of this section:
    1. "Expenses of an emergency response" means reasonable costs directly incurred by public agencies, for-profit entities or not-for-profit entities that make an appropriate emergency response to an incident.
    2. "Public agency" means this state and any city, county, municipal corporation, district or other public authority that is located in whole or in part in this state and that provides police, fire fighting, medical or other emergency services.
    3. "Reasonable costs" includes the costs of providing police, fire fighting, rescue and emergency medical services at the scene of an incident and the salaries of the persons who respond to the incident but does not include charges assessed by an ambulance service that is regulated pursuant to title 36, chapter 21.1, article 2.

 Pet Safety

The Arizona Veterinary Council estimates that 77 percent of families in Arizona own at least one pet. With more than 52 million dogs and 56 million cats in American households, owning a pet has become a popular activity. The care of these animals is often dependent upon school-aged children. Many animals are hurt, injured or killed every day in the Valley because of oversight or carelessness by pet owners. 

Prepare Your Pets For Disaster
Your pets are an important member of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency plan. To prepare for the unexpected follow these tips with your pets in mind:

  1. Make a plan.
  2. Build an emergency kit.
  3. Stay informed.

For more information, visit the website.

Cat Safety
Cats love to chew and play with anything that arouses their curiosity. They often are seen on television commercials running after a ball of string or playing with objects in the yard. Although it is perfectly normal for cats to chase, chew and play with objects, be careful that they do not eat these items and allow them to get lodged in their stomachs. Plus, string could get wrapped around their necks and strangle them. Do not allow them to play or chew on electrical cords since the danger of electrocution and burn injury is very real. 

Christmas and Thanksgiving can be dangerous for cats. When cooking turkey or roast, carefully dispose of the grease-filled, flavorful strings in the outside garbage can with a secured lid. A cat will quickly get to them and could swallow some harmful items if they are not secured. Tinsel is also a threat. During the Christmas season, cats may play with the tinsel on the Christmas tree and swallow it. Tinsel is plastic coated and does not appear on an X-ray. This makes diagnosis of a stomach obstruction difficult. 
Just like all other electrical cords, Christmas tree light cords also should be placed out of a cat's reach. 
Cats frequently eat objects that can cause obstruction or internal injury. A loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea is an indication that the cat is ill. The cat should be taken to the veterinarian for evaluation and treatment. 
Even though a cat license is not required in Arizona, make sure your cat's vaccinations are up to date to prevent deathly infectious diseases. Also, be sure the cat has an ID tag on its collar. If it does, you will have a greater chance of finding your animal should it become lost. The cat also should wear a "breakaway collar" that slips off of its neck. This prevents the cat from choking to death should the collar become stuck on something. 
The Arizona Humane Society recommends that cats be indoor pets. A commonly-held belief is that cats need to roam outside. This is not true. A cat that is allowed to run loose has a much greater chance of being killed by automobiles or injured in fights with dogs and other cats. 
Dog Safety
A new puppy is a delight to play with and can bring joy and happiness to a young child and family. However, one must be aware of many hidden dangers, such as swimming pools, poisonous plants, toys, and household chemicals around the home, which can place an innocent puppy in danger. A common misconception is that all dogs can swim. This is not true. Dogs can drown just like children. 
Keep young puppies and older, elderly dogs away from the pool. They are at particular risk of drowning since they may not be able to pull themselves out of the water if they fall in. Dogs should be trained to know where the steps are to get out of the pool. As with children, they never should be left unattended around swimming pools. 
Dogs, like cats, love to chase, chew and eat any number of things, which may potentially cause illness, injury or even death. Keep all toys that can be swallowed out of a dog's reach. They may cause stomach or intestinal obstructions. Select a ball that is large, relative to the size of the dog's mouth, or use other toys that are less destructible and recommended for dogs. Keep dogs out of the kitchen while you're cooking. You don't want a dog underfoot when you're carrying a pot of boiling water or a hot dish. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, so keep all chocolates away from them. 
In older homes, do not allow dogs to chew on wood molding as this may cause lead poisoning. House plants such as oleanders, diffenbachias, azaleas, mistletoe and pyrachanthia berries are poisonous to dogs. These plants should be placed out of the animal's reach. Keep the dog away from freshly fertilized areas. They may become ill if they lick their paws after contacting chemicals and insecticides. 
Summertime heat poses a significant threat to the family dog. An animal who spends most of its time indoors may not develop thick pads on its feet. When walking or playing on hot asphalt during summer months, the dog's feet may become burned. Be careful not to let the dog run around a swimming pool too much. Cool-deck concrete can quickly wear their pads down. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are common occurrences when dogs are left outdoors and exposed to the heat. The dog may die as a result. Keep them indoors or otherwise protected from the heat. 
Provide plenty of water. If a dog is kept outside, provide a well-shaded, ventilated area. A covered dog house in the sun becomes too hot and lacks adequate ventilation. An alternate shelter must be furnished. Be sure there is plenty of fresh drinking water at all times in the shade. It may be wise to provide two sources of drinking water in case one is spilled. Use a weighted watering dish or dig a hole in the ground so the pan cannot be tipped over. A water device that attaches to a water spigot is available at the pet store. 
Avoid taking the animal in an automobile when running errands around town. Even on an 80-degree day,  temperature can reach 105 degrees in 10 minutes inside a car. The temperature has even been recorded at over 215 degrees inside a car on a hot summer day. (Water boils at 220 degrees.) If the dog is overcome by heat, cool immediately with cold water and ice and seek medical attention from a veterinarian as soon as possible. 
When traveling with a dog inside a vehicle, it should not be allowed to stick its head out the window. Foreign objects can damage its eyes, and it can develop swelling to its ear flap from the ear flapping in the wind. While traveling, it is best to keep the pet in a dog crate or restrained by a commercially manufactured seat belt. Cardboard containers for cats and small dogs are available for about $3 at pet stores and the Arizona Humane Society. 
The back of a pick-up truck is no place for man's best friend. More than 100,000 dogs are killed each year from falls out of vehicles and numerous vehicle crashes are caused as drivers try to avoid hitting these animals. Commercially-made harnesses and tethers are available to restrain a dog in the back of a truck. Even so, the metal bed of a truck can be very hot during the summer and can burn the dog's pads or expose it to high temperatures. 
Family dogs, especially rambunctious pups between six and 18 months old, frequently escape from their pens or fenced areas. The Maricopa County Animal Care & Control office estimates that more than 20,000 dogs escape or are found stray each year. Most are returned to their owners. Place a collar, complete with name tag and dog license, around its neck. Keep pictures of your pet for easy identification and proof of ownership. 
Strange Or Stray Dogs
Children should be aware to never approach a strange animal. If a dog is in a yard, they should not enter unless the owner is present. They should pet a dog only if they've received the owner's permission. When petting a dog, extend one arm, make a fist with the wrist down, and let the dog sniff the back of the hand before petting. Remember, a dog's canine instincts surface when eating, so don't approach them while they eat. 
When a loose dog is seen in the neighborhood, an adult should be notified. Do not tease a dog as this might encourage it to attack. Don't run or yell as this may excite the animal. The best advice is to leave all strange dogs alone and keep your distance. If the dog approaches, speak quietly and watch for signs of unfriendliness. If it looks frightened or angry, leave it alone. Don't look directly into the dog's eyes; this may provoke an attack. Lost or stray dogs should be reported to Maricopa County Animal Care & Control
Rabies / Animal Control
If the dog barks fiercely or shows its teeth, or if its ears go back or its hair stands on its back, then face the animal without turning your back. Be like a tree and stand with your hands at your side. Don't stare into the dog's eyes; this is a direct challenge. If attacked by a dog, yell "No!" in a stern voice. Go down to your knees, cover your head with your arms, tuck your head to your chest, and play dead. 
Dog bites can be harmful. Report all dog bites to Maricopa County Animal Care & Control and seek medical attention. For serious bites, call 9-1-1 immediately. The dog may have to be quarantined to determine if it is free of rabies. 
Do not leave a choke chain, slip collar or choke collar on the dog. They should be used during obedience training only. Otherwise, the animal may catch it on something and panic, choking itself to death. Choke chains are not dog collars and should not be used as one. An appropriate collar is a loosely-placed nylon collar, or leather-rolled collar that should be left on the dog at all times with current rabies tags and owner identification. 
General Safety Guidelines For Pets
Pets can be poisoned by all kinds of substances. These include paint, fertilizer, insecticide, weed killer, acids and antifreeze. If you feel your pet has been poisoned, keep the animal quiet and warm, try to determine what the animal ingested and when, and call your veterinarian or poison control center. If the pet needs medical attention, bring a sample of the product, the container and/or vomitus with you. 
"Fox tail" weeds pose a grave threat to your pets. When they dry, they look like wheat. The pointed blossoms are sharp and can burrow under the skin or lodge in an ear causing an infection. They also have been known to enter the blood stream and kill an animal. If you should find any of these weeds in your yard, get rid of them immediately. If your pet has been where these weeds were present, check your pet carefully. 
The Fourth of July, Halloween and New Year's Eve can be the most frightening time of the year for pets. Keep them indoors during these holidays. 
Young children like to put rubber bands on pets. This should be discouraged. A rubber band left on a pet's leg can cause swelling and potential gangrene. A rubber band around a dog's neck will rarely choke it, but can cause friction and cut the skin. On a long-haired animal, a rubber band will not be visible until the damage is already done. 
When disposing of garbage, be sure the lid on the can is tightly sealed. Cats and dogs can eat spoiled food and become ill. They also can be injured by glass, pins and other sharp objects in the trash. 
When An Animal Is Injured
An animal in great pain may bite. Before taking it to the veterinarian, it may be wise to muzzle it. If you don't have a muzzle, use pantyhose or a strip cut from a cotton sheet or a leather belt. A sheet, blanket or a piece of plywood can be used to lift the animal to the car. If an animal develops swelling around its face or body, is nauseous, develops diarrhea or is restless and uncomfortable, suspect an illness or injury. These are signs that the animal should be seen by a veterinarian. 
Establish a relationship with a veterinarian so that time is not wasted in an emergency frantically looking through the telephone book for a veterinarian. 
If you find a stray animal that is ill or injured, call the Arizona Humane Society. They can dispatch their own ambulance to pick up the animal for medical care.

 Power Outages / Blackout

What is a "Rolling Blackout?"

A rolling blackout occurs when a power company turns off electricity to selected areas to save power. The areas are selected using sophisticated computer programs and models. The blackouts typically last for one hour, then the power is restored and another area is turned off. Hospitals, airport control towers, police stations, and fire departments are often exempt from these rolling blackouts. These blackouts usually occur during peak energy usage times, usually between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, but they can happen at any time of day. Blackouts may affect the same area more than once a day, and may exceed an hour's duration. 

How Do I Find Out if My Area Will Have a Rolling Blackout?
Listen to local television, radio, and check the website of your power company. Usually, rolling blackouts occur when power usage increases, especially during hot weather when many people are using air conditioning to keep cool. Power companies try to give a warning when they will turn off power to an area, but they can not always do that. 
Top Safety Tips for a Blackout:
    • Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles! 
    • Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out. 
    • Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer. 
    • Do not run a generator inside a home or garage. 
    • If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system. 
    • Listen to local radio and television for updated information. 
How Can I Prepare Before a Blackout Happens?
Assemble essential supplies, including: 
  • Flashlight. 
  • Batteries. 
  • Portable radio. 
  • At least one gallon of water. 
  • A small supply of food. 
  • Due to the extreme risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage. 
If you have space in your refrigerator or freezer, consider filling plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one. (Remember, water expands as it freezes, so it is important to leave room in the container for the expanded water). Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold if the power goes out, by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration. 
If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist. 
If you use a computer, keep files and operating systems backed up regularly. Consider buying extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop computer. A power converter allows most laptops (12 volts or less) to be operated from the cigarette lighter of a vehicle. Also, turn off all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners and other devices when they're not being used. That way, if the power goes out, this equipment will have already been safely shut down. Get a high quality surge protector for all of your computer equipment. If you use the computer a lot, such as for a home business, consider purchasing and installing an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). Consult with your local computer equipment dealer about available equipment and costs. 
If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it. Sometimes garage doors can be heavy, so get help to lift it. If you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home upon return from work, be sure to keep a key to your house with you, in case the garage door will not open. 
If you have a telephone instrument or system at home or at work that requires electricity to work (such as a cordless phone or answering machine), plan for alternate communication, including having a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone, radio, or pager. Remember, too, that some voicemail systems and remote dial-up servers for computer networks may not operate when the power is out where these systems are located. So even if you have power, your access to remote technology may be interrupted if the power that serves those areas is disrupted. Check with remote service providers to see if they have back-up power systems, and how long those systems will operate. 
Keep your car fuel tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. 
Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power company(ies) avoid imposing rolling blackouts. 
Specific Information for People With Disabilities
If you use a battery-operated wheelchair, life-support system, or other power-dependent equipment, call your power company before rolling blackouts happen. Many utility companies keep a list and map of the locations of power-dependent customers in case of an emergency. Ask them what alternatives are available in your area. Contact the customer service department of your local utility company(ies) to learn if this service is available in your community. 
If you use a motorized wheelchair or scooter, have an extra battery. A car battery also can be used with a wheelchair but will not last as long as a wheelchair's deep-cycle battery. If available, store a lightweight manual wheelchair for backup. 
If you are blind or have a visual disability, store a talking or Braille clock or large-print timepiece with extra batteries. 
If you are deaf or have a hearing loss, consider getting a small portable battery-operated television set. Emergency broadcasts may give information in American Sign Language (ASL) or open captioning. 
Using a Generator
If you are considering obtaining a generator, get advice from a licensed professional, such as an electrician. Make sure the generator is listed with Underwriter's Laboratories or a similar organization. Some municipalities, air quality districts or states have "air quality permit" requirements. A licensed electrician will be able to give you more information on these matters. Always plan to keep the generator outdoors and never operate it inside, including the basement or garage. Do not hook up a generator directly to your home's wiring. The safest thing to do is to connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Connecting a cord from the generator to a point on the permanent wiring system and backfeeding power to your home is an unsafe method to supply a building during a power outage. 
What Do I Do During A Blackout?
Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer or furnace. 
Leave one light turned on so you'll know when your power returns. 
Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage. 
Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 9-1-1 for information -- only call to report a life-threatening emergency. 
Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion. 
Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not work during a power outage. 
If it is hot outside, take steps to remain cool. Move to the lowest level of your home, as cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. If the heat is intense and the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall, or "cooling shelter" that may be opened in your community. Listen to local radio or television for more information. 
Remember to provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets. 
If it is cold outside, put on layers of warm clothing. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (relative, friend, or public facility) that has heat to keep warm. 
Energy Conservation Recommendations
To conserve power to help avoid a blackout, the power industry recommends: 
  • In heating season, set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. In cooling season, set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Consider installing a programmable thermostat that you can set to have the furnace or air conditioning run only when you are at home. Most power is used by heating and cooling, so adjusting the temperatures on your thermostat is the biggest energy conservation measure you can take. 
  • Turn off lights and computers when not in use. This is especially true about computer monitors - avoid using a "screen saver" and just simply turn the monitor off when you won't be using the computer for a while. Turn the computer off completely each evening. It is no longer true that computer equipment is damaged from turning it off and on. 
  • Close windows when the heating or cooling system is on. 
  • Caulk windows and doors to keep air from leaking, and replace old windows with new, energy-efficient windows. 
  • Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly. 
  • When buying new appliances be sure to purchase energy-efficient models. 
  • Wrap the water heater with an insulation jacket, available at most building supplies retailers. 
  • If you have to wash clothes, wash only full loads and clean the dryer's lint trap after each use. 
  • When using a dishwasher, wash full loads and use the "light" cycle. If possible, use the "rinse only" cycle and turn off the "high temperature" rinse option. When the regular wash cycle is done, just open the dishwasher door to allow the dishes to air dry. 
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights. 
  • Use one large light bulb rather than several smaller ones. 
For More Information
If you would like more information about rolling blackouts and how to deal with them, contact the power company that serves your area. 
Courtesy: APS,  American Red Cross

 Shelter in Place

What “Shelter in Place” Means
Some kinds of chemical accidents or attacks may make going outdoors dangerous. Leaving the area might take too long or put you in harm’s way. In such a case, it may be safer for you to stay indoors than to go outside. 
“Shelter in place” means to make a shelter out of the place you are in. It is a way for you to make the building as safe as possible to protect yourself until help arrives. You should not try to shelter in a vehicle unless you have no other choice. Vehicles are not airtight enough to give you adequate protection from chemicals. 
Every emergency is different and during any emergency people may have to evacuate or to shelter in place depending on where they live. 
How to Prepare to Shelter in Place
Choose a room in your house or apartment for the shelter. The best room to use for the shelter is a room with as few windows and doors as possible. A large room with a water supply is best—something like a master bedroom that is connected to a bathroom. For chemical events, this room should be as high in the structure as possible to avoid vapors (gases) that sink. This guideline is different from the sheltering-in-place technique used in tornadoes and other severe weather and for nuclear or radiological events, when the shelter should be low in the home. 
You might not be at home if the need to shelter in place ever arises, but if you are at home, the following items, many of which you may already have, would be good to have in your shelter room: 
  • First aid kit. 
  • Flashlight, battery-powered radio, and extra batteries for both. 
  • A working telephone. 
  • Food and bottled water. Store 1 gallon of water per person in plastic bottles as well as ready-to-eat foods that will keep without refrigeration in the shelter-in-place room. If you do not have bottled water, or if you run out, you can drink water from a toilet tank (not from a toilet bowl). Do not drink water from the tap. 
  • Duct tape and scissors. 
  • Towels and plastic sheeting. You may wish to cut your plastic sheeting to fit your windows and doors before any emergency occurs. 
How to Know if you need to Shelter in Place
Most likely you will only need to shelter for a few hours. 
  • If there is a “code red” or “severe” terror alert, you should pay attention to radio and television broadcasts to know right away whether a shelter-in-place alert is announced for your area. 
  • You will hear from the local police, emergency coordinators, or government on the radio and on television emergency broadcast system if you need to shelter in place. 
What to Do
Act quickly and follow the instructions of your local emergency coordinators such as law enforcement personnel, fire departments, or local elected leaders. Every situation can be different, so local emergency coordinators might have special instructions for you to follow. In general, do the following: 
  • Go inside as quickly as possible. Bring any outdoor pets indoors. 
  • If there is time , shut and lock all outside doors and windows. Locking them may pull the door or window tighter and make a better seal against the chemical. Turn off the air conditioner or heater. Turn off all fans, too. Close the fireplace damper and any other place that air can come in from outside. 
  • Go in the shelter-in-place room and shut the door. 
  • Turn on the radio. Keep a telephone close at hand, but don’t use it unless there is a serious emergency. 
  • Sink and toilet drain traps should have water in them (you can use the sink and toilet as you normally would). If it is necessary to drink water, drink stored water, not water from the tap. 
  • Tape plastic over any windows in the room. Use duct tape around the windows and doors and make an unbroken seal. Use the tape over any vents into the room and seal any electrical outlets or other openings. 
  • If you are away from your shelter-in-place location when a chemical event occurs, follow the instructions of emergency coordinators to find the nearest shelter. If your children are at school, they will be sheltered there. Unless you are instructed to do so, do not try to get to the school to bring your children home. Transporting them from the school will put them, and you, at increased risk. 
  • Listen to the radio for an announcement indicating that it is safe to leave the shelter. 
  • When you leave the shelter, follow instructions from local emergency coordinators to avoid any contaminants outside. After you come out of the shelter, emergency coordinators may have additional instructions on how to make the rest of the building safe again. 
This fact sheet is based on CDC’s best current information. It may be updated as new information becomes available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protects people’s health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.

 Smoke Alarms

What You Need to Know - Smoke Alarms Save Lives!

The Impact of Smoke Alarms
In the 1960's, the average U. S. citizen had never heard of a smoke alarm. By the mid 1980's, smoke alarm laws, requiring that alarms be placed in all new and existing residences - existed in 38 states and thousands of municipalities nationwide. By 1995, an estimated 93 percent of all American homes - single - and multi-family, apartments, nursing homes, dormitories, etc. - were equipped with alarms. Smoke alarm provisions have been adopted by all of the model building code organizations.
Fire services across the country have played a major and influential public education role in alerting the public to the benefits of smoke alarms. Another key factor in this huge and rapid penetration of both the marketplace and the builder community has been the development and marketing of low cost alarms by commercial companies. In the early 1970's, the cost of protecting a three bedroom home with professionally installed alarms was approximately $1,000. Today, the cost of owner-installed alarms in the same house has come down to as little as $20 per alarm, or less than $100 for the entire home. This cost structure, combined with effective public education (including key private/public partnerships), has caused a huge percentage of America's consumers, whether they are renting or buying, to demand smoke alarm protection. The impact of smoke alarms on fire safety and protection is dramatic and can be simply stated. When fire breaks out, the smoke alarm, functioning as an early warning system, reduces the risk of dying by nearly 50 percent. Alarms are most people's first line of defense against fire. 
In the event of a fire, properly installed and maintained smoke alarms will provide an early warning signal to your household. This alarm could save your own life and those of your loved ones by providing the chance to escape.
Why should my home have smoke alarms?
In the event of a fire, a smoke alarm can save your life and those of your loved ones. They are the single most important means of preventing house and apartment fire fatalities by providing an early warning signal -- so you and your family can escape. Smoke alarms are one of the best safety features you can buy and install to protect yourself, your family and your home.
Okay, where do I put them?
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Many fatal fires begin late at night or in the early morning. For extra safety, install smoke alarms both inside and outside the sleeping area.
Also, smoke alarms should be installed on the ceiling or 6 to 8 inches below the ceiling on side walls. Since smoke and many deadly gases rise, installing your smoke alarms at the proper level will provide you with the earliest warning possible. Always follow the manufacturer's installation instructions.
Where would I get smoke alarms?
Many hardware, home supply or general merchandise stores carry smoke alarms. Make sure the alarm you buy is UL-listed. If you are unsure where to buy one in your community, call your local fire department (on a non-emergency telephone number) and they will provide you with some suggestions. Some fire departments offer smoke alarms for little or no cost.
Are smoke alarms hard to install?
Not a bit. In most cases, all you will need is a screwdriver. Many brands are self-adhesive and will automatically stick to the wall or ceiling where they are placed. However, be sure to follow the directions from the manufacturer because each brand is different. If you are uncomfortable standing on a ladder, ask a relative or friend for help. Some fire departments will install a smoke alarm in your home for you. Call your local fire department (again, on a non-emergency telephone number) if you have problems installing a smoke alarm.
How do I keep my smoke alarms working?
Smoke alarms are very easy to take care of. There are two steps to remember.
  1. Simply replace the alkaline batteries at least once a year or purchase long-life lithium batteries. Tip:  Pick a holiday or your birthday and replace the batteries each year on that day. Some smoke alarms now on the market come with a ten-year battery. These alarms are designed to be replaced as a whole unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement. If your smoke alarm starts making a "chirping" noise, replace the batteries and reset it. 
  2. Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation, so vacuum over and around your smoke alarm regularly. 
What if the alarm goes off while I'm cooking?
Then it's doing its job. Do not disable your smoke alarm if it alarms due to cooking or other non-fire causes. You may not remember to put the batteries back in the alarm after cooking. Instead, clear the air by waving a towel near the alarm, leaving the batteries in place. The alarm may have to be moved to a new location.
How long will my smoke alarm last?
About eight-to-ten years, after which it should be replaced. Like most electrical devices, smoke alarms wear out. You may want to write the purchase date with a marker on the inside of your unit. That way, you'll know when to replace it. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for replacement.
Anything else I should know?
Some smoke alarms are considered to be "hardwired." This means they are connected to the household electrical system and may or may not have battery back-up. It's important to test every smoke alarm monthly. And always use new batteries when replacing old ones.
Call the Authority at (623) 544-5400 for more information regarding smoke alarms or to schedule a home safety inspection.

 Smoking Safety

Did You Know?

  • 80% of all fire deaths occur in the home. 
  • Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths! 
  • Deaths due to fires caused by careless smoking are particularly avoidable. 
  • Having a working smoke alarm more than doubles one's chances of surviving a fire. 
Following the simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates dramatically. Knowledge is the best fire protection.
Careless Smoking Life-Saving Tips
  • Never smoke in bed. Replace mattresses made prior to the 1973 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. 
  • Don't put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs. 
  • Use large ashtrays with wide lips. While smaller ashtrays may be more attractive, they are not safe. Cigarettes can roll off the edge, and ashes can easily be blown away. 
  • Empty ashtrays into the toilet or an airtight metal container. Warm ashes dumped in waste cans can smolder for hours, then ignite. 
  • Don't leave cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended. 
  • Put out all smoking materials before you walk away. 
  • If you begin to feel drowsy while watching television or reading, extinguish your cigarette or cigar. 
  • Close a matchbook before striking and hold it away from your body. Set your cigarette lighter on "low" flame to prevent burns. 
  • If friends or relatives who smoke have visited, be sure to check on the floor and around chair cushions for ashes that may have been dropped accidentally. 
  • In case of a fire, stay low to the ground, beneath the smoke, and have an escape plan already worked out. 
  • Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Test the batteries every month and change them at least once a year or purchase long-life lithium batteries. 
Smoking Fire Safety for Older Americans
Sitting in your favorite chair and having a cigarette after dinner seems to some like a great way to relax but cigarettes and relaxing can be a deadly mix. Falling asleep while smoking can ignite clothing, rugs and materials used in upholstered furniture. Using alcohol and medications that make you sleepy compounds this hazard. 
Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths and the second leading cause of injuries among people ages 65 and older. Cigarettes continue to burn when they are not properly extinguished. When a resting cigarette is accidentally knocked over, it can smolder for hours before a flare-up occurs. Before you light your next cigarette, remember: 
  • Put your cigarette or cigar out at the first sign of feeling drowsy while watching television or reading. 
  • Use deep ashtrays and put your cigarette all the way out. 
  • Never smoke in bed. 
  • Don't walk away from lit cigarettes and other smoking materials. 
  • Don't put ashtrays on the arms of sofas or chairs.

 Stop, Drop and Roll

Each year more than 15,000 people are seriously burned when their clothes catch on fire. In more than half of the incidents, flammable liquids or vapors were present on or around the person's clothing. But it can happen in many ways. A person's loose sleeve may catch fire on a hot stove. Someone may be working with gasoline or some other flammable liquid and then light a cigarette. They might spray lighter fluid on a smoldering barbecue fire and the resulting flames could catch their clothes on fire. When a person's clothing catches on fire, action must be instinctive and immediate. There is no time to think.

The One Thing You Should Never Do Is Run
To minimize a burn injury when your clothes catch fire, STOP, DROP, (cover your face) and ROLL. Burns are among the most painful of injuries and the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States. The hands, groin, face and lungs are at particular risk because they are delicate structures and easily injured. The healing process is slow and painful, resulting in enormous personal suffering. 

Certain types of clothing are less flammable and resist flames more than other types of clothing. Heavier clothing and fabrics with a tight knit weave burn more slowly compared with loose knit clothing. Fabrics with a loose fit or a fluffy pile will ignite more readily than tight-fitting, dense fabric clothing. Synthetic fibers, such as nylon, once ignited, melt and burn causing severe burns. Natural fibers, such as cotton and wool, tend to burn more slowly than synthetic fibers. However, fibers that combine both synthetic and natural fibers may be of greater hazard than either fabric alone. Curtains and draperies can be sprayed with flame retardants to reduce their rate of burning. However, these chemicals should not be applied to clothing. 
The principles of Stop, Drop and Roll are simple:
  1. Stop, do not run, if your clothes catch on fire. 
  2. Drop, to the floor in a prone position. 
  3. Cover your face with your hands to protect it from the flames. 
  4. Roll over and over to smother the fire. Don't stop until the flames have been extinguished. 
If you are near someone whose clothing catches on fire, be sure to stop them from running and make them Stop, Drop and Roll. 
Once the fire is out, you must treat a burn injury. Cool a burn with water, and then call 9-1-1. 

 Water/Pool Safety

Too often, firefighters hear people say, “it was just a few seconds.” Unfortunately, just a few seconds is all it takes for a child to drown. Drowning is the leading cause of death in Arizona for children under the age of five. 
Most of these children drown in their own backyard swimming pool, but others drown in buckets, bathtubs, toilets, dog water bowls, canals and ponds. Small children are top-heavy, and don't have the upper body strength to lift themselves out of one of these dangerous situations. Even if the child survives the incident, they are often left with permanent brain damage. 
Drowning and near drowning can be prevented, and you can help! Anyone involved with the supervision of children needs to be aware of the dangers associated with any body of water. Below are some useful tips to prevent these needless tragedies:
  • Know where your children are at all times. 
  • If your child is missing, check the pool FIRST!
  • Use an approved barrier to separate the pool from the house. 
  • Never allow children to be alone near a pool or any water source. 
  • Have life-saving devices near the pool, such as a pole/hook, or flotation device. 
  • Keep large objects such as tables, chairs, toys, and ladders away from pool fences. 
  • Post the 9-1-1 number on the phone. 
  • Do not allow children to play around the pool and store all toys outside the pool area. 
  • If you leave the pool area, take the children with you. 
  • Always have a “designated child watcher.” 
  • Learn to swim. 
  • Learn CPR.
  • Never swim alone, or while under the influence of alcohol or medications. 
  • Never swim when thunder or lightning is present. 
  • Never dive into unfamiliar or shallow bodies of water.


To learn more about drowning prevention, visit the Drowning Prevention Coalition of Arizona's website.

Bucket Safety
Buckets filled with water or other liquids, especially the large five-gallon size, present a drowning hazard to small children.
Nationally, about 25 children drown every year in buckets, and many more are hospitalized. Many of the containers involved in drownings nationally were 5-gallon buckets containing liquids. Most were used for mopping floors or other household chores. Many were less than half full. 
A young child’s curiosity, along with their crawling and pulling up while learning to walk can lead to danger when buckets are used around the house. Curious children lean forward to play in the water. When they topple into the bucket, they are unable to free themselves and drown. 
The 5-gallon bucket is particularly dangerous because its heavier weight makes it more stable than a smaller bucket, and unlikely to tip over when a child uses it to pull up. These containers are about half the height of the infants, and with several gallons of water, weigh more than children of that age. 
  •  Never leave any bucket of water or other liquid unattended when small children are around.
  • Even a partly filled bucket can be a drowning hazard.
  • When doing household chores, immediately empty out buckets when finished, or move them to a safe place before taking a break.
  • ALWAYS watch your children around water, inside the home, around the pool and around the yard. 


Bathtub Safety
Nationally, about 80 children die from bathtub drownings each year. Here are some tips for keeping your child safe in the tub: 
  • Supervision. Never leave a child unattended in the bathtub for any reason. There is nothing important enough to risk drowning! Children can drown in just a few inches of water, and can easily topple into the tub while you’re dashing out to answer the phone, get a towel, etc.
    • Don’t run to answer the phone.
    • Don’t check to see who’s at the door.
    • Don’t leave your child to be watched by an older brother or sister. 
    • Make No Exceptions to These Rules!
  • Bath seats. Several types of bath seats and rings adhere to the bottom of the tub with suction cups and offer bathing infants and toddlers support while sitting. Don't think that you can leave your child unattended. The suction cups can come loose, and it isn't hard for a child to slide out of the seats.
  • Get supplies first. Collect soap, towel, diaper, clothing, toys and any other items you plan on using before you even run the bath water. Place these items where you can reach them easily.
  • Water heater. To reduce the risk of scalding, set your home's water heater to a maximum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit. A good test: You should be able to hold your hand comfortably under the tap even when the hot water alone is running.
  • Faucet covers. Placing a soft, insulated cover over the bathtub faucet is a prudent safeguard against accidental burns or bumps. They are available at many baby supply stores.
  • Slips and Falls. Prevent bathtub slips and falls by placing a rubber mat in the tub or affixing non-slip adhesive decals or strips to the bottom of the tub.
  • Electrical hazards. Keep electrical devices (including hair dryers, curling irons, and electric razors) well away from the tub.
  • Slippery floors. Be sure to use (and teach your child to use) extra caution and keep a non-slip bathroom rug by the side of the tub for your child to step onto after bathing.

Dial 9-1-1

For All Emergencies
Official website for the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority, the Buckeye Valley Fire District, the North County Fire & Medical District, and the South County Fire & Medical District.
Phone: (623) 544-5400 | Email:
18818 N. Spanish Garden Drive, Sun City West, Arizona 85375