Use common sense to avoid New Year’s safety hazards

December 31, 2012

By Staff

NEW — 10 a.m. Dec. 31, 2012

State fire officials asked New Year’s Eve revelers to use common sense to avoid safety mishaps as 2012 comes to a close.

The holiday is a time for families and friends to get together, but New Year’s Eve also poses a greater risk for fire, whether revelers entertain at home or head out to ring in 2013.

Experts at the State Fire Marshal’s Office offer advice to remain safe around New Year’s Eve fireworks and at holiday events.

The safest way to experience New Year’s Eve fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by professionals.

Make sure fireworks possession is legal, and the law allows for discharge. Though King County loosens fireworks rules in unincorporated areas on New Year’s Eve, Issaquah keeps a citywide ban in place.

Stay away from illegal explosive devices, such as M80s and M100s — illegal explosive devices. The damage they cause can be devastating and life-altering.

For home entertaining, keep children and pets away from burning candles. Keep matches and lighters out of reach from children in a locked cabinet. Remain in the kitchen while cooking on the stovetop. Moreover, test smoke alarms and tell guests about the home fire escape plan.

Ask smokers to smoke outside, and provide deep ashtrays. Remember to douse cigarette butts with water before discarding.

Before entering nightclubs or other public event spaces, check to see if the entrance is wide enough and allows easy exit.

Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency, and develop a communication plan. Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends if trouble arises.

Once inside, look for all available exits and be prepared to use the closest one. Make sure aisles allow for easy movement and do not contain obstructions, such as chairs or furniture. Check to make sure the exit door is not blocked or chained.

If a fire alarm sounds, or if smoke or fire is visible, or if other unusual disturbance occurs, exit the building immediately.

Under no circumstances should somebody ever go back into a burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operation.

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