Prevention & Tours

Welcome to the Brewer Fire Engine Co. #1 Fire Prevention page. While we are well equipped to fight fires ,  we would like to share some information with you on how to prevent them. Please read the literature and watch the videos , as they will aid you in creating a safe home, and possibly save valuable seconds in a time of emergency.

Safety Audit

How would you like to go on a tour of your own home -- a tour unlike any other you may have taken and one that may present your familiar surroundings in a new and important light? Well, now's the time. The tour outlined here has just one purpose: to help you look at each major room of your home and learn how to make it safer for every member of your family. We've listed all recommendations for the safety features and equipment each room should ideally contain.


  • Deadbolt locks and heavy-duty strike plates.
  • Outdoor security lighting that is timer or motion-detector controlled.

Living, Dining, and Family Rooms

  • A carbon monoxide alarm on every level where your family spends time.
  • Safety plugs on unused outlets.
  • Window treatments free of dangling cords if small children are present.
  • Programmable timers to turn lamps on and off when you're away.
  • Extension cords placed safely away from areas where they could be stepped on or tripped over.
  • Outlet surge protectors for audio, video, and computer equipment.
  • Windows kept free of furniture if small children are present.


  • A smoke alarm with silence button.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • Scatter rugs that have non-slip backings or that are attached with pads or double-faced tape.
  • Childproof safety latches on cabinets that contain cleaning materials.
  • Electrical outlets that are fitted with ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • Individual shut-off valves for each gas appliance.
  • Short, heavy-duty extension cords for appliances.
  • A range hood or vent kept free of built-up grease.
  • Radios, televisions and small electric appliances located safely away from the sink.
  • A list of emergency numbers located prominently near the phone


  • An up-to-date first-aid kit.
  • Anti-scald shower/tub water controls.
  • Grab bars within easy reach in each tub and shower stall.
  • Shatter-resistant faucet parts with no sharp edges.
  • A night light.
  • Childproof safety latches on cabinets containing dangerous materials.
  • An electrical outlet positioned away from water fixtures and fitted with a ground-fault circuit interrupter.

Furnace Room

  • A smoke alarm.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm at least 15 - 20 feet from furnace.
  • A fire extinguisher.


  • A smoke alarm in every bedroom and main hallway.
  • A carbon monoxide alarm in or near each bedroom.
  • A night light.
  • A fire-escape ladder (if bedrooms are above main levels).
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A list of emergency numbers posted near any telephones.
  • The control center for your home security system.
  • A rechargeable flashlight.


  • A smoke alarm or heat alarm.
  • A fire extinguisher.
  • A first-aid kit.
  • Well-maintained tools/equipment.
  • Electrical outlets equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters.
  • A telephone for summoning emergency help.

A Final Note

Should an emergency situation occur in your home such as fire or carbon monoxide, be sure your family has a planned escape route and meeting place outside your home. Discuss the plan with your family and rehearse it together so that each member understands the importance of a safe escape.

The Facts About Fire

In 2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 1,342,000 fires. These fires caused 3,390 civilian deaths and 14,650 civilian injuries. In the same year, 69 firefighters were fatally injured and 62,085 firefighters experienced non-fatal injuries while on duty.

The 2016 fire statistics (except those for firefighter fatalities) are projections derived from NFPA’s annual fire department survey. The 2,769 departments that responded to the sample survey protect 132 million people, or 41% of the total U.S. population.

On average, U.S. fire departments responded to:

  • A fire every 24 seconds
  • A structure fire every 66 seconds
  • A home fire every 90 seconds
  • An outside or unclassified fire every 48 seconds
  • A highway vehicle fire every 182 seconds

On average, fire claimed nine lives every day.

Highway vehicle fires caused 8% of the civilian fire deaths.

In 2016, the 280 deaths caused by car, truck, and related vehicle fires was almost two times the 150 deaths resulting from non-residential structure fires.

Three of every five road vehicle fire deaths resulted from fires caused by collisions or overturns.

In most years, roughly half half (49%) of all reported fires were outside or unclassified types of fires.

Brush, grass, or forest fires accounted for 22% of these fires; 13% were outside rubbish fires, 7% were outside fire involving property of value, and 8% were unclassified or other non-structure, non-vehicle fires.

Home Structure Fires

In 2016, home structure fires caused 81% of the civilian fire deaths and 73% of the civilian fire injuries. (Homes include one- and two-family homes, apartments, townhouses, row houses, and manufactured homes.) The graph below shows how the leading causes vary depending on whether the interest is in fires, deaths, or injuries.

Cooking is the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths.

Unattended cooking is the leading factor contributing to these fires. Frying poses the greatest risk of fire.

More than half of all cooking fire injuries occurred when people tried to fight the fire themselves.

Smoking has been the leading cause of home fire deaths for decades.

Heating equipment was involved in one of every five home fire deaths.

Heating equipment ranked second in reported home fires and home fire injuries, and third in home fire deaths. Portable and fixed space heaters, including wood stoves, are involved in more fires than central heat. These fires are also more likely to result in death than central heating fires.

Intentional fires were the fourth leading cause of home fires.

Intentional fire setting was blamed for 8% of home fires, 15% of home fire deaths, and 7% of home fire injuries. According to FBI statistics, nearly one out of every three people arrested for arson in recent years were under 18.

Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was the third leading cause of home fires.

This category includes fixed wiring, meters, switches, receptacles, outlets, cords and plugs, and lighting equipment. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 9% of home fires, 10% of fire injuries, and 18% of home fire deaths.

Electrical factors can play a role in any fire involving equipment powered by electricity. Electrical failures were factors in 13% of home fires.

Almost all U.S. homes have at least one smoke alarm, but three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or none that worked.

People who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or medications, have disabilities, or are very close to where the fire started, may not be able to act on a smoke alarm’s warning. Nuisance alarms are the leading reason for disabling smoke alarms.

Sprinklers decrease the fire death rate per 1,000 reported home fires by about 81%.

NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative® : Bringing Safety Home is a nationwide effort to encourage the use of home fire sprinklers and the adoption of fire sprinkler requirements for new construction.


Compared to their share of the population, older adults were more likely to die in home fires than people in other age groups.

States with the highest fire death rates tend to have higher percentages of:

  • Adults who did not finish high school
  • African American or Native American residents
  • Smokers
  • Households living in poverty
  • People living in rural areas

Source: NFPA Research

What do I need to know about fire?

Fire can and might happen to you! You must be prepared and have the knowledge to escape safely. Fire is darker, smokier, hotter, and faster than you can imagine. You must know what fire is like in order to escape the danger safely. The following are four important facts to remember:

  1. Fire is dark. Most people expect fire to be light. On the contrary, fire is pitch black. For this reason, people get trapped in their homes because they could not find their way out in the dark-- they didn't have a flashlight and didn't practice an escape plan.
  2. Smoke can kill. Since most fire fatalities occur between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. when most people are sleeping--the only thing standing between the deadly fumes of fire and a safe escape is the piercing sound of a smoke alarm. The poisonous gases emitted by a fire actually put people into a deeper sleep and many suffocate without ever waking or even becoming aware of the fire. They die of smoke inhalation because they had no warning.
  3. Fire has intense heat. Fire can cause the temperature to rise several hundred degrees in just seconds. The heat is so intense that it can cause the human body to stop functioning altogether--one breath can cause severe lung damage. The heat alone can cause someone to become unconscious and not be able to escape.

There is no time. A residential home can be totally consumed in flames in less than five minutes from the start of a fire! There is no time to waste. You must know what to do and you must get out. A closed door is often the best way to stall a fire . By closing the door, you may save yourself valuable seconds to use an alternate escape route. However , be sure to try and leave doors unlocked, for easy access by the fire department.

Developing an Escape Plan

The National Fire Protection Association credits smoke alarms with helping reduce fire-related fatalities in the U.S. by over one-third in the last ten years. Having a properly installed and working smoke alarms in your home increases your family's chance of safely escaping a fire by up to 50 percent. In addition to properly outfitting your home with smoke alarms, you should develop and practice regularly a home escape plan in case a real fire should occur, because smoke alarms may not waken all individuals.

To help you plan you escape plan, first, take into consideration the following:

  • Plan an escape route with your family present.
  • When planning your escape, identify more than one potential exit for each room and each level. Create several different escape plans, in case one or more are blocked by fire or smoke.
  • Be sure that your escape plan takes into account the particular characteristics of each member of your family including age, physical conditions, sleeping habits, hearing ability, etc.
  • Young children often panic in fires, hiding in closets or under beds. Teach them not to hide— GET OUT OF A BURNING HOUSE IMMEDIATELY.
  • Practice the escape plan at least twice a year, making sure that everyone is involved - from kids to grandparents.
  • Allow children to master fire escape planning and practice before holding a fire drill at night when they are sleeping.
  • If children or others do not readily awaken to the sound of the smoke alarm, or if there are infants or family member with mobility limitations, make sure that someone is assigned to assist them in the fire drill and in the event of an emergency.
  • It is recommended that you hold a fire drill while family members are sleeping in order to determine their response to the sound of the smoke alarm while sleeping and to determine whether they may need assistance in the event of an emergency.
  • Practice fire drills and your escape plan with the alarm sounding. This will teach children to associate the alarm signal with the need to escape.
  • Designate a meeting place outside of the home for the entire family - do a head count to be sure you have accounted for everyone.

When practicing an escape plan, be sure that all family members know and properly understand the following, especially children:

  • Feel the door before opening - if it's hot, don't open it. Use another escape route. If you can use the door, close it behind you. A closed door may help stall a fire.
  • Stay low. Smoke and heat rise. Crawl on the floor where there's less smoke and less severe heat.
  • Never return to a burning building for any reason including toys or pets.

If your clothes should catch fire, don't run! STOP! Where you are, cover your face, DROP to the ground, then ROCK back and forth to smother the flames!

Always remember If your smoke alarm sounds, follow your family escape route, get out of the house as quickly as possible, closing all doors behind you but not locking them and call the fire department. Do not attempt to fight the fire.

FAQ'S About Fire Prevention

I have one smoke alarm in my home. Is that enough protection against fire? 

No, several smoke alarms and fire extinguishers must be installed and maintained for proper fire protection. Smoke alarms should be installed on every living level of the home, inside every bedroom, and in the main corridor outside each bedroom area. Fire extinguishers should be installed on each living level, as well as in rooms that pose potential fire hazards (i.e., kitchen, garage, workshop). Installing and maintaining smoke alarms and fire extinguishers dramatically increases your family's chances of surviving a fire.

Where should I install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers? 

Where to install smoke alarms and fire extinguishers is the most important consideration in proper fire protection. Quite often, they are improperly located and are not easily accessible or do not work properly.

Many laws require that you install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home. It is also important to install at least one fire extinguisher in a convenient location on each level. The basic protection for any home would be to install one smoke alarm and one fire extinguisher on each level.

However, we suggest that you:

  • Install a minimum of two alarms even in single level homes.
  • Install a smoke alarm inside each bedroom as well as in the main corridor outside each bedroom area.
  • Install a smoke alarm above stairwells.
  • Install a fire extinguisher in every room that poses a potential fire hazard: the kitchen, garage, and workshop.

Other important considerations include:

  • Mount smoke alarms in the middle of the ceiling when ceiling mounted. If that is not possible mount detectors on the wall at least three feet away from a corner and 4 - 6 inches away from the ceiling.
  • Keep smoke alarms away from drafts created by fans or air ducts. The moving air can blow smoke away from the sensor.
  • Avoid placing smoke alarms too near the kitchen stove and bathroom shower.
  • Mount basement alarms at the bottom of the basement stairwell.
  • Mount fire extinguishers on a wall 3 1/2 to 5 feet above the floor. The location should be near an exit or an escape route from the room.

How do I select the right smoke alarms and fire extinguishers for my home? 

First, establish how many you will need and where you will install each alarm and extinguisher. Once you know which rooms will have smoke alarms and fire extinguishers, you can determine which features are best suited for that area.

What types of smoke alarms are there? 

There are two basic types of smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectronic . Both are effective at detecting fire, yet each has a unique detecting system. Each type of detector also comes as AC-operated smoke alarms or battery-operated smoke alarms. Some AC alarms even come with a battery back-up system. Additional features can include an escape light, silencing button, or light test feature.

What types of fire extinguishers are there? 

Fire extinguishers are categorized by ratings. These ratings determine the size and type of fire that the extinguisher can successfully put out. Fire can be divided into three categories: A, B, or C. An "A" type fire is primarily wood, paper and fabric. "B" type fires are primarily grease and oil based. Finally, "C" type fires are electrical in nature.

The number preceding the A, B, or C rating determines how big of fire the extinguisher can put out. For example, a 10B:C extinguisher would be able to handle a 25 foot square fire of either oil or electrical origin. A 5B:C extinguisher could handle a 12.5 square foot fire that is oil or electrical based.

How do I maintain my smoke alarms and fire extinguishers once they are installed?

Smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are relatively easy to maintain; yet, improper maintenance is the biggest reason smoke detectors and fire extinguishers fail. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU MAINTAIN ALL YOUR SMOKE ALARMS AND FIRE EXTINGUISHERS:

  • Weekly test your smoke alarm by pressing the test button and your fire extinguisher by checking the pressure gauge.
  • Replace the battery in each smoke alarm twice a year (every six months).
  • Never remove the battery except when replacing it with a fresh battery.
  • Clean the smoke alarm at least once a year.

Following these simple instructions can mean the difference between a saved life and a fatal tragedy. Putting up smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and forgetting about them is not the way to protect your family - you must maintain them weekly and keep fresh batteries in smoke alarms for proper operation. Follow the instructions in the product's User's Manual for specific instructions on how to install and maintain your smoke alarms and fire extinguishers.

What should I do if I hear the smoke alarm's sound?

NEVER IGNORE THE SOUND OF A SMOKE ALARM. If the smoke alarm is sounding its alarm, there is a reason. You and your family must be able to escape quickly and safely. Here are several steps your family can learn and rehearse for an emergency:

  • Have an escape plan. Discuss and rehearse escape plans . Know two exits from any room in the house.
  • Feel if the door is hot. Always feel the door to see if it is hot before opening It to escape. If the doorknob or door is hot, do not use that exit. Use your alternate exit to escape.
  • Crawl on the floor. Smoke from a fire rises and so does the temperature. If you crawl on the floor there will be less smoke and the heat from the fire will be less severe.
  • Meet at a prearranged spot outside the home. If you clearly show where everyone is supposed to meet outside the home when there is a fire, it will be easier to know who is safe.
  • Call the fire department from a neighbor's home. Be prepared to give your full name and address to the operator at the other end of the line. Stay on the line until the operator has all of the information needed.
  • Never go inside a burning building. Never return inside the house for any reason. The firemen will be there soon and they have special gear and clothes that allow them to go into a fire.

By following these basic fire safety tips, you will increase your family's chances for survival in a fire.

Are there other ways I can protect my family from fires?

The following is a fire safety checklist to lower the chances that a fire may start in your home:

  • Keep the furnace in working order.
  • Use a fireplace screen.
  • Have proper ventilation for heaters and other small appliances.
  • Do not smoke in bed.
  • Use the correct size fuses.
  • Don't use worn out electrical wiring or run it under rugs or out windows or doors.
  • Clear refuse away—the less clutter, the less fuel a fire has to feed on.

Is there any other fire safety equipment that I need for my home?

Having working smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home greatly reduces your risk of dying in a fire. However, we also recommend that you have flashlights in every bedroom in case of a fire emergency. Since fire is very dark, a reliable working flashlight can help light your way to safety. In addition be sure to have all emergency numbers posted next to a telephone.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Although the popularity of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home.

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

  • The dangers of CO exposure depend on a number of variables, including the victim's health and activity level. Infants, pregnant women, and people with physical conditions that limit their body's ability to use oxygen (i.e. emphysema, asthma, heart disease) can be more severely affected by lower concentrations of CO than healthy adults would be.
  • A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.
  • In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 80,100 non-fire CO incidents in which carbon monoxide was found, or an average of nine such calls per hour.  The number of incidents increased 96 % from 40,900 incidents reported in 2003. This increase is most likely due to the increased use of CO detectors, which alert people to the presence of CO.

Source: NFPA's "Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Incidents" report

November 1-7 is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week in parts of Canada!

Canadians - Check out NFPA's Carbon Monoxide toolkit and download resources that you can use in your community to promote Carbon Monoxide awareness.

Free resources

Safety tip sheet

In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide (CO).

Download free tip sheet.

Community toolkit

Use free resources from NFPA and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a CO alarm awareness campaign in your community.

Download free toolkit.


Safety tips

  • CO alarms should be installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home and in other locations where required by applicable laws, codes or standards. For the best protection, interconnect all CO alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement and mounting height.
  • Choose a CO alarm that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.
  • Call your local fire department’s non-emergency number to find out what number to call if the CO alarm sounds.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month; replace them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • If the audible trouble signal sounds, check for low batteries. If the battery is low, replace it. If it still sounds, call the fire department.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel.
  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Do not run a vehicle or other fueled engine or motor indoors, even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not covered with snow.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • A generator should be used in a well-ventilated location outdoors away from windows, doors and vent openings.
  • Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO — only use outside.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

CO enters the body through breathing. CO poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning and other illnesses. Some symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, light headedness or headaches. High levels of CO can be fatal, causing death within minutes.

The concentration of CO, measured in parts per million (ppm) is a determining factor in the symptoms for an average, healthy adult.

  • 50 ppm: No adverse effects with 8 hours of exposure.
  • 200 ppm: Mild headache after 2-3 hours of exposure.
  • 400 ppm: Headache and nausea after 1-2 hours of exposure.
  • 800 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 45 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 1 hour of exposure.
  • 1,000 ppm: Loss of consciousness after 1 hour of exposure.
  • 1,600 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 20 minutes of exposure.
  • 3,200 ppm: Headache, nausea, and dizziness after 5-10 minutes; collapse and unconsciousness after 30 minutes of exposure.
  • 6,400 ppm: Headache and dizziness after 1-2 minutes; unconsciousness and danger of death after 10-15 minutes of exposure.
  • 12,800 ppm: Immediate physiological effects, unconsciousness and danger of death after 1-3 minutes of exposure.

Source: NFPA's Fire Protection Handbook, 20th Edition.

NFPA's Ben Evarts explains why carbon monoxide is dangerous and talks about fire department response to CO incidents.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke alarms save lives. Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out.

Here's what you need to know!
  • A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home.
  • Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure the alarm is working.
  • Today’s smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.
  • More about installation and maintenance of home smoke alarms.

Featured Content



NFPA's Dan Doofus reminds you to have enough smoke alarms in your home, test them monthly, and replace them every 10 years.

See more NFPA videos about smoke alarms.

Facts and figures about smoke alarms
  • In 2009-2013, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments.
  • Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (38%) or no working smoke alarms (21%).
  • No smoke alarms were present in almost two out of every five (38%) home fire deaths.
  • The death rate per 100 reported home fires was more than twice as high in homes that did not have any working smoke alarms compared to the rate in homes with working smoke alarms (1.18 deaths vs. 0.53 deaths per 100 fires).
  • In fires in which the smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries.
  • Dead batteries caused one-quarter (24%) of the smoke alarm failures.

Source: NFPA's "Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires" report

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