Fire Safety

The Doctors provide essential fire safety tips to keep your family and your home safe.

Fire Dangers at Home
Pediatrician Dr. Jim Sears visits the Los Angeles County Fire Department to see how quickly one room in a house can go up in flames.                          

Upholstered furniture, curtains, cushions, carpet and beds can all contain highly flammable materials. California is the only state that has a law to regulate the flammability of household materials. Learn more by reading Technical Bulletin 117, or TB 117. 

Smoke Inhalation Dangers
Smoke inhalation is the number one cause of death from a fire. During a fire, smoke fills the air and takes the space that is normally filled with oxygen. The smoke is a mixture of gases and heated particles that enter the body through the lungs and disrupt the respiratory tract.

As a fire grows, levels of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, increase. On a cellular level, carbon monoxide binds to the hemoglobin in blood cells 200 times faster than oxygen, quickly displacing vital oxygen that the body needs to survive.

Fire Safety Action Plan
Every second counts when a fire breaks out. Go inside the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s firefighter’s training tower to see how firefighters train for a fire.

Make sure you and your family members follow these steps if a fire breaks out in your home:

1. Stay calm.
2. Stay low.
3. Don’t touch doorknobs with your bare hands. Instead, wrap a towel or piece of clothing around the knob to open. If you don’t have any materials and you must use your hands, use the back of your hand.
4. Have a working fire extinguisher in your home.
5. Install smoke alarms throughout your home.
6. Place glow-in-the-dark tape on the floor to help guide your family to exits.

Luke Perisin, from the Orange County Fire Authority, gives Dr. Lisa a lesson in how to correctly operate a fire extinguisher . When using an extinguisher, always follow the P.A.S.S. rule:

Tips for Using a Fire Extinguisher: PASS
P = Pull the pin
A = Aim the hose at the base of the fire
S = Squeeze the trigger
S = Sweep the nozzle in a side-to-side motion

Do not to touch the cone at the end of the hose, because it can become very cold while in use.

Fire Safety The Doctors asked their Twitter followers if they usually ignore fire alarms in public places such as hotels, office buildings or nightclubs, and 25 percent of respondents said they do ignore the alarms. 

Captain Vince Rifino, of the Glendale, California Fire Department, shares essential fire safety tips that could save your life if you are in a building during a fire. "Take ownership of your own safety," Capt. Rifino says.

• Take notice of the closest exits when you enter a building
• Locate the fire extinguisher • Have a fire exit plan prior to entering a building, such as designating a meeting point outside with friends

"And once you get out [of the fire]," he adds, "do not go back in."

In case of a fire, stop, drop and roll is a well-known and effective fire safety technique. Capt. Rifino and Dr. Jim demonstrate what to do in case your clothes catch fire.

Stay Safe while Enjoying the FlamesOutdoor winter fun can be a blast, but staying in and enjoying a crackling fire can be just as fun. However, 20 percent of accidental fires occur in the home, so be sure to take precautions before using the fireplace. The Doctors explain how to stay safe while enjoying the fireplace!

• Keep objects at least 2 feet away from the fire, because sparks can ignite a fire.
Keep the chimney flue open so smoke can flow out, rather than into the room. Always place a screen in front of burning logs. Don't stack too many logs in the fireplace, because they can roll out. Do not leave children unattended near a lit fireplace and don't let them throw objects into it. Also, do not let them touch the screen or glass covering the fire, because they can become extremely hot. Avoid using liquid igniters such as kerosene, gasoline or lighter fluid. If you are using a gas fireplace, make sure you turn it off completely when you are done, because the gas emitted from it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If people in the house develop flu-like symptoms — headaches, but no fever go outside immediately, because it could be a sign of carbon monoxide poisoning. Have your chimney inspected by a certified specialist and cleaned once a year. If you have a space heater, keep it away from anything that can catch fire. Make sure it is certified by a certified testing organization, and unplug it when not in use.

Kitchen Fire Safety Throwing water on a stovetop fire can have devastating results. Water, being heavier than oil, drops to the bottom of the pot or pan and is instantly heated.

The steam explodes, shooting burning oil high in the air and scalding everything in its path.

If Your Stovetop Is on Fire:
1. Turn off the burner
2. Don't touch the pan
3. Don't throw water on it
4. Get a wet towel and place it over the fire

More on home safety.

Playing with Fire
On average, every 31 minutes somebody in the United States is injured in a fire. A new trend among teens is lighting their clothes or body on fire, including the hair and groin, and using aerosol spray to create larger flames.

"I guarantee you, if you took these kids to a burn unit, and they witnessed second and third-degree burns, that they would think twice," Dr. Ordon says.

"They're kids, and kids are going to do that. They don't have mature brains, so they're going to do things that are stupid. They're going to try things, try and push the limit," OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson says. "And that's where it's scary. These are our children, and you can't watch them 24 hours [a day]. Somehow, parents have to be educated about the potential of things and what's around, because [kids] are going to do stupid things."

Burn Notice
Eric is a coffee shop barista who often burns his hands on steaming hot drinks. He asks The Doctors for the best way to treat the burns.

There are three types of burns: first, second and third degree:

First-Degree Burn
• Occurs when only the outer later of skin is burned. It is the least serious type of burn and can cause the skin to turn red, with slight swelling and some pain, such as a sunburn.
Second-Degree Burn
• This burn injures the outer layer of skin and extends to the second layer, which is called the dermis. It can cause the skin to turn red, blisters to develop and severe pain and swelling.

Third-Degree Burn
• This is the most serious type of burn and affects all three layers of the skin. It can char the skin or cause a dry, white appearance and can result in permanent tissue damage.  If a person is extremely burned, he or she may require a skin graft.

The Doctors demonstrate the right and wrong ways to treat a burn.