San Antonio Fire Department
Safety Quiz

Home Safety Quiz

1: Is your house or apartment number visible from the street or roadway both day and night?

Your house or apartment number needs to be highly visible at all times so that if there is an emergency SAFD units will be able to find you. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Repaint or replace faded or missing numbers - use reflective material and make it as large as possible.
  • Place the number on both the house and front curb if possible.
  • Remove any obstacles to seeing the number, i.e. prune overgrown bushes or trees, move lawn decorations or equipment, etc
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2: Is your home equipped with smoke detectors outside of all sleeping areas and on each floor?

Proper placement of your smoke detectors is key to making sure that your family hears the alarm in time to safely escape. Also have your family participate in monthly tests of your smoke detectors so that they will be familiar with the sound, speeding up their reaction time should a fire happen.

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3: Have you changed the battery in your smoke detector in the last six months?

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 92% of all homes in America have smoke detectors but 1/3 of these do not work. To keep your smoke detectors in top shape:

  • Test each detector every month to make sure they are operational.
  • Change all batteries in the Spring and Fall when you set your clock for Daylight Savings Time.
  • Vacuum the vents of each detector at least once a year.
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years – write the date of purchase on the inside of the cover to help you keep track.
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4: Do you have a fire emergency plan for your home?

The time to develop a fire emergency plan for your home is before a fire happens. Be sure to talk over the plan with your family, and practice some of the key activities such as following escape routes and meeting up at your designated outside meeting place. The National Fire Protection Association has some great information and online tools to assist you in putting together a fire emergency plan.

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5: Does a member of your family smoke?

Smoking materials (i.e., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.) are the leading cause of fire deaths in the United States. If you have a family member that smokes, ask them to practice the following tips:

  • Smoke outside as much as possible.
  • Use deep, wide ashtrays on a sturdy table.
  • Before throwing out butts and ashes, make sure they are completely out - dousing in water or sand is the best way to do that.
  • Check under furniture cushions and in other places people smoke for cigarette butts that may have fallen out of sight.
  • Never smoke in a home where oxygen is being used.
  • Choose fire-safe cigarettes because they are less likely to cause fires.
  • Always be alert to prevent a deadly cigarette fire – do not smoke if sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine or other drugs.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children's sight and reach.
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6: Are all hazardous materials, such as gasoline or lighter fluid, stored properly?

Significantly limit the amount of flammable or hazardous materials stored around your home. Such materials should only be stored in proper containers and as far away from the living and sleeping areas as possible. Visit the National Fire Protection Association website for more information.

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7: Is your cooking area free of excess grease?

Cooking fires are the #1 cause of home fires and home fire injuries. Nearly all cooking equipment fires start with the ignition of food or other cooking materials, such as grease or cooking oil. Grease build-up on stove tops or in an oven can pose a potential hazard. Clean up spills or excess grease immediately, and store containers of grease or oil away from all cooking equipment.

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8: Are your extension cords in good working condition, i.e. not cut, damaged, dry rotted, or frayed?

Many home structure fires are caused by faulty or overloaded electrical distribution equipment, such as extension cords or power outlets. Stay in the safety zone by practicing these tips:

  • Replace or repair loose or frayed cords on all electrical devices.
  • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
  • In homes with small children, unused wall sockets and extension-cord receptacles should have plastic safety covers.
  • Have additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
  • Avoid overloading outlets. Plug only one high-wattage appliance into each receptacle outlet at a time.
  • If outlets or switches feel warm, shut off the circuit and have them checked by an electrician.
  • When possible, avoid the use of "cube taps" and other devices that allow the connection of multiple appliances into a single receptacle.
Visit the National Fire Protection Association website for more information.
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9: Do you have at least one updated multipurpose (ABC) fire extinguisher in your home?

A working fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives. Use a portable fire extinguisher when:

  • The fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and it is not growing.
  • Everyone has exited the home.
  • The fire department has been called or is being called.
  • The room with the fire is not filled with smoke.

Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire emergency plan, but they are limited. Fires can grow and spread rapidly, so the number one priority is to get out safely. Learn more about fire extinguishers at the National Fire Protection Association website.

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10: Do you have burglar/security bars over your windows or doors?

Sometimes a device that prevents one problem creates another. Burglar/security bars can pose a significant obstacle should your family need to escape a fire. The best practice is not to have them, but here are a few important tips to follow if you do have burglar/security bars:

  • Make sure all family members know two ways out of every room in the home.
  • If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have emergency release devices inside so that they can be opened immediately in an emergency. Emergency release devices won't reduce your security - but they will increase your chances of safely escaping a home fire.
  • Make sure every family member knows how to operate the release devices.
  • Have working smoke alarms and test them monthly – this may help to increase the amount of time you have to escape.

Visit the National Fire Protection Association website for more information.

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