City of Rolla, Missouri
901 North Elm Street
Rolla, MO 65401

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Fire Prevention Tips & Information

In Case of FIRE! | Fire Facts | Winter Safety | Summer Safety | Home Safety |

In Case of A Fire

Help Your Firefighter:

  • Turn your porch light on.
  • Have someone flag down the responding emergency unit.
  • Insure that your house number:
    • Can be seen from the road.
    • Is large and visible.
    • Is not the same color as your house.

If you wake in bed with smoke in the room:

  • Roll out of bed.
  • Stay low and crawl to the door. Smokes fills a room from the ceiling down.
  • Test the door with the back of your hand.
  • If the door is hot, go to another exit.
  • If the door is cool, open it slowly and go to your meeting place outside the home.
  • Use your neighbor's phone and call for help (DIAL 911).
  • Do not go back in your home. You may be seriously injured.

Highrise Apartment

Follow the same rules and include the following: Take the stairs when exiting. Close the door behind you and take your keys. Do not use the elevator. Elevators may open at a floor on fire or stop working, trapping you inside.

If You Are Trapped Inside Your Apartment

  • Close the doors between you and the fire.
  • Stop up cracks and vents to keep smoke out.
  • Put a wet cloth over your nose and wait at a window.
  • Phone the fire department, DIAL 911.
  • If unable to reach a phone, signal for help with a sheet or flashlight.

If Your Clothes Catch Fire

  • STOP - Do not run. It will fan the flames, making them bigger.
  • DROP - To the Ground or floor immediately and cover your face with your hands.
  • ROLL - Over back and forth to smother the flames.

Emergency Phone Procedure

  • DIAL 911.
  • Ask for the service you want:
    • FIRE
    • POliCE
    • AMBulANCE
  • Give your address.
  • Give your room number and floor.
  • Give your name.
  • Give the type of emergency.
  • Don't hang up until the emergency operator finishes talking to you!
  • Give your phone number.

Escape Routes

Plan two or more escape routes from every room. Remember, a fire can prevent you from reaching other rooms.

Meeting Place

Don't forget to include a special meeting place to make sure everybody is out and safe! Don't waste time getting dressed or gathering valuables - every second counts...Get Out!

Property Insurance

Contact your insurance company or owner immediately.

Insurance Checklist

Provide your agent with documented items lost in the fire. Make your home checklist now if you don't have one, and include the following:

  • Photographs and descriptions of antiques and jewelry.
  • Replacement costs of lost items.
  • Dates of purchase.

Important Documents

Keep these documents in a safe place. They will speed up your recovery process:

  • Insurance policies
  • Title to deeds, automobile
  • Income tax records
  • Medical records
  • Wills
  • Bank books
  • Birth certificates
  • Credit cards
  • Home checklist

How can you safeguard important documents?

  • Safety deposit box.
  • Install a home vault or approved container. Purchase Underwriters Laboratories (ul) approved FIRE- SAFE or equal container.

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A Fact sheet on the Nature of Fire

Every day Americans experience the horror of fire.

But most people don't understand fire. Only when we know the true nature of fire can we prepare ourselves and our families. Each year more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be prevented.

The United States Fire Administration (USFA), a division of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), believes that fire deaths can be reduced by teaching people the basic facts about fire. Below are some simple facts that explain the particular characteristics of fire.

Fire is FAST!

There is little time!

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 thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. Most fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you wake up to a fire, you won't have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.

Fire is HOT!

Heat is more threatening than flames.

A fire's heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super hot air will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called flashover.

Fire is DARK!

Fire isn't bright, it's pitch black.

Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you've lived in for years.

Fire is DEADLY!

Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do.

Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.

Fire Safety Tips

In the event of a fire, remember time is the biggest enemy and every second counts!

Escape first, then call for help. Develop a home fire escape plan and designate a meeting place outside. Make sure everyone in the family knows two ways to escape from every room. Practice feeling your way out with your eyes closed. Never stand up in a fire, always crawl low under the smoke and try to keep your mouth covered. Never return to a burning building for any reason; it may cost you your life.

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.

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Winter Safety

The members of Rolla Fire & Rescue would like to offer the following helpful safety suggestions for a safe winter season.

Dispose of Ashes in a Proper Manner

Every year someone will put hot ashes into their trash container not realizing the ashes are still smoldering. Hours later, a fire is raging tn their garage or has ignited the side of their house. Don't let it happen to you. Be sure to completely cool the ashes before putting them into a container. Ashes should never be disposed of loosely, but should be bagged and wetted.

Portable Heaters

Never leave portable electric heaters plugged in when no one is in the room or house. Never place portable heaters close to combustibles such as furniture, walls, drapes etc. as these materials could catch fire. Heaters are not dryers or tables! Don't dry or store objects on top or in front of the heater.

Solid Fuel Appliances

Inspect your chimney for creosote build-up and call in a qualified chimney sweep prior to using your fireplace. Never build a fire in your fireplace without having a screen or glass doors. When emptying the ashes always use a metal container, never plastic pails or paper bags. Be sure to store ashes outdoors, not in your garage, as the ashes could start a fire if they are not properly stored. Burn only seasoned wood, never garbage or green wood, Christmas wrappings or painted wood.

For More Information Contact:

The United States Fire Administration
Office of Fire Management Programs
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
City of Rolla Fire & Rescue
Ron Smith
Training Officer


For More Information Call:
Ron Smith, Training Officer
(573) 364-3989

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Summer Safety

Fireworks & BBQ's make July a Dangerous month.

U.S. Fire Administration Offers Ways to Stay Fire Safe This Summer Washington, DC - Every year Americans look forward to summer vacations, camping, family reunions, picnics, and the Fourth of July. Summertime, however, also brings fires and injuries due to fireworks and outdoor grills. Annually more than 8,000 Americans are injured by fireworks and grill fires. More than half these injuries occur during the first week of July.

"Fireworks and barbecues can be very dangerous, even deadly, if not used properly," said U.S. Fire Administrator Carrye B. Brown. "Before cooking out or lighting fireworks, review fire safety precautions with your family."

The National Fire Data Center estimates in 1998 outside cooking grills caused 6,000 fires, 5 fatalities, 170 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. Gas grills alone caused 2,700 fires, 80 injuries, and $11 million dollars damage. Most of the gas grill fires and explosions were caused by gas leaks, blocked tubes, and overfilled propane tanks.

In addition to outdoor cooking, improper use of fireworks causes more than 6,000 fires and more than $8 million in damage. "Summertime should be a time for fun and making happy memories. Knowing a few fire safety tips and following instructions will help everyone have a safe summer," said Brown.

Families also enjoy camping in the summer. It is important to follow the park's rules for the use and extinguishing of campfires.

Barbecue Safety

  • Before using a grill, check the connection between the propane tank and the fuel line. Make sure the venturi tubes - where the air and gas mix - are not blocked.
  • Do not overfill the propane tank.
  • Do not wear loose clothing while cooking at a barbecue.
  • Be careful when using lighter fluid. Do not add fluid to an already lit fire because the flame can flashback up into the container and explode.
  • Keep all matches and lighters away from children. Teach your children to report any loose matches or lighters to an adult immediately. Supervise children around outdoor grills.
  • Dispose of hot coals properly - douse them with plenty of water, and stir them to ensure that the fire is out. Never place them in plastic, paper or wooden containers.
  • Never grill/barbecue in enclosed areas - carbon monoxide could be produced.
  • Make sure everyone knows to Stop, Drop and Roll in case a piece of clothing does catch fire.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number if a burn warrants serious medical attention.

Campfire Safety

  • Build campfires where they will not spread, away from dry grass and leaves.
  • Keep campfires small, and don't let them get out of hand.
  • Keep plenty of water and a shovel around to douse the fire when you're done. Stir it and douse it again with water.
  • Never leave campfires unattended.

USFA, part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, serves the American public and the nation's fire services through training, data collection and analysis, public fire education, and fire protection technology research. For more information, including national fire statistics visit the USFA web site at

Media Contact: Release No.: 00-095
Marc Wolfson Release Date: June 21, 2000
(202) 646-4600

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Home Safety Tips

Plan and Prepare

Follow these simple rules to spot possible safety problems

  • Install smoke detectors on each floor of your home.
  • Learn to recognize the sound of the alarm.
  • Make sure detectors are placed near bedrooms.
  • Install them 6-12 inches below the ceiling on the wall.
  • Locate smoke detectors away from air vents.
  • Vacuum the grill work of your smoke detector.
  • Test your smoke detector every month.

Electrical Check list

Check all household items to prevent shock or fire.

Electrical Cords

  • Replace frayed or cracked cords.
  • Remove cords from under carpeting or furniture.
  • Avoid overloading extension cords.
  • Read the label on (UL) or (FM) approved cords for proper electrical rating.

Electrical Appliances

  • Replace or repair appliances that do not operate properly.
  • Plug in portable appliances only when in use.
  • Do not cut the third prong off your appliance plug. The third prong is there to prevent electric shock.
  • When you shop for appliances or tools, look for recognizable Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label or Factory Mutual (FM) label.


  • Unnecessarily high wattage may lead to fire through overheating.
  • Replace with a bulb of the correct type and wattage.
  • If you are not sure, only use a 60 watt bulb.

Be Kitchen Wise

Cooking fires are the leading cause of fires in the home, and the second most frequent cause of death to the elderly.

  • DO NOT LEAVE cooking unattended. Turn off the burner if you must leave the house, even if it's only for a few minutes.
  • PUT A LID on pots or pans to smother fires that flare up while cooking.
  • NEVER THROW WATER OR FLOUR in a burning pot or pan. Water will spread the flames, and flour could actually explode.
  • TURN OFF THE HEAT and leave the door closed for oven fires.
  • HAVE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER in your home.
  • SHORTEN OR REMOVE CURTAINS near or over your stove. A simple stove fire may turn into a house fire from burning curtains.

Microwave Burn Prevention

Microwaves can cause scalding burns if used improperly.

  • Read and follow the product manufacturer's directions.
  • After taking food out of the microwave, remove the wrapper away from your face to avoid escaping steam.
  • Hot liquids poured into disposable bottles may cause them to burst.
  • Food microwaved may feel cool to the touch on the surface, only to be scalding hot in the middle.
  • Be careful when heating liquids. Containers may only feel warm, rather than hot, but the liquid inside by be scalding hot.

Clothing Fires

  • Do not wear clothing with long, loose sleeves while cooking.
  • Use pins or elastic bands to hold up rolled back sleeves while cooking.
  • Long sleeves are more likely to catch fire and may also overturn pots and cause scalding burns.

Do You Overheat Your Bathwater?

Did you know that hot water burns more children and adults than any other accident?

The length of time to receive a third-degree burn:

  • 156 degrees - 1 second
  • 149 degrees - 2 seconds
  • 140 degrees - 5 seconds
  • 133 degrees - 15 seconds
  • 127 degrees - 60 seconds
  • 124 degrees - 3 minutes
  • Learn to protect yourself and your family.
  • Most water heaters are set to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 120 degrees.
  • Contact your plumber or electrician to lower your heater temperature.

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