Public Safety Education

All Safety Tips
All Safety Tips
Fire Safety at Home
Smoke Alarms
Smoke Detectors Save Lives – That Life May Be Yours!

It’s a proven fact. Smoke alarms installed and maintained properly can double your chances of surviving a fire.

Every year in the United States, approximately 5,000 people are killed by fire. In most cases, victims suffocate from smoke before succumbing to the fire itself. Additionally, approximately 300,000 people are severely burned and millions of dollars of property is destroyed as a result of fire. Early warning systems, such as smoke alarms, could save half of these lives and greatly reduce property damage. Approximately 80 percent of all U.S. fire deaths occur in the home. Fatal residential fires most often occur at night when residents are sleeping. In most cases, the best way to survive a residential fire is early fire detection and rapid escape to a safe area.

How to properly install your smoke alarm?

Alarms that are hard-wired into the home electrical system should be installed by a qualified electrician. If the alarm plugs into a wall socket, make sure the outlet is not connected to a wall switch that will allow someone to accidently turn off the electricity. Ensure the plug has a restraining device to keep it from being accidently disconnected.

Many detectors are battery powered and can be installed by the homeowner. Read the directions that come with the alarm for proper placement or call the fire department for advice.

How many smoke alarms do you need?

For minimum protection, a smoke alarm is required near each seperate sleeping area of a home as well as in the basement. Placement should be in the middle of the ceiling or on a wall, six to twelve inches below the ceiling. Smoke, heated air, and many toxic gases will rise and begin to mushroom down. For individuals who are difficult to awaken, it may be necessary to install an additional smoke alarm inside the bedroom. Additionally, it is recommended that there be at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home.

How do you maintain a smoke alarm?

Smoke Alarm Maintenance Routine maintenance includes three basic steps: vacuuming, testing and changing the battery.

  • Clean the smoke alarm monthly by gently vacuuming to remove dust and cobwebs allowing proper air flow through all vents.
  • Test the smoke alarm every month following the procedures recom mended by the manufacturer.
  • Replace the battery annually. An easy way to remember this is to change the battery every fall at the same time that you change your clocks back from daylight savings time. In several older types of alarms it may be necessary to replace bulbs. This should be done according to the manufacturers’ instructions.
  • Smoke alarms don’t last forever. Any smoke alarm ten-years-old should be replaced.

How to plan your escape?

Once a fire starts it spreads rapidly. You may have only seconds to get out. Normal exits may be blocked by smoke, heat and/or fire. It is important that everyone knows what to do.

Plan two exits from every room. All family members should know all escape routes. Choose a meeting place outside the residence so you will know everyone has escaped. Practice escaping to test your plan before a real emergency.

If there is a need for immediate escape, don’t waste time trying to fight the fire, and don’t stop to call the fire department from inside the house. Get out and call 911 from a neighbor’s phone or from another safe location. Staying in the house to call may cost you your life!
Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas produced by incomplete combustion. Any fuel burning appliance, vehicle, tool or other device has the potential to produce dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide gas.

Common CO producing devices around the house.

  • Fuel fired furnaces (non-electric)
  • Gas Water Heaters
  • Fireplaces and Woodstoves
  • Gas Stoves
  • Gas Dryers
  • Charcoal Grills
  • Motorized Yard Equipment
  • Automobiles
It kills thousands of people each year, and injures many more. Since you cannot see, taste, or smell carbon monoxide, a Carbon Monoxide detector is the only way to alert you to increasingly dangerous levels of carbon monoxide before tragedy strikes.

Carbon Monoxide, like Oxygen, enters the body through the lungs during the normal breathing process. However, carbon monoxide competes with oxygen. Carbon monoxide combines with red blood cells approximately 300 times easier than oxygen. Therefore, it blocks the oxygen from your body over a period of time and if concentrations get high enough, carbon monoxide can kill you in minutes. It takes approximately five hours for the levels of carbon monoxide attached to the blood cells to be reduced to 50%.

Carbon Monoxide concentration levels are measured as Parts per Million (PPM). Here is a breakdown of carbon monoxide ppm and their effect upon a typical adult male.

PPM CO Elapsed Time Symptoms
35 ppm

8 hours

The maximum allowed exposure for a continuous exposure in any 8-hour period.
200 ppm

2-3 hours

Mild headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness.
400 ppm

1-2 hours

Serious headache – other symptoms intensify. Life threatening after 3 hours.
800 ppm

45 minutes

Dizziness, nausea and convulsions. Unconscious within 2 hours. Death within 2-3 hours.
1600 ppm

20 minutes

Headache dizziness and nausea. Death within 1-2 hours.
3200 ppm

5-10 minutes

Headache, dizziness and nausea. Death within 1 hour.
6400 ppm

1-2 minutes

Headache, dizziness and nausea. Death within 25-30 minutes.
12,800 ppm

1-3 minutes


As the information above illustrates, the symptoms vary widely based upon exposure levels, duration and the general health and age of the individual. You will notice one recurring theme that is most significant in recognizing Carbon Monoxide poisoning. That is the presence of a headache, dizziness and nausea. These flu like symptoms are often mistaken for a real case of the flu and can result in a delayed or misdiagnosed treatment.

Carbon monoxide accidents are preventable. Actions you should take to protect your family are:

  • Every fall you should have a qualified technician inspect your gas furnace and appliances.
  • Never allow your car to run in an enclosed area, especially if it is attached to your house.
  • Make sure your fireplace is in good repair and do not close the damper before the fire is out.
  • Install CO alarms to give your family a warning if CO is building up in your house.

Several types of CO alarms are on the market. One type is plugged into a wall socket and has a life of about 10 years. The other type of alarm uses a chemical sensor and battery. The sensor/battery unit has a two year limited warranty and does indicate a low battery by beeping once a minute. To keep this alarm operating properly, the sensor/battery must be replaced when the battery is low. CO alarms can be purchased at many local hardware and small appliance stores at a cost of $35 to $50. Make sure the alarm that you purchase has an Underwriters Laboratory (UL) label.

Regardless of the alarm you choose, there are some things you need to know. Carbon monoxide alarms should be located on every floor and mounted according to the manufacture’s instructions. If the alarm goes off, everyone should get out of the house at once and call the fire department by dialing 911 from a neighbor’s house. Do not ventilate your house by opening doors and windows. When the fire department personnel arrive they will obtain CO readings in different areas of your home to determine the source of the CO.

Another very important point to remember is that you still need a working smoke alarm on every level of your home. The CO alarm does not sense smoke or fire. Smoke alarms are needed to give your family early warning if there is a fire in your home.

If you are concerned about whether your furnace and/or appliances are working properly, contact your contractor to have an inspection. If you have questions about your gas furnaces or appliance, contact your gas company. If your CO alarm gives a warning signal, get out of the house and call the fire department.
Home Fire Safety
Install smoke detectors

A working smoke detector can alert you if there is a fire in your home. This provides early warning in time to escape a fire. Smoke detectors should be on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom. Test your detectors monthly and change the battery twice a year. Any smoke detector that is more than 10 years old should be replaced.

Plan your fire escape

If fire breaks out you have to get out fast. Prepare for a fire emergency by sitting down with your family and agreeing on an escape plan. Be sure that everyone knows at least two ways out from every room – doors and windows. Decide on a meeting place outside where everyone will meet after they escape. Practice these plans every 6 months.

Keep an eye on smokers

Careless smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths in North America. Smoking in bed when you are drowsy can be deadly. Provide smokers with ashtrays and soak butts with water before discarding them. Before going to bed or leaving home after someone has been smoking, check under and around cushions and upholstered furniture for smoldering cigarettes. Ashes from cigarettes can retain heat for 48 hrs.

Cook carefully

Never leave food unattended. Keep cooking areas clear of combustibles and wear clothes with short or rolled-up sleeves when you cook. Turn pot handles inward on the stove where you cannot bump them or children cannot grab them. If grease catches fire in a pan, slide a lid over the pan to smother the flames and turn off the heat. Leave the lid on until it is cool.

Give space heaters space

Keep portable heaters and space heaters at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn. Keep children and pets away from heaters and never leave heaters on when you leave home or go to bed. Never refill kerosene heaters inside the house. The fumes are combustible and could catch fire.

Playing with matches

Remember, matches and lighters are tools, not toys – in a child’s hands, matches and lighters can be deadly. Use only child-resistant lighters and store all matches and lighters up high, where small children can’t see or reach them. Teach your children that matches and lighters are tools, not toys, and should only be used by adults or with adult supervision. Teach young children that they should always tell a grown-up if they find matches or lighters.

Cool a burn

Run cool water over a burn for 10 to 15 minutes. Never put butter or any other grease or ointment on a burn. If the burned skin blisters or is charred, see a doctor immediately. Never use ice.

Use electricity safely

If an electrical appliance smokes or has an unusual smell, unplug it immediately, then have it serviced before using it again. Replace any electrical cords that are frayed or cracked. Don’t overload extension cords or run them under rugs. Don’t tamper with your fuse box or use improper size fuses.

Crawl low under smoke

During a fire, smoke and poisonous gases rise with the heat. The air is cleaner near the floor. If you find smoke while you are escaping from a fire, find an alternate escape route.

Stop, Drop and Roll

If your clothes catch fire, don’t run. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, covering your face with your hands, and roll side to side, over and over to smother the flames.
Home Escape Planning
Once a fire starts, it can spread rapidly. Halls and stairways may become filled with intense heat; poisonous gases and blinding smoke. Exits may be blocked, trapping you or your family. Protect your family by developing and practicing exit drills in the home starting today. Most fire deaths occur late at night while people are sleeping, you should practice your plan during the day and also practice one at night. Everyone should know exactly what to do if a fire occurs in your home.

Plan Your Escape

  • Gather your family together to discuss your plan.
  • Draw a floor plan of your entire house. Include the doors, windows, stairs, halls, and balconies.
  • Show two ways out of every room. One exit is your primary or normal route out of your home. A secondary or emergency exit should be identified in the event your primary exit is blocked. You may need to include safety ladders for second story windows. Check at your local hardware store.
  • Have a method of alerting the entire family when a fire is detected. Every home should have a working smoke detector.
  • Plan a meeting place outside and away from the home. Make sure everyone is accounted for and that no one goes back into a burning house. Once out, stay out!
  • Call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone. Dial 911.

Practice Your Plan

  • Have every member in your family participate.
  • Everyone should be in the bedroom with the door closed. A closed door will hold back deadly smoke and hot gases.
  • Sound the smoke detector, to alert the family.
  • Roll out of your bed and crawl on the floor to the door. Remember smoke and heat rises, stay low to the ground.
  • Feel the door with the backside of your hand. Pretend it feels hot. If hot, crawl to your secondary emergency exit. Practice a second time and pretend it feels cool. If your door feels cool to the touch, brace your shoulder against the door and open it cautiously. If hot heat and smoke rush in, closed the door immediately and go to your emergency exit.
  • Everyone should meet outside at the assigned family meeting place.
  • Discuss who will go the neighbor’s house to use the phone and call 911.
  • Practice your plan at least twice a year.
What to do after a fire?
You have just had one of the biggest shocks of your life. Your home suffered a fire, it may be a total loss, or minor in nature, either way you probably are wondering:

What do we do now that the firefighters have gone?

Report Your Fire

After all members of your household are safe and the firefighters have gone, telephone both your insurance agent and company and report your loss.

Get Your Family Settled

If you cannot stay in your home, try to arrange staying with family or friends (keep in mind that it may be from several weeks to several months). Your local Red Cross chapter may be able to help you on an immediate, short-term basis. Your insurance company will review your policy with you if long-term housing applies.

Protect Your Property

You will be expected to take “reasonable care” to protect the remainder of your property. If the utilities were shut off (gas, water, electricity) then you should have professional service personnel check it before it is turned back on. Otherwise further damage can occur. Broken windows should be boarded up.

Make A Damage Inventory

You should itemize all items damaged by the fire, list it room by room, list even the most insignificant items. Try to remember when you bought the item and how much you spent, save any receipts you may have. Do not throw anything away until you have agreed on a settlement! The insurance company will send a contractor out to estimate the damage. It would be advisable to have some damage idea before you accept any settlement offers.

Talk With Your Insurance Company

You might disagree with your insurance companies offer. Discuss the matter in detail with the insurance adjuster and your agent. If you still disagree, turn the offer down and submit it to appraisal. The cost will be borne by both you and the company. There are also public adjusters that will assist you in preparing a damage inventory to the insurance company. Public adjusters charge a percentage of your settlement for their service.

Mortage Payments

Make sure to keep up your mortgage payments even after the fire unless the lender agrees (in writing) to some other arrangement. If you are renting or leasing, check on your lease agreement for a specific arrangement. You should also check with your tax preparer for any tax credit you may be entitled to.

If you have any questions about what to do after a fire, please contact us.
Seasonal Fire Safety  (Fall/Winter)
Fireplace Safety
WARNING! Do not use a bag to dispose of ashes. Can your ashes.

Most people do not view the improper disposal of fireplace ashes as a serious home safety threat, but statistics prove otherwise. The National Fire Protection Association recently released statistical data taken from the years 1994 – 1998, concerning fires started by a hot ember or ash that was abandoned or discarded. According to this survey, we can expect the following to occur each year:

  • 9,870 structure fires
  • 32 civilian deaths
  • 171 civilian injuries
  • $1,16.5 property damage ( in millions)

Proper Fireplace Cleaning Methods

When you clean your fireplace, there are a few things to keep in mind.

You should always place discarded fireplace ashes in a heavy metal container, moisten the ashes and cover the container with a metal lid. NEVER USE A PAPER BAG, a cardboard box or a plastic trash bag in the cleaning process. Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
Ashes should be kept in a metal container outside, away from the house to cool. Your garage, house, or deck are dangerous locations for ashes to cool. After ashes have cooled in a metal container, it is necessary to find a suitable disposal site. Never dump fireplace ashes until they have had at least four days to cool. Even after four days, great care should be given in selecting a dump site. Wooded areas should always be avoided.

Proper Disposal of Fireplace Ashes

Garden areas or flower beds are ideal locations to dump cooled fireplace ashes, allowing many nutrients to return to the soil. Please survey the area and evaluate any additional hazards before disposing of your cooled ashes. Make sure all dry leaves have been removed from the area before dumping your ashes in either a garden or flower bed that is away from the house and remember to moisten the area.

What Can You Do to Help?

The most important contribution you as a homeowner can make to our campaign is simply to heed our message of prevention to tell family and friends. Our goal is to eliminate this problem in Tooele City. Every fire we prevent brings us closer to success. Just remember our simple slogan: “Can Your Ashes””
Candle Safety
The use of open-flame candles can add ambience to a holiday, provide warmth to a home and be a source of light during power outages. For these and other reasons, a great number of consumers are burning candles. The Tooele Fire Department would like to remind consumers that the improper use of candles can result in catastrophe. To avoid the dangers of fire while burning candles, please follow the safety tips listed below:

  • Never leave candles unattended
  • Keep all combustible materials away from open flames
  • Do not burn candles near windows or doorways
  • Place candles in glass or ceramic containers
  • Place candles on a flat, sturdy surface
  • Never leave candles burning when children or pets are present
Danger in the Cold
The human body has regulatory mechanisms to defend itself from internal cooling. Even a slight drop in body temperature triggers the regulatory systems to turn up the heat through shivering. Once the core temperature drops below 94 degrees Fahrenheit, the regulatory system fails. As the temperature drops even further, the possibility of death increases; at 83 degrees Fahrenheit cardiac standstill, or fibrillation, becomes common.

A decrease in body temperature is called hypothermia. A person with moderate hypothermia (94 – 84 degrees Fahrenheit) may be conscious, but will be lethargic, apathetic, cool, and pale. The high-risk group for hypothermia is very likely elderly persons who can’t afford high heating bills.

Severe hypothermia results when the core temperature drops below 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A person will most likely be unconscious, with cold skin, and rigid muscles. Follow these procedures immediately.

  • Activate Emergency Medical Service by dialing 911
  • Handle gently
  • Remove from cold and replace wet clothes with dry clothes
  • Maintain an airway
  • Cover with blankets/heating pads, etc.
  • Do not give alcohol
Frostbite is a more common, although less serious result of exposure to cold. Most of us have had a snowball fight at some point in our lives, and may have experienced some of the following signs associated with frostbite: prickling pain, numbness, waxy-white or mottled-blue discoloration, hardness, and impaired movement.

Do the following right away

  • Seek medical attention (take person to the hospital or dial 911)
  • Remove from the cold
  • Very gently remove covering (especially gloves and socks)
  • Cover frostbitten nose or ears with warm hands
  • Place your frostbitten hand in your armpit
  • If unable to seek medical attention, place extremity in water at a constant
  • 100 – 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cover with dry sterile dressing and elevate injured part on a pillow

Do Not

  • Rub snow on a frostbitten part
  • Massage or rub a frostbitten area
  • Use dry or radiant heat for rewarming
  • Rupture blisters
  • Apply ointment
  • Apply tight bandages
  • Allow a thawed extremity to refreeze
  • Allow the patient to smoke

Unfortunately, these cold-related dangers occur frequently and often go unnoticed or untreated. This results in permanent injuries, amputations, and sometimes loss of life.

If you plan to be outside in cold weather, dress warmly in layers, wear a hat (50 percent of the body’s heat loss is through the head), and know when to come in from the cold.
Holiday Cooking
Cooking a holiday dinner at home? You must be extra careful. The sheer scope of the holiday feast can put unusual strains on the chef and the kitchen alike. And, in the final hours you will have to contend with all the helpful -assistant cooks – your family can produce; and you’ll have to keep them safe as well.

Here are a few ground rules for a fire safe holiday:

Declare the kitchen off limits to young children, and even adults who aren’t preparing food. Fewer people mean fewer chances for spills and burns.
Always cook with pot handles turned inward, and with appliance cords safely out of the way. Protruding handles and dangling cords are too easily pulled or jostled, spilling scalding liquids on people and furniture.
If you’re dressing up for dinner, plan to run upstairs and change just before you serve. Frilly blouses and drooping sleeves have no place in a working kitchen; they invite clothing fires. Roll up your sleeves and don an apron for added safety.
Don’t risk burning your fingers or spilling hot foods. Take extra care to use potholders when carrying hot vessels. Never run across the kitchen with hot items.
In a kitchen full of relatives, be extra cautious. If you should be bumped or tripped, it could ruin the holiday.
If a pan should catch fire on the stove, put a lid on it. You can also use a cutting board to cover the pan. This takes the air away from the fire and puts it out. With some baking soda, you can make a soda shaker from a coffee can with holes punched in it. You have just made a low cost, low-pressure fire extinguisher just perfect for the kitchen. All you have to do is shake the baking soda over the fire and blanket it, smothering the fire. Remember: Do not use water on a grease fire!

By using your common sense and a few precautions, you can prevent a tragedy in your home. Please, don’t include us in your holiday plans!
Holiday Tips
Each year fires occurring during the holiday season injure 2,000 individuals and cause over $500 million in damage. The Tooele City Fire Department would like to offer some simple fire safe tips to ensure you have a happy and safe holiday season. By following these tips, you will greatly reduce your chance of becoming a holiday fire casualty.

Preventing Holiday Tree Fires

Selecting a Tree for the Holiday
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull away from the branches. The needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk off the ground. If many needles fall off the tree, it has been cut too long and has probably dried out. This creates a fire hazard!
Caring for Your Tree
Be careful, not to place your tree to close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to more easily ignite. Be cautious, do not drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up to early or leave it up to long after the holiday. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
Disposing of Your Tree
Never put tree branches or needles in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. When the tree becomes dry, discard it promptly. The best ways to dispose of your tree is by taking it to a recycling center or have it hauled away.

Holiday Lights

Maintain Your Holiday Lights
Inspect holiday lights each year for frayed wires, bare spots, gaps in the insulation, broken or cracked sockets and excessive kinking or wear before putting them up. Use only lighting listed by an approved testing laboratory.
Do not Overload Electrical Outlets
Do not link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it is safe. Connect strings of lights to an approved extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet. Make sure to periodically check the wires – they should not be warm to the touch.
Do Not Leave Holiday Lights on Unattended.
Holiday Decorations

Use only Nonflammable Decorations
All decorations should be flammable or flame-retardant and placed away from heat vents and fireplaces.
Never Put Wrapping Paper in a Fireplace
It can throw off dangerous sparks and produce a chemical build-up in the home that could cause an explosion.

Artificial Hoiday Trees

If you are using a metallic or artificial tree, make sure it is flame retardant.

Use Candles With Care

Candles can be dangerous. If you do use them, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be easily knocked down. Never leave burning candles unattended.
Winter Safety
If you must go outside, observe the following safety measures…

Avoid overexertion. Cold weather itself, without any physical exertion, puts an extra strain on the heart. If you add to this the strain of heavy physical activity such as shoveling snow, pushing an automobile or even walking too fast or too far, you risk damaging your body.

Dress warmly in loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Wear a hat. Protect your face and cover you mouth to protect your lungs from very cold air. Wear mittens instead of gloves — they allow your fingers to move freely in contact with one another and will keep your hands much warmer.

Watch for frostbite and other symptoms of cold–weather exposure. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, tip of nose, ear lobes. If such symptoms are detected, get medical attention immediately. Do no rub with snow or ice — this does not help the condition and, in fact, will make it worse. The best treatment for frostbite is the rewarming of the affected tissue.

Avoid alcoholic beverages. Alcohol causes the body to lose its heat more rapidly — even though one may feel warmer after drinking alcoholic beverages.

Keep yourself and your clothes dry. Change wet socks and all other wet clothing as quickly as possible to prevent loss of body heat. Wet clothing loses all of its insulating value and transmits heat rapidly.

Signs of cold weather exposure…

When the body begins to lose heat faster than it can produce it, a condition called hypothermia begins to develop. The symptoms become very apparent, and include:

Uncontrollable shivering
Vague, slow, slurred speech
Memory lapses; incoherence
Immobile, fumbling hands
Frequent stumbling; lurching gait
Apparent exhaustion; inability to get up after a rest

Treatment for cold weather exposure…

If a person shows any signs of overexposure to cold or wet and windy weather, take the following measures — even if the person claims to be in no difficulty. Often the person will not realize the seriousness of the situation.

Get the person into dry clothing and into a warm bed or sleeping bag with a “hot” water bottle (which should actually be only warm to the touch, not hot), warm towels, heating pad, or some other such heat source.
Concentrate heat on the trunk of the body first — that is, the shoulders, chest and stomach.
Keep the head low and the feet up to get warm blood circulating to the head.
Give the person warm drinks.
Never give the person alcohol, sedative, tranquilizers or pain relievers. They only slow down body processes even more.
Keep the person quiet. Do not jostle, massage or rub.
If symptoms are extreme, call for professional medical assistance immediately.

In addition to the obvious inconveniences snow, ice and cold weather cause they can also have deadly consequences. It is important that you…

Keep your driveway and walks clear so that firefighters and medics can reach your house if you need them.
Ensure all private roads are kept clear so fire apparatus and ambulances can reach your home.
Remove all snow and ice adjacent to emergency exits, especially those exits that are infrequently used.
Keep snow and ice cleared from outside stairs.
If a major storm occurs the fire hydrants nearest your home should be kept clear so that firefighters can readily locate and use it.
Ensure your pets are kept safe and secure when outside temperatures are below freezing.
Seasonal Fire Safety  (Spring/Summer)
Information on Firework Restrictions can be found: Here
Outdoor Cookouts
Everyone loves a cookout. However, cookouts can lead to tragedy if they are not properly handled.

Here are some safety tips for a happy and safe cookout season:

  • Never use gasoline to start a fire; it is much too dangerous to use on grills.
  • Use charcoal lighter fluid safely. Use only on coals before the fire is lit. If you try to make a fire bigger by adding more fluid, the heat from the coals may ignite the stream of fuel and burn back into the can, causing it to explode in your hands.
  • Try using a U.L. approved electrical starter in place of lighter fluid.
  • Place grills away from structures so they will not tip over or ignite objects above them. One of the biggest dangers with grills is trying to use them on apartment or condominium balconies. This practice is unsafe and against the law.
  • No charcoal cooker, brazier, hibachi or grill or any gasoline or other flammable liquid or liquefied petroleum (for example, propane) gas-fire stove or similar device shall be used or stored on the balconies or within 15 feet of any apartment building or other structures with similar occupancy. However, electric grilles or pre-piped natural gas grilles are permitted on both balconies and patios as long as they are designed or approved for lava rocks or permanent briquettes.
  • Never bring a grill into the home. The carbon monoxide produced by burning charcoal can be dangerous, even deadly, in an enclosed space.
  • Grills should be placed far enough away from any home, structure or combustibles so an adequate amount of air can circulate. A minimum of 15 feet is recommended.
  • Keep a garden hose or a portable fire extinguisher handy in case the fire gets out of control.
  • Keep children and pets away from fires and grills. Grills continue to give off heat long after the cooking has stopped. It only takes a second for curiosity to cause a serious burn.
  • Though coals may appear to be cool, always soak them with water. Coals retain enough heat to reignite for days after the fire. Dispose of grill ashes in a safe fashion. Never place hot ashes in paper or plastic bags or containers. Only use metal containers for hot ashes.
  • Spare propane bottles should be stored outside away from the home. A back-yard shed is a good place.
  • If your bag of charcoal gets wet, leave it in a well ventilated area away from the house. During the drying process spontaneous ignition can occur in confined areas.
  • Very important is the “grill” type lighter. These lighters are propane fueled and are NOT child proof. They present a real fire hazard in the hands of children. They must at all times be kept out of the reach of children.
With a little planning on everyone’s part, this can be a safe summer cookout season for all of us.
Backyard Fire Pit Safety
Pursuant to Tooele Code 3-1-29, Recreational or cooking fires are allowed by persons on their own property so long as:

  • the recreational or cooking intention for the fire is evident;
  • the fire pile height does not exceed 12 inches above the bottom of the fire ring, fire pit, or other fire containing structure at any time;
  • the fire is contained within a non-combustible fire ring, fire pit, or other fire containing structure no larger than 36 inches in diameter;
  • fire extinguishing items are immediately on-hand (e.g., hose, shovel, water bucket, fire extinguisher); and,
  • the fire does not become a smoke or fume nuisance to neighboring properties.
Any time you’re dealing with an open flame you should always be responsible and take the necessary precautions to avoid any accidents. An open fire is a beautiful, warming accent to any yard or garden setting. It is inviting and invigorating as a central point of congregation and socialization. Make sure it is also safe so that you are free to enjoy it without the worry of an unforeseen accident.

Wood burning fire pits give the most authentic outdoor fire experience, but a wood burning fire requires the most attention. Here’s a couple of quick tips to remember:

  • Be sure to clear away brush and dead or dry vegetation in a 10’-20’ circle around your fire pit;
  • Fire pits should be 25 feet from any structure – Don’t place your fire pit under a covered porch or under any low hanging trees where errant sparks and heat might ignite dry foliage and branches.
  • ALWAYS use a spark screen so that sparks cannot escape the fire (especially with wet or sappy wood).
  • Keep fire extinguishing items immediately on-hand and nearby the fire pit (e.g., water hose, shovel, water bucket, fire extinguisher).
  • Always use personal protective equipment. Use a poker or log grabber to move and arrange logs and never try to move a portable fire pit if it’s hot.
  • Do not use lighter fluids to start your fires. They can be unpredictable and dangerous.  Instead, use kindling and build your fire up slowly so that it is always under control and manageable.

Liquid Propane (LP) and natural gas (NG) fire pits require less attention and tending and are more convenient and easy to light, but that doesn’t mean that you should be any less diligent and cautious.

Every time you intend to use your LP or NG fire pit you should:

  • Check all the hoses, valves and attachments to make sure there are no leaks or holes before you introduce any kind of flame or spark for ignition.
  • If your fire pit runs on a pilot-light be sure to check it from time to time to make sure it hasn’t been blown out and that combustible gases aren’t filling your fire area.
  • Always know how and where to shut of your LP or NG supply in case of an emergency.
Backyard fire pits are lovely additions to any outdoor décor. With a little care and forethought they can be safe, almost worry free additions that will bring you warmth and joy for years to come. Protect yourself, your family and your home by using safe fire tending practices and a little common sense.
Water Safety
When participating in any activity in, on, or around the water the best thing anyone can do to stay safe is to learn to swim. Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone. The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. To enroll in a swim course, contact your local Red Cross Chapter.

General Water Safety Tips

  • Swim in supervised areas only.
  • Obey all rules and posted signs.
  • Watch out for the “dangerous toos”–too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Don’t mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgement, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills, and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
  • Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies.

Beach Safety

  • Protect your skin: Sunlight contains two kinds of UV rays — UVA increases the risk of skin cancer, skin aging, and other skin diseases. UVB causes sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. Limit the amount of direct sunlight you receive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and wear a sunscreen with a sun protection factor containing a high rating such as 15.
  • Drink plenty of water regularly and often even if you do not feel thirsty. Your body needs water to keep cool. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine in them. They can make you feel good briefly but make the heat’s effects on your body worse. This is especially true with beer, which dehydrates the body.
  • Watch for signs of heat stroke: Heat stroke is life-threatening. The victim’s temperature control system, which produces sweating to cool the body, stops working. The body temperature can rise so high that brain damage and death may result if the body is not cooled quickly. Signals include hot, red, and dry skin; changes in consciousness, rapid, weak pulse, and rapid, shallow breathing. Call 9-1-1 or your local EMS number. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the body by wrapping wet sheets around the body and fan it. If you have ice packs or cold packs, place them on each of the victim’s wrists and ankles, in the armpits and on the neck to cool the large blood vessels. Watch for signals of breathing problems and make sure the airway is clear. Keep the person lying down.
  • Wear eye protection: Sunglasses are like sunscreen for your eyes and protect against damage that can occur from UV rays. Be sure to wear sunglasses with labels that indicate that they absorb at least 90 percent of UV sunlight.
  • Wear foot protection: Many times, people’s feet can get burned from the sand or cut from glass in the sand.


  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination — over 50 percent of drownings result from boating incidents involving alcohol. For the same reasons it is dangerous to operate an automobile while under the influence of alcohol, people should not operate a boat while drinking alcohol.
  • Look for the label: Use Coast Guard-approved life jackets for yourself and your passengers when boating and fishing.
  • Develop a float plan. Anytime you go out in a boat, give a responsible person details about where you will be and how long you will be gone. This is important because if the boat is delayed because of an emergency, becomes lost, or encounters other problems, you want help to be able to reach you.
  • Find a boating course in your area (Red Cross, U.S. Power Squadron, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, US Sailing, etc.) — these courses teach about navigation rules, emergency procedures and the effects of wind, water conditions, and weather.
  • Watch the weather: Know local weather conditions and prepare for electrical storms.
  • Watch local news programs. Stop boating as soon as you see or hear a storm.

Home Pools

  • Never leave a child unobserved around water. Your eyes must be on the child at all times. Adult supervision is recommended.
  • Install a phone by the pool or keep a cordless phone nearby so that you can call 9-1-1 in an emergency.
  • Learn Red Cross CPR and insist that babysitters, grandparents, and others who care for your child know CPR.
  • Post CPR instructions and 9-1-1 or your local emergency number in the pool area.
  • Enclose the pool completely with a self-locking, self-closing fence with vertical bars. Openings in the fence should be no more than four inches wide. If the house is part of the barrier, the doors leading from the house to the pool should remain locked and be protected with an alarm that produces sounds when the door is unexpectedly opened.
  • Never leave furniture near the fence that would enable a child to climb over the fence.
  • Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the pool and know how to use it. Pole, rope, and personal flotation devices (PFDs) are recommended.
  • Keep toys away from the pool when it is not in use. Toys can attract young children into the pool.
  • Pool covers should always be completely removed prior to pool use.
  • To learn more about home pool safety, you can purchase the video It Only Takes a Minute from your local Red Cross.
  • If a child is missing, check the pool first. Go to the edge of the pool and scan the entire pool, bottom, and surface, as well as the surrounding pool area.

Keeping Children Safe In, On, and Around the Water

  • Maintain constant supervision. Watch children around any water environment (pool, stream, lake, tub, toilet, bucket of water), no matter what skills your child has acquired and no matter how shallow the water.
  • Don’t rely on substitutes. The use of flotation devices and inflatable toys cannot replace parental supervision. Such devices could suddenly shift position, lose air, or slip out from underneath, leaving the child in a dangerous situation.
  • Enroll children in a water safety course or Learn to Swim program. Your decision to provide your child with an early aquatic experience is a gift that will have infinite rewards. These courses encourage safe practices. You can also purchase a Community Water Safety manual at your local Red Cross.
  • Parents should take a CPR course. Knowing these skills can be important around the water and you will expand your capabilities in providing care for your child. You can contact your local Red Cross to enroll in a CPR for Infants and Child course.

Lakes and Rivers

  • Select a supervised area. A trained lifeguard who can help in an emergency is the best safety factor. Even good swimmers can have an unexpected medical emergency in the water.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Select an area that is clean and well maintained. A clean bathhouse, clean restrooms, and a litter-free environment show the management’s concern for your health and safety.
  • Select an area that has good water quality and safe natural conditions. Murky water, hidden underwater objects, unexpected drop-offs, and aquatic plant life are hazards. Water pollution can cause health problems for swimmers. Strong tides, big waves, and currents can turn an event that began as fun into a tragedy.
  • Make sure the water is deep enough before entering headfirst. Too many swimmers are seriously injured every year by entering headfirst into water that is too shallow. A feetfirst entry is much safer than diving.
  • Be sure rafts and docks are in good condition. A well-run open-water facility maintains its rafts and docks in good condition, with no loose boards or exposed nails. Never swim under a raft or dock. Always look before jumping off a dock or raft to be sure no one is in the way.
  • Avoid drainage ditches and arroyos. Drainage ditches and arroyos for water run-off are not good places for swimming or playing in the water. After heavy rains, they can quickly change into raging rivers that can easily take a human life. Even the strongest swimmers are no match for the power of the water. Fast water and debris in the current make ditches and arroyos very dangerous.

Ocean Safety

  • Stay within the designated swimming area, ideally within the visibility of a lifeguard.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Check the surf conditions before you enter the water. Check to see if a warning flag is up or check with a lifeguard for water conditions, beach conditions, or any potential hazards.
  • Stay away from piers, pilings, and diving platforms when in the water.
  • Keep a lookout for aquatic life. Water plants and animals may be dangerous. Avoid patches of plants. Leave animals alone.
  • Make sure you always have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  • Don’t try to swim against a current if caught in one. Swim gradually out of the current, by swimming across it.

Personal Watercraft

  • Know your local laws and regulations. Some states have special laws governing the use of personal water craft (PWC) which address operations, registration and licensing requirements, education, required safety equipment and minimum ages.
  • Operate your PWC with courtesy and common sense. Follow the traffic pattern of the waterway. Obey no-wake and speed zones.
  • Use extreme caution around swimmers and surfers. Run your PWC at a slow speed until the craft is away from shore, swimming areas, and docks. Avoid passing close to other boats and jumping wakes. This behavior is dangerous and often illegal.
  • Coast Guard-approved life jackets should be worn by the operator of the PWC as well as any riders.
  • Ride with a buddy. PWCs should always travel in groups of two or three. You never know when an emergency might occur.
  • Alcohol and operating a PWC doesn’t mix. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination. For the same reasons it is dangerous to operate an automobile, people should not operate a boat or PWC while drinking alcohol.

Sailboarding and Windsurfing

  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Wear a wet suit in cold water to prevent hypothermia.
  • You need good physical strength and swimming ability. The American Red Cross has swimming courses for people of any age and swimming ability. To enroll in a swim course, contact your local Red Cross.
  • Take windsurfing lessons from a qualified instructor.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe.
  • Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.

Skin and SCUBA Diving

  • Receive instructions/take lessons from qualified divers before participating.
  • Get a medical examination and take a swim test before learning SCUBA diving.
  • Once certified, do not dive in rough or dangerous waters or in environments for which you are not trained. Ice, cave, and shipwreck diving require special training. One can easily get lost or trapped and run out of air.
  • Never dive by yourself.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe.
  • Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.


  • Practice in shallow water.
  • Check the equipment carefully and know how it functions.
  • Learn how to clear water from the snorkel.
  • Learn how to put your mask back on when you tread water.
  • Be careful not to swim or be carried by a current too far from shore or the boat.
  • Never snorkel alone.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe.
  • Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.


  • Take lessons from an experienced individual.
  • Wear a wet suit when in cold water.
  • Never surf alone.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe.
  • Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.

Tubing and Rafting

  • Always wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Do not overload the raft.
  • Do not go rafting after a heavy rain.
  • When rafting with a tour company, make sure the guides are qualified. Check with the local chamber of commerce for listings of accredited tour guides and companies.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe.
  • Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating, or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.


  • Be sure the area is well supervised by lifeguards before you or others in your group enter the water.
  • Read all posted signs. Follow the rules and directions given by lifeguards. Ask questions if you are not sure about a correct procedure.
  • When you go from one attraction to another, note that the water depth may be different and that the attraction should be used in a different way.
  • Before you start down a water slide, get in the correct position — face up and feet first.
  • Some facilities provide life jackets at no charge. If you cannot swim, wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. Check others in your group as well.

Water Skiing

  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket.
  • Be sure the boat and ski equipment are in good shape.
  • Always turn the boat motor completely off when you approach a fallen skier.
  • Watch the water ahead of you at all times.
  • Have an extra person aboard to watch and assist the skier.
  • Run parallel to shore and come in slowly when landing. Sit down if coming in too fast.
  • Use proper hand signals to signal boat operator.
  • Do not ski at night or in restricted areas.
  • Know local weather conditions. Make sure the water and weather conditions are safe.
  • Because water conducts electricity, it is wise to stop swimming, boating or any activities on the water as soon as you see or hear a storm. Also, heavy rains can make certain areas dangerous.