Safety Tips



There Is No Substitute for Active Supervision

  • Actively supervise children in and around open bodies of water, giving them your undivided attention. 

  • Whenever infants or toddlers are in or around water, an adult should be within arm’s reach to provide active supervision. We know it’s hard to get everything done without a little multitasking, but this is the time to avoid distractions of any kind. If children are near water, then they should be the only thing on your mind. Small children can drown in as little as one inch of water.

  • When there are several adults present and children are swimming, use the Water Watcher card strategy, which designates an adult as the Water Watcher for a certain amount of time (such as 15-minute periods) to prevent lapses in supervision. Download a Water Watcher card here. 

Start Slow With Babies

  • You can start introducing your babies to water when they are about 6 months old. Remember to always use waterproof diapers and change them frequently. 

Educate Your Kids About Swimming Safely

  • Every child is different, so enroll children in swimming lessons when you feel they are ready. Teach children how to tread water, float and stay by the shore. 

  • Make sure kids swim only in areas designated for swimming. Teach children that swimming in open water is not the same as swimming in a pool. They need to be aware of uneven surfaces, river currents, ocean undertow and changing weather.

  • Whether you’re swimming in a backyard pool or in a lake, teach children to swim with a partner, every time. From the start, teach children to never go near or in water without an adult present. 

Don’t Rely on Swimming Aids

  • Remember that swimming aids such as water wings or noodles are fun toys for kids, but they should never be used in place of a U.S. Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD).

Take the Time to Learn CPR 

  • We know you have a million things to do, but learning CPR should be on the top of the list. It will give you tremendous peace of mind – and the more peace of mind you have as a parent, the better. 

  • Local hospitals, fire departments and recreation departments offer CPR training.

  • Have your children learn CPR. It’s a skill that will serve them for a lifetime. 

Take Extra Steps Around Pools

  • A swimming pool is a ton of fun for you and your kids. Make sure backyard pools have four-sided fencing that’s at least 4 feet high and a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent a child from wandering into the pool area unsupervised. 

  • When using inflatable or portable pools, remember to empty them immediately after use. Store them upside down and out of children’s reach.

  • Install a door alarm, a window alarm or both to alert you if a child wanders into the pool area unsupervised. 

Check the Drains in Your Pool and Spa

  • Educate your children about the dangers of drain entanglement and entrapment and teach them to never play or swim near drains or suction outlets. 

  • Pools that pose the greatest risk of entrapment are children’s public wading pools, in-ground hot tubs, or any other pools that have flat drain grates or a single main drain system.

  • For new pools or hot tubs, install multiple drains in all pools, spas, whirlpools and hot tubs. This minimizes the suction of any one drain, reducing risk of death or injury. If you do have drains, protective measures include anti-entrapment drain covers and a safety vacuum release system to automatically release suction and shut down the pump should entrapment occur. 

  • Regularly check to make sure drain covers are secure and have no cracks, and replace flat drain covers with dome-shaped ones. If a pool or hot tub has a broken, loose or missing drain cover, don’t use it.

  • If you do have drains, protective measures include anti-entrapment drain covers and a safety vacuum release system to automatically release suction and shut down the pump should entrapment occur. Go to for a list of manufacturers of certified covers.  

  • Check to make sure your pool or hot tub’s drains are compliant with the Pool and Spa Safety Act.


Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  • Make sure your home has a carbon monoxide alarm. If you don’t have one, please go out and get one.

  • As with smoke alarms, make sure you have a carbon monoxide alarm on every level of your home, especially near sleeping areas, and keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances.

  • You won’t know that you have a carbon monoxide leak without a working alarm. So test alarms regularly and replace them every five to seven years depending on the manufacturer’s label.

  • For the best protection, have carbon monoxide alarms that are interconnected throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.

  • Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms, and vice versa. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are available.

Understand How Carbon Monoxide Can Be Harmful

  • Don’t use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window.

  • If you need to warm a vehicle, remove it from the garage immediately after starting it. Don’t leave a car, SUV or motorcycle engine running inside a garage, even if the doors are open.

  • Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.

  • On the outside of your home, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow and other debris.

  • Carbon monoxide can accumulate in or around your motorboat, so install an alarm on your boat.

Leave the House If the Alarm Sounds

  • If the alarm goes off, immediately move outdoors or to an open window or door for some fresh air. Account for everyone inside your home.

  • Call 911 or the fire department. Remain outside or by an open window until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

Store Gasoline Properly

  • If using gasoline-powered devices, store gasoline in a locked location where children cannot access it. Keep only small quantities in an approved container that has child safety features.

  • Keep gasoline away from any source of heat, spark or flame. Even common household appliances such as water heaters and clothes dryers can start a gasoline fire. Be sure to store your gasoline away from anything that could ignite it.

  • Store gasoline in a well-ventilated area outside your vehicle and living space.The safest place to store the container is in a detached garage or shed.

  • Never mix gasoline with fire.There is no safe way to start a fire with gasoline. 


  • Check Your Smoke Alarms

    • Working smoke alarms reduce the chances of dying in a fire by nearly 50 percent. They are a critical first step for staying safe, but in order to be effective, they have to be working properly.

    • For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area and in each bedroom.

    • Use Daylight Savings Time as a reminder to check your smoke alarms. Replace conventional batteries at least once a year, even if alarms are wired directly into your home’s electrical system.

    • Consider installing a smoke alarm that has a 10-year battery.

    • Smoke alarms expire after 10 years. So if your alarm is more than 10 years old, you should install a new one.

    Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

    • Create and practice a home fire escape plan with two ways out of your house in case of a fire. Get a stopwatch and time how fast your family can escape. The kids will love it.

    • As part of your plan, designate one person to get infants and small children out safely. Have a back-up plan for young children just in case the primary person is overcome by smoke.

    • Smoke is toxic. Teach children to “get low and go” if there is smoke when they are leaving the home.

    • Practice feeling the door, doorknob and cracks around the door with the back of your hand to see if they are too hot. Help your children practice this step.

    • Choose a place to meet outside that is a safe distance away from your home.

    In an Emergency, Leave Home Immediately

    • In the event of a fire, grab your family and leave your home immediately. Once you’re out of the house, stay out.

    • Wait to call 911 until after you are out of the home.

    If You Live in an Apartment, Pull the Alarm

    • If you don’t hear the building’s fire alarm, pull the nearest fire alarm “pull station” while leaving the floor.

    • Know all of your building’s fire escape exits and use the stairs to get out. Don’t use the elevator.

    If You’re Stuck Inside, Cover the Areas Where Smoke Might Come In

    • If you cannot safely escape your home or apartment, keep smoke out of the room by covering vents and cracks around the door, and call 911 or your fire department as quickly as possible.

    • Then signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.

    Keep Flammable Materials in Safe Areas

    • Remember to keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn, and always closely supervise children and pets when the heater is turned on.

    • Make sure you turn space heaters off when you leave the room.

    • If using gasoline-powered devices, store gasoline in a locked location where children cannot access it. Keep only small quantities in an approved container that has child safety features.

    Don’t Over Plug

    • To prevent possible fires, avoid plugging several appliance cords into the same electrical socket.

    Stay Focused Around the Kitchen

    • Use common sense in the kitchen. Limit distractions when cooking and don’t leave a hot oven or stovetop unattended.

    • Keep anything that can catch fire, such as dish towels or wooden spoons, away from your stovetop.

    • Have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of emergency, and make sure you know how it works. You might be surprised that most people don’t know how to use one.

    Install Barriers Such as Safety Gates Around Fireplaces, Ovens and Furnaces

    • Make sure your fireplace is protected by a sturdy screen. Remember that glass screens can take a long time to cool down.

    • If you are using a fireplace or wood stove, make sure you burn only seasoned hardwood such as oak, ash or maple.

    • If small children live in or visit your home, use a safety gate around your fireplace or wood stove.

    Blow Out Candles and Store Matches Out of Reach

    • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that can burn, and always blow them out when you leave the room or before you go to sleep.

    • Make a habit of placing matches, gasoline and lighters in a safe place, out of children’s reach. Avoid novelty lighters or lighters that look like toys.

    • Teach kids to never play with matches, lighters or fireworks. Depending on the age and maturity level of your child, it may be reasonable to use the items with the supervision of an adult. Just be sure that a fire extinguisher and a phone are close by in case of an emergency.

© 2021 Sennett Volunteer Fire Department