Stay Safe When Disinfecting Your Home

Cleaning and disinfecting our homes has taken on new importance during the coronavirus pandemic. To stay safe, it’s equally important to use and store cleaning and disinfecting products properly. The CDC has these tips:

  • Keep cleaning products out of reach in homes with small children and pets.
  • Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia–or any chemical other than water. This can create deadly gasses. (Note: Bleach can appear on ingredients lists as sodium hypochlorite).
  • Just as you shouldn’t directly mix chemicals in a bottle, be careful about using one product after another on the same surface. If you must use two separate products to clean and disinfect, wipe the surface thoroughly with water to remove all residue from the first product before using the second.
  • When using bleach keep the area well-ventilated.
  • Disinfectant sprays are meant to be used on surfaces, never on the body, pets, or food.

The CDC provides these directions for a proper bleach solution: 5 tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water, OR 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Make only as much bleach solution as you’ll need right now, because it starts to lose effectiveness after only about a day.

Kids at Home

With many schools closed and parents working from home due to coronavirus, many households are disrupted. As you try to establish normal routines for these abnormal times, keep safety in mind:

  • Tripping hazards—toys, shoes, books on the floor—can accumulate quickly when kids are home all day. To prevent falls and keep pathways clear if you need to get out quickly on case of fire, make “pick up” a regular part of kids’ routines.
  • Maintain a “child-free zone” around a hot cooktop and oven. Children ages 8 and younger can help in the kitchen, but only with activities that don’t involve heat or knives. Check out Kids in the Kitchen for what kitchen responsibilities are appropriate at different ages. And while you’re cooking more at home, make sure you’re Modeling Kitchen Fire Safety.
  • Looking for activities to do with your kids? If you haven’t planned—or recently reviewed—your home fire escape plan now could be the perfect time. Learn how at www.homefiredrill.org

Online activities for kids:

Mikey Makes a Mess – a children’s book by Fireproof Children

Help Mikey Make It Out – an award-winning online teaching game

Cooking Safely at Home

With restaurants closed in many states and communities, we will certainly be cooking more at home. So, it’s’ a good time the remember that cooking is a leading cause of house fires – make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

60% of house fires start in the kitchen, but these fires can be prevented!  Take these simple steps to keep your family safe:

  • Don’t leave the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Keep the stovetop area clean and free of clutter.
  • Tie back hair and loose clothing.
  • Keep a lid nearby to slide over a small grease fire and keep it on until the pan is cool–NEVER put water on a grease fire.

Frying is a leading cause of kitchen fires – stay safe AND healthy and consider baking or broiling your food instead!

Kids in the Kitchen

Cooking Matters: Modeling Kitchen Fire Safety

Protect Your Family From Fire

Protege a su Familia de un Incendio

Protect Your Family From Scalds and Burns

Find more information on kitchen safety and other prevention tips, here.

Prevention 1st Fire Safety Poster Contest Winners Announced!


NYS Senator Joe Robach, Marlene Hamman-Whitmore and
Rochester Fire Marshal Christine Schryver judge the posters

Talented young artists from schools throughout the area–RCSD Abelard Reynolds School #42, Cobbles Elementary School, East Rochester School, Harris Hill Elementary School, Honeoye Falls Manor School, RCSD Pinnacle School #35, Scribner Road Elementary School, St. Joseph School, and the Charles Finney School–contributed posters to the contest this year.

Congratulations to our 1st Place Winners in each category:


Rishaan Shah, 1st Grade, Scribner Road Elementary School

Juliette LaBarr, 4th Grade, The Charles Finney School

Alyssa Klawon, 5th Grade, RCSD School #42

Honorable mentions go to:


Youngju Noh, 3 Grade, Cobbles Elementary

Emma Thomas, 1st Grade, St. Joseph School

Abdisadik Ali, 5th Grade, RCSD School #42

Antonio Dixon, 5th grade, RCSD School #42

Hyoju Joanne Noh, 1st Grade, Cobbles Elementary School

And congratulations to fifth-grader D’angelo Dixon, the lucky winner of a random drawing of all poster artists, who will get a ride on a firetruck to RCSD Abelard Reynolds School #42, courtesy of the Rochester Fire Department!

Prevention 1st would like to thank this year’s judges for their work in choosing this year’s winners:  New York State Senator Joe Robach, Rochester Fire Marshal Christine Schryver, and Memorial Art Gallery Education Director Marlene Hamman-Whitmore.

Posters were judged on both artistic merit and the impact of its fire safety message. All participants will receive a certificate and all posters will be displayed at the following locations around the city and county during March:

Rochester Public Library Children’s Center (winners and honorable mentions)

Monroe County Office Building

Rochester City Hall

Rochester International Airport

Rochester Museum and Science Center

The Mall at Greece Ridge

Marketplace Mall

Canandaigua National Bank

Eastside Family YMCA

Rogoff Scholarship Winner Brings Safety Home

Lauren Ritchie of Lancaster NY, the first winner of the Arlayne & Stephen D. Rogoff Scholarship, learned to prevent injuries through a very personal experience: caring for her beloved grandmother.

The Rogoff Scholarship application requires an essay outlining the candidate’s personal experience with a preventable injury or in-home danger and their plans to generate awareness or educate others on such risks. In her essay, Ritchie wrote of her close relationship with her grandmother, “my first true friend.”  When a near-fatal infection and multiple surgeries left her grandmother needing assistance, prone to falls, and vulnerable to injuries in her own home, “She became more dependent on me and our roles were reversed.”

The steps that Ritchie and her family took to protect her grandmother make a good checklist for anyone: They reviewed her home for tripping hazards and removed them, placed night lights, and bought grab bars, non-slip mat, and a shower seat for the bathroom. They installed smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in main areas and the bedroom, and, crucially, put reminders in family member’s calendars to regularly change each detector’s battery.

With these devices and prevention measures in place, Ritchie wrote, “I began to see her life return to normal again.” Now 91, her grandmother continues to live independently.

Ritchie plans to continue to spread awareness of preventable injuries as a Physician Assistant specializing in gerontology.

The Arlayne & Stephen D. Rogoff Scholarship was established by their children — Scott, Brett and Robyn — along with their families and the Prevention 1st Board of Directors.  Mr. Rogoff was a tremendous friend to Prevention 1st, and co-founded the organization’s first major fund raiser, a Golf Tournament in 2013. The $1,000 scholarships are awarded to recipients who best demonstrate Stephen’s empathetic and actionable character. For more information contact info@prevention1st.og.

Mark Your 2020 Calendar!

The seventh annual Jane and Larry Glazer Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit Prevention 1st will be held Monday, September 20. Board members Michael Chatwin and Jessica Holly will co-chair the event, which this year will move to a new location: Irondequoit Country Club.

The Golf Tournament is a major source of support for Prevention 1st’s injury prevention programs, last year raising more than $44,000. Watch for details and registration information in the coming months.

Prevention 1st Names Officers for 2020

Prevention 1st is pleased to announce our Board officers for the coming year.

Jack Dinaburg will serve as President as Molly Clifford steps down. We wish her all the best in her new life in Philadelphia!

Michael Chatwin, who has served on the Golf Tournament committee since its inception, will serve as one of two vice-presidents. Rick Glazer will continue as our second vice-president.  Our thanks to Bob Crandall for his prior service in this office.

Troy Whigham will continue as Treasurer.

Jessica Holly, co-chair of the Golf Tournament, will serve as Secretary. Thank you to Jen Glanton Ralph for her service.

We would also like to thank and recognize several Board members who have retired from the Board this year: Andrea Demeo, Michael Hirsch, Carolyn Kourofsky and Stewart Moscov.

Meet our full board here.

Child-Resistant Caps Still Need You to Prevent Medication Overdoses

Child-resistant caps on medication bottles have helped reduce fatal poisonings of young children in the U.S. since they were mandated decades ago. But they can only protect children if they’re in place.

The holiday season brings visits to and from friends and families of all ages. Grandparents and adults who don’t usually have young children under the same roof may need to be reminded to carefully replace the cap on medications and keep medication bottles out of sight and reach.

Medications have overtaken household products such as cleaning fluids as the leading cause of child poisonings, and the number of ED visits and calls to poison control centers for medication overdoses is rising. Between 2005 and 2009, ED visits for medication overdoses among children younger than 5 years rose 20%.*

The peak incidence for unintentional medication overdoses is in 2-year-olds. It’s an age when young children are developing greater ability to move around on their own—and when their ability to reach surfaces previously out of reach can increase unexpectedly from one week to the next.

For all ages, analgesics (painkillers) are the #1 substance involved in poisonings reported to poison control centers, responsible for 11% of such poisonings.

The initiative Preventing Overdoses and Treatment Exposures Task Force (PROTECT) is promoting development of a new generation of safety packaging to limit the amount of medication a child could ingest even if a child-resistant cap has not been re-secured properly.

Acknowledging that even enhanced safety packaging will not be 100% “child-proof,” PROTECT has also launched the “Up and Away” public education campaign to promote safe use and storage of medications. Among their suggestions:  program the national poison control number (800-222-1222) into your cell phone.

Find more tips for preventing poisonings and other injuries in Prevention 1st’s Safety Resources.

*Data from the National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, and Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

When the Smoke Alarm Goes Off, Get Out. You Have Less Time Than You Think.

Fire and smoke spread faster in modern homes.

Having a working smoke alarm, responding right away when it sounds, and having and practicing a plan to get out quickly are more crucial today than ever.

Modern homes are more susceptible to rapid fire spread, according to a study* by UL, a global safety certification company. The average U.S. home size has increased 56% since 1980, and more homes have two stories. The larger the home, the more air is available to sustain and grow a fire. Newer homes are also more likely to incorporate open floor plans, taller ceilings, great rooms and two-story foyers, which can contribute to rapid smoke and fire spread.

Modern building materials and furnishings are also more likely to include faster-burning synthetic materials and/or combustible materials.

UL conducted a number of fire experiments involving rooms made with either modern or “legacy” materials (contents that might have been found in a mid-20th century house), recording the time it took for “flashover” (a fire spreading very rapidly across a gap because of intense heat) to occur. These experiments found that while flashover took 29 minutes or more in legacy rooms, in modern rooms it took less than 5 minutes. In addition, modern windows and doors fail more rapidly than their legacy counterparts, which can allow more air in to fuel the fire.

Average fire department time to residential fires from 2004 to 2009 was approximately 6.4 minutes according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System.

A working smoke alarm can reduce your risk of dying in a fire by 50%–if it is working, you respond to it immediately, and you can get out quickly, even in darkness. Here’s how to keep yourself and your family safer:

  1. Test your smoke alarms, ideally monthly, even if they have long-life batteries or are hard-wired.
  2. Plan ahead, and know how everyone in your home will get out, especially from bedrooms.
  3. Keep bedroom doors closed; whether modern or legacy they provide a barrier against smoke and heat. Feel the door with the back of your hand. If it’s hot, put down a towel or other material to keep out smoke, and go to a window to exit or signal to firefighters.
  4. If the alarm sounds, don’t waste time looking for the source—get out, then call 9-1-1.

*Kerber, S. Analysis of Changing Residential Fire Dynamics, UL, 2012.

How Safe Is Your Airbnb?

How Safe Is Your Airbnb?

When searching for your next Airbnb you might check out location, number of bedrooms, and whether it has a kitchen. But what about fire safety?

A study by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health analyzed Airbnb listings across 17 countries. It found that less than half of Airbnb venues that allow smoking are equipped with smoke detectors, while nearly two-thirds of venues that do not allow smoking are equipped with smoke detectors.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths in the U.S. for the five year period of 2012-2016. Overall, one of every 31 home smoking material fires resulted in death.

A working smoke alarm can cut your risk of dying in a fire by 50%–but it must be working. Test smoke alarms when you arrive at your Airbnb, and take note of all exits and the pathways to them. Think about how you will get out if the alarm sounds in the middle of the night. Be sure to keep pathways free of clutter.

If you smoke, use only fire-safe cigarettes, use a deep sturdy ashtray, don’t discard cigarettes in vegetation such as potted plants, and never smoke in bed.