Safer Home Heating: Kerosene Heaters

Use these tips for all types of space heaters.

Gas-fueled heating devices pose extra hazards because of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Be sure your heater is in good working condition, with no carbon buildup in the exhaust parts. Your heater should have an emergency shut off in case it tips over.

Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer.

Keep kerosene or other flammable liquids outside your home, in approved metal containers in a well ventilated storage area.

NEVER fill the heater while it’s hot, or operating.

Refuel outside your home.

Make sure all fuel-burning equipment is vented to the outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Install and maintain carbon monoxide (CO) alarms to avoid the risk of CO poisoning.

Learn more about space heaters and their safe use from


Teaching Teens With I/DD Fire Safety: Classroom Plans and Modules

Effective fire prevention and survival skills—life skills that can protect young lives now and in their future lives—are more than school fire drills, a session of stop, drop and roll, or a mention of pot holders during a cooking lesson. Children and teens with intellectual disabilities are at higher for preventable injuries, including fire and burns. Teens are an especially important group to reach with effective fire safety skills, because they are approaching an age when many will move into more independent living situations—where their risk increases. This article includes six modules for lessons and classroom activities, discussion prompts and take-home materials that cover the key skills of kitchen safety, smoke alarms and exit plans, and calling 911.

Get the full article and fire safety lesson plans.

Poster Contest Winners Celebrate Fire Prevention


Jaylen Decoste (center front) with classmates who submitted posters from School #42

April has been a month of celebrations for the winners of the 2017 Prevention 1st Home Fire Drill Poster Contest. Winners received a pizza party for their classroom as well as Wal-Mart gift certificates.

The winner in the 3rd and 4th Grade Category was Jaylen DeCoste, 4th grader at School 42, while Honorable Mentions went to his classmate William Cody and to Yahir Zaldivara 3rd grader at School 35. Classrooms at both School 35 and 42 celebrated with a pizza party.



Colin Brunson and Ny’asia Jones at #42 school, with 5th grade teacher Anne Boccardo and Bob Crandall from Prevention 1st.

The winner in the 5th and 6th Grade Category was Colin Brunson, a 5th grader at School 42, with Honorable Mentions going to classmate Ny’asia Jones and 6th grader Alex Rosario.


Firefighter Steve Morgan gives Corey Faison a ride to School #35




Corey Faison,  a third grader from School 35, was the winner of the drawing of all students who submitted a poster for a special prize–a ride to school on a firetruck.

Yahir Zaldivara and his classmates at School 35 dig into their prize pizza party.

2017 Home Fire Drill Poster Contest Winners

Johniel Torres, 2nd grade, School 35
Jaylen DeCoste, 4th grade, School 42
Colin Brunson, 5th grade, School 42










Congratulations to our 9th annual Home Fire Drill Poster Contest Winners! Prevention 1st received nearly 200 entries from students from across the Rochester City School District in three grade categories: K-2, 3-4 and 5-6.  Winners in each category received two $25 Wal-Mart gift certificates, one for the student and one for their classroom. All posters will be displayed in public spaces throughout Rochester including: Rochester City Hall, the Children’s Center at the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County, Monroe County Office Building, Canandaigua National Bank, Marketplace Mall, The Mall at Greece Ridge, Greater Rochester International Airport (displayed on the TV monitors), and Rochester Museum and Science Center

PosterContest_Juding_2017_4JudgeswPostersThank you to this year’s judges: New York State Senator Joe Robach, Rochester City Schools Commissioner Liz Hallmark, Rochester Fire Marshal Christine Schryver, and the MAG’s Education Director Marlene Hamman-Whitmore

K-2nd Grade Category:
Winner: Johniel Torres, 2nd grade, School 35
Honorable Mention: Elliot Walsh, Kindergarten, School 35
Honorable Mention: Christian Soto, 2nd grade, School 35

3rd and 4th Grade Category:
Winner: Jaylen DeCoste, 4th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: William Cody, 4th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: Yahir Zaldivar, 3rd grade, School 35

5th and 6th Grade Category:
Winner: Colin Brunson, 5th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: Alex Rosario, 6th grade, School 42
Honorable Mention: Ny’asia Jones, 5th grade, School 42

All participants received a certificate and the chance to win a ride to school in a fire truck, courtesy of the Rochester Fire Department!  The lucky winner of that ride is Corey Faison, a 3rd grader at School 35.

Healthy Cooking Should Be Fire-Safe Cooking

Cooking_young_girl_with_bowlCooking is the most common cause of home fires. Foodlink, a regional food bank serving 10 counties in Greater Rochester, New York, has partnered with Prevention 1st to incorporate safety into its Cooking Matters courses that help families learn about healthy cooking.

Through support from Wegmans Food Markets and Community Health Strategies, Prevention 1st has developed a kitchen and cooking safety curriculum for the program, which serves about 500 families. Here are some of Prevention 1st’s tips for preventing fires and burns in the kitchen, especially when involving children in cooking:

Be Fire Safe in Kitchen—the top fire and burn risks and how to avoid them

Kids in the Kitchen—includes at what ages children can learn to use kitchen appliances and techniques safely

Modeling Kitchen Fire Safety—the top habits for safety in the kitchen


Related Articles and Resources:

Home Fire Safety Checklist

Top Safety Concerns for People With Developmental Disabilities: Fire and Cooking

Safer Cooking: Frying

When is a Child Old Enough to Use the Stove or Oven? (from our expert partner Community Health Strategies)

Senior Safety Marshals Help Reduce Fire Risk

In the crowded Lily Café, the Prevention 1st Senior Safety Marshals know how to get and keep the attention of their peers. They begin their presentation with a stark fact: “People our age are 6 times more likely to die in a fire.”

The Senior Safety Marshals then share stories of mistakes they themselves have made that put them at risk—a candle left smoldering, falling asleep while smoking, coming home from a night out and carelessly frying some chicken. Their audience nods in recognition. They have all made careless mistakes that could have turned into tragedies.

Finally, the team shares with their fully engaged audience such simple but effective strategies as keeping a phone next to the bed, having good night lighting, turning off the cooktop if they leave the kitchen while cooking, and taking proper precautions if they have oxygen tanks in their home.

Through funding from the John F. Wegman Fund of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and Prevention 1st donors, Prevention 1st recruited and trained the six Safety Marshals through the Lily Café program run by Lifespan at the Maplewood YMCA. Prior to their six weeks of training together, most of the team members didn’t know each other. Now, “we’re a family.”

They’re spreading fire safety messages throughout their communities. Bill, who lives in a housing complex of four buildings, has recruited three volunteers to work with him as fire monitors, communicating with residents about preparation and response and checking fire escapes to make sure they are clear. Sheron is now regularly posting fire safety information and reminders to her friends through Facebook. Inez is determined to make sure that all of her neighbors have working smoke alarms: “The young think ‘It can’t happen to me’ and the old think ‘It hasn’t happened to me yet.’ Well, it can. I ask my neighbors, did you check your smoke alarm, did you change the battery?”

Robert Crandall, the Prevention 1st trainer who trained the Senior Safety Marshals and who is a retired firefighter, noted the effectiveness of this peer-to-peer strategy: “The fire department tells people these things all the time, but when the information is personalized and comes from a peer and neighbor, people are more motivated to take action.”

As the population 65 and older continues to grow, this model has an important role in community safety and in reducing the burden of caregiving, according to Michelle LeBoo, Lifespan Program Coordinator: “They’re providing a type of caregiving. They are caring for their peers, helping them avoid injuries and remain in their homes safely for a longer time.”

Following their presentation to their fellow Café participants, the team is scheduling additional trainings at area senior centers, residences, and other community program sites. They’re also reaching out to potential sponsors to enhance the program with additional safety giveaways and materials, and to attract others to become more involved in fire safety.

In addition to working with the Lily Café participants, the Prevention 1st training team presented to the staff and key volunteers of an additional ten senior organizations, including the Monroe County Office for the Aging, Refugees Helping Refugees, Ontario ARC, Bay View Family YMCA, Monroe Community Hospital, Catholic Family Center, Charles Settlement House, and the Summit at Brighton, ultimately reaching well over 1,000 older adults.

If you’d like to learn more about the Senior Safety Marshals program, please contact Molly Clifford at (585) 383-6507 or

Close Your Door to Prevent Fire Deaths

istock_000043826172_medium_close_the-doorOne simple action, closing your bedroom door, could save your life.

Tests by UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute found that in the event of a fire rooms with an open door showed temperatures over 1,000°F, while a room with a closed door had temperatures at only 100°F. Research also showed that a closed door kept room conditions survivable longer than an open door.

“If you can get out of a burning structure, get out,” explains Steve Kerber, FSRI’s Research Director. “If you can’t, put a closed door between you and the fire to buy yourself valuable time.”

UL states that four decades ago, victims had an average of 17 minutes to escape a burning home after the activation of a smoke alarm. Today, that time has dropped to 3 minutes or less. Homes incorporating more open layouts and lightweight construction materials, and new materials in furnishings, allow fires to spread much quicker.

A closed door gives a layer of protection between you and a fire, which is especially important at night when the household is sleeping. A closed door also helps limit oxygen flow, which may help prevent a fire from growing. When escaping a burning structure, closing the door behind you can help limit property damage.

Visit for additional information.

A reminder from Prevention 1st: In addition to closing your door, make sure you also install and test smoke alarms. Having a working smoke alarm cuts your risk of dying in a fire in half.

Teaching People With Intellectual Disabilities to Live Independently and Safely

Safe_at_home_Ryan_Cooking2Prevention 1st has entered the exciting next phase in its development of an evaluated curriculum for teaching safety to people with intellectual disabilities, thanks to grants from the Developmental Disabilities Giving Circle of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and the Jane L. and Laurence C. Glazer Charitable Trust.

More people with intellectual disabilities are choosing to live independently or semi-independently, with less intensive supervision and supports. Without effective safety skills training, these individuals and their families are concerned about prevention and preparedness.

In the pilot program funded by these two grants, focus groups were held and in-home training sessions are underway with 30 individuals with intellectual disabilities who are new to independent living. Because of the great variability in residential settings, the program began with an environmental assessment and orientation for each of the individuals along their circles of support.

Prevention 1st and its expert partner Community Health Strategies will adapt the curriculum as necessary to teach fire and kitchen safety skills to the individuals in the pilot program. They will also test the use of a wireless tablet produced by program partner Touch Stream Solutions, which audibly and visually reminds users of important tasks such as checking smoke alarms and practicing an exit route.

The pilot program will be evaluated throughout its delivery. Progress on skills development and hazard reduction will be tracked and measured to assess effectiveness. Program trainers will also communicate regularly with each person’s circles of support to get their input on the progress of their loved one’s skills.

Based on the results of this pilot program, Prevention 1st will finalize the assessment tool, training curriculum and associated materials. The pilot will provide the foundation for a groundbreaking, evidence-based curriculum that will meet the needs of an emerging population of people with intellectual disabilities who will be living more independently than ever.

If you live in the Rochester, NY area and you’d like to join the pilot program, please submit a Participant Application.

Many thanks to the Safe at Home Project Steering Committee:

Katie Abbott, People Inc.

Anthony Arnitz, NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

Joel Benzel, Touch Stream Solutions

Jason Blackwell, Starbridge

Holly Brown, University of Rochester Medical Center

Molly Clifford, Community Health Strategies

Robert Cole, Ph.D, Community Health Strategies

Ann Costello, Golisano Foundation

Robert Crandall, Prevention 1st

Jack Dinaburg, Prevention 1st

Julia Engstrom, Trinity Assistance Corp.

Ernie Haywood, Lifetime Assistance

Karen Knauf, Injury Free Coalition for Kids

Cindy Lill, In the Driver’s Seat

David McAdam, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities

Wendy McLaughlin, Touch Stream Solutions

Debbie Napolitano, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities

Jen Ralph, Community Health Strategies

Joyce Steel, In the Driver’s Seat

Nick Vignati, Arc of Ontario


Related articles:

How Can People With Disabilities Be Safe While Living Independently?

Top Safety Concerns for People With Developmental Disabilities: Fire and Cooking