What to do to prevent a fire and what to do if a fire breaks out.
Seven Rules to Prevent Fires and Protect Your Life and Property
Three Everyday Habits
- Never smoke in bed before sleeping.
- Do not place flammable items near electric heaters, kerosene heaters, or kotatsu tables.
- When cooking, never step away from the open flame.
Four Safety Measures
- Install fire alarms to ensure you can escape before it’s too late.
- Use fire resistant bedding, clothing, and curtains to prevent fires. （防火品, boukahin, fire resistant items）
- Install a fire extinguisher in your home to put out fires while they are still small.
- Form a cooperative relationship with your neighbors in order to save the elderly and people with disabilities from a fire.
*Special note about kerosene heaters
We use heaters to warm up our homes in the winter, but these portable heaters have a higher risk of fire. If you choose a kerosene heater, learn how to safely replace the oil and clean the appliance periodically. Do not let dust accumulate in the fans or exhaust. Store kerosene oil tanks in a dry place out of direct sunlight.
During a Fire
- If a fire breaks out, shout “Kaji da! （FIRE!）” as loud as you can to alert people nearby. Never try to extinguish a fire by yourself. Call 119 to alert the fire station.
- A fire extinguisher is invaluable for putting out small fires. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, try to use a large blanket or wet sheet to cover the fire and starve it of oxygen.
- For grease fires caused by tempura oil or other cooking oils: Never use water to put out a grease fire as it may cause the oil to violently explode.
- For electrical fires: Remove the plug from the electrical outlet, and make sure the electricity is off before extinguishing an electrical fire, as there is a risk of electrocution.
- If you are not confident in putting out the fire, escape immediately.
- It is possible to extinguish a small fire as long as it has not reached the ceiling. If a fire has reached the ceiling, escape as soon as possible.
- Try not to inhale smoke from the fire. Cover your mouth with a wet handkerchief or other cloth and stay low to the ground when evacuating.
- Close doors and windows on your way out of the room with the fire to slow its growth.
Using a fire extinguisher （消火器, shoukaki）
- Pull the safety pin out of the handle.
- Aim the black nozzle at the source of the fire.
- Squeeze the handle to spray.
Fire extinguishers usually have a sign on or near them with directions in English and Japanese.
After a Fire
If your building or property has been damaged by the fire, you will need a fire damage certificate （罹災証明書, risai shoumeisho） in order to file claims with fire insurance and receive tax reductions. A certificate is issued by the fire department staff that confirms and surveys the scene of the disaster so please inquire with them for details.
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