Helpful Safety Tips

Records Building - 500 Elm Street, Suite 0500, Dallas TX 75202
Phone: (214) 653-7970

Helpful Safety Tips

Moving to the Right for Sirens and Lights

If you or someone you love is in need of emergency assistance, you want help to get there right away. Did you know that there’s one thing everyone can do to help the firefighters provide this emergency assistance as quickly as possible?
It’s as simple as Moving to the Right for Sirens and Lights!
Many people panic or simply don’t adhere to the rules of the road for approaching emergency vehicles. The law is very specific; drivers must yield the right-of-way to an emergency vehicle, and failure to do so can cause serious accidents or delays in ambulances, fire engines and fire trucks arriving at the scene of an emergency. Firefighters are careful to avoid vehicle collisions by driving slowly when traveling against traffic, or coming to a complete stop at intersections. However, the cooperation of ALL vehicles on the roadway is essential.

There are some simple rules to follow when you’re on the road and encounter an emergency vehicle:


  • Stay calm.
  • Pull to the right and come to a complete stop.
  • If you’re traveling on a high-speed road or if there is no room to stop, slow down as much as possible.
  • If you are in the left lane, pull into the right lane as traffic in the lane to your right moves over.
  • If you cannot move to the right because of another vehicle or obstacle, just stop.
    Your action will let the driver of the emergency vehicle know what you are doing and allow the driver to anticipate where to drive.
  • When an emergency vehicle approaches you from behind while you are stopped at an intersection, stay where you are unless you can pull to the right.
  • On a 4-lane highway or street without barrier, both sides of traffic should pull to the right.
  • Be careful when driving by or around a motor vehicle accident or any situation where emergency vehicles are parked and the firefighters are working.
  • Drivers should stay at least 500 feet behind emergency vehicles.


  • Don’t panic.
  • Don’t play your radio so loudly that you are unable to hear sirens.
  • Don’t stop in the middle lane when there is room to pull to the right.
  • Don’t pull to the left in the center lane or left turn lane.
  • Don’t race ahead to make the green light or turn before the emergency vehilce gets there.
  • Don’t turn quickly to the left onto a street or driveway.
  • Don’t drive through a red light or stop sign when an emergency vehicle approaches from behind.
  • If the emergency vehicle is traveling on the opposite direction of a divided highway or street, you do not need to pull over.
  • Don’t disregard the presence of the emergency vehicle by continuing to drive.

Fact Sheet: House and Building Fires

A fire can engulf a structure in a matter of minutes. Understanding the basic characteristics of fire and learning the proper safety practices can be the key to surviving a house or building fire.

BEFORE an emergency Occurs:

  • Install smoke detectors.
  • Check them once a month and change the batteries at least once a year.
  • Develop and practice an escape plan. Make sure all family members know what to do in a fire.
  • Draw a floor plan with at least two ways of escaping every room.
  • Choose a safe meeting place outside the house.
  • Practice alerting other household members. It is a good idea to keep a bell and a flashlight in each bedroom for this purpose.
  • Practice evacuating the building blindfolded. In a real fire situation, the amount of smoke generated by a fire will most likely make it impossible to see.
  • Practice staying low to the ground when escaping.
  • Feel all doors before opening them. If the door is hot, get out another way.
  • Learn to stop, drop to the ground, and roll if clothes catch fire.
  • Post emergency numbers near telephones. However, be aware that if a fire threatens your home, you should not place the call to your emergency services from inside the home. It is better to get our first and place the call from somewhere else.
  • Purchase collapsible ladders at hardware stores and practice using them.
  • Install A-B-C type of fire extinguishers in the home and teach family members how to use them.
  • Do not store combustible materials in closed areas or near a heat source.


  • Keep the stove area clean and clear of combustibles such as bags, boxes, and other appliances. If a fire starts, put a lid over the burning pan or use a fire extinguisher. Be careful. Moving the pan can cause the fire to spread. Never pour water on grease fires.

Check electrical wiring:

  • Replace wiring if frayed or cracked.
  • Make sure wiring is not under rugs, over nails, or in high traffic areas.
  • Do not overload outlets or extension cords. Outlets should have cover plates and no exposed wiring.
  • Only purchase appliances and electrical devices that have a label indicating that they have been inspected by a testing laboratory such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).
    Contact your local fire department on American Red Cross chapter for more information on fire safety.

DURING an emergency:

  • Get out as quickly and as safely as possible.
  • Use the stairs to escape.
  • When evacuating, stay low to the ground.
    If possible, cover mouth with a cloth to avoid inhaling smoke and gases.
  • Close doors in each room after escaping to delay the spread of the fire.

If in a room with a closed door:

  • If smoke is pouring in around the bottom of the door or it feels hot, keep the door closed.
  • Open a window to escape or for fresh air while awaiting rescue.
  • If there is no smoke at the bottom or top and the door is not hot, then open the door slowly.
  • If there is too much smoke or fire in the hall, slam the door shut.
  • Call the fire department from a location outside the house.

AFTER an emergency:

  • Give first aid where appropriate. Seriously injured or burned victims should be transported to professional medical help immediately.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings.
  • Return home only when local fire authorities say it is safe.
  • Look for structural damage.
  • Discard food that has been exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Contact insurance agent.
  • Don’t discard damaged goods until after an inventory has been taken.
  • Save receipts for money relating to fire loss.

Heating Devices:

  • Heating devices such as portable heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces demand safe operation.
  • Use portable heaters in well-ventilated rooms only.
  • Refuel kerosene heaters outdoors only. Have chimneys and wood stoves cleaned annually. Buy only approved heaters and follow the manufacturers’ directions.

Smoke Detectors

The USFA recommends following these simple steps to protect your life, your loved ones, and your home:

  • Dust or vacuum smoke alarms when you change the batteries.
  • Test alarms once a month using the test button.
  • Replace the entire alarm if it is more than 10 years old or does not work properly when tested.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, and both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
  • For the best protection, equip your home with a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor alarms.
  • Interconnect all smoke alarms throughout your home so that when one sounds, they all sound. Interconnected alarms are available at most stores that sell smoke alarms.
  • Make sure everyone in your home understands the warning of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.  [read more]
  • Smoke detectors more than double the chance of surviving a fire. Smoke detectors sense abnormal amounts of smoke or invisible combustion gases in the air. They can detect both smoldering and burning fires.
  • At least one smoke detector should be installed on every level of a structure.
  • Test the smoke detectors each month and replace the batteries at least once a year.
  • Purchase smoke detectors labeled by the Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM).