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Home > Residents > Health & Safety > Tips & Prevention > BeAlert > Residential Planning

Residential Planning

Most disasters are natural disasters – tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods. Some natural disasters can be predicted, such as hurricanes and severe winter storms, while others, such as tornadoes and earthquakes, happen with little or no warning.

Other disasters are the cause of human actions, intentional or unintentional. A disaster plan will help with safety, security, and comfort.  It is important to know your hazard when making your plan. Your plan should include:
  • Information on how your family will communicate should you not be together during an emergency or if you should become separated. 
  • Contact information for extended family and friends
  • Considerations for different ages of members – infants and elderly
  • Address special needs – disabilities, dietary, medical
  • Care for pets and service animals
Depending on the situation, you may need to shelter in place or evacuate. Follow the instructions issued by local authorities.  Identify a “safe room” within your home for sheltering in place.  Familiarize yourself with alternative routes out of your area or alternate means of transportation for evacuation.

Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

Learn how to stay connected on receiving information from local authorities.  Sign up for CodeRed to receive notifications and tune in to KNTU 88.1 for direct information from the City of Denton. 

For more information visit http://www.knowhat2do.com/

  • Cooking Fires
    Cooking fires are the leading cause of residential fires in the City of Denton.  How can you stay safe?
    • Never leave stovetop cooking unattended. 
    • Use a timer to help remind you that you have something on a burner or in the oven.
    • Put a lid on it!  If a pot catches fire, slide the lid over the pot and turn the burner off.  NEVER use water on a cooking fire.
    More cooking safety tips
  • Grilling / BBQ
    Three out of five households own a grill. On average, 8,800 home fires a year are started by grills each year.  Don’t let a cookout be memorable for all the wrong reasons. In the City of Denton, grilling is prohibited on outdoor balconies. Charcoal burners or other open flame cooking devices cannot be used on combustible balconies or within 10 feet of combustible construction. Follow a few simple tips on grilling and BBQ safety.
    • Never use outdoor grills inside. 
    • Ask your apartment complex about common areas where you can grill.
    • Never add lighter fluid or other flammable liquids to the fire once it’s started.
    • Do not dump hot coals or cooking material in the trash.  When you are finished, wet down coals or let them cool off completely and then dispose in a metal container.
    • Check the connections and fittings on your gas grill and test for leaks before use each season. 
    More grilling safety tips
  • Outdoor Fires
    An outdoor fire where the fuel being burned is not contained in an incinerator, outdoor fireplace, portable outdoor fire place, barbeque grill, or barbeque pit and is for pleasure, religious, ceremonial, cooking, warmth or similar purpose is defined as a recreational fire.  While recreational fires are usually small, they can still represent a significant fire hazard and are prohibited by City ordinance.  This includes but is not limited to campfires and barrel burns. 

    Outdoor burning of trash or brush requires a permit from the City of Denton Fire Department.  Specific requirements must be met to obtain a permit and an on-site inspection is needed. 
    Outdoor fireplaces and fire pits constructed for the purpose of outdoor fires are allowed by code.  Fireplace and pit structures are subject to Building code requirements and permitting.  Manufactured appliances such as chimineas listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory for the purpose of outdoor fires are also allowed when used per the manufacturer’s instructions. 
    Safety precautions must be taken at all times with outdoor fires.
    • Maintain a 10 foot clearance from all combustible material.  Clear away trash, rubbish, and dried leaves from the area.
    • Never leave an outdoor fire burning unattended.
    • Make sure the fire is completely out when you’re done.
    • Keep a bucket of water, water hose, or fire extinguisher nearby when using.
    • Avoid using outdoor fireplaces, pits, and appliances during windy weather conditions.  Sustained winds or gusts of 20 miles per hour or more are considered dangerous fire conditions.
    • Avoid using outdoor fireplaces, pits, and appliances during burn bans.
  • Smoke Detectors
    Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.  Here’s what you need to know:
    • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
    • Test your smoke alarms every month.
    • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
    • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.
    More smoke alarm safety tips. Alarmas de Incendio (Smoke Alarm PDF – English / Spanish)

    Did you know there are different types of smoke alarms?

    The two most commonly recognized smoke detection technologies are ionization smoke detection and photoelectric smoke detection.
    Ionization smoke alarms are generally more responsive to flaming fires.
    How they work: Ionization-type smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm. Download chart on ionization smoke alarms (Ionization PDF).
    Photoelectric smoke alarms are generally more responsive to fires that begin with a long period of smoldering (called “smoldering fires”).
    How they work: Photoelectric-type alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light onto the light sensor; triggering the alarm. Download chart on photoelectric smoke alarms (Photoelectric PDF).
    For each type of smoke alarm, the advantage it provides may be critical to life safety in some fire situations. Home fatal fires, day or night, include a large number of smoldering fires and a large number of flaming fires. You cannot predict the type of fire you may have in your home or when it will occur. Any smoke alarm technology, to be acceptable, must perform acceptably for both types of fires in order to provide early warning of fire at all times of the day or night and whether you are asleep or awake.

    For best protection, it is recommended both (ionization and photoelectric) technologies be used in homes. In addition to individual ionization and photoelectric alarms, combination alarms that include both technologies in a single device are available.
    Source:  www.nfpa.org                                                                                           
    Need a smoke detector?  Call us and ask about our home smoke detector program!  940-349-8844

  • Carbon Monoxide
    Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the "Invisible Killer" because it's a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. More than 150 people in the Unites States die every year from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators. Other products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.  If you have fuel burning or gas fueled appliances in your home, install CO detectors.  Working CO alarms matter.  Protect your family from CO poisoning.
    • Have your home heating systems (including chimneys and vents) inspected and serviced annually by a trained service technician.
    • Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
    • Never bring a charcoal grill into the house for heating or cooking. Do not barbeque in the garage.
    • Never use a gas range or oven for heating.
    • Open the fireplace damper before lighting a fire and keep it open until the ashes are cool. An open damper may help prevent build-up of poisonous gases inside the home.
    • Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home outside separate sleeping areas.
    Know the symptom of CO poisoning. Because CO is odorless, colorless, and otherwise undetectable to the human senses, people may not know that they are being exposed. The initial symptoms of low to moderate CO poisoning are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
    • Headache
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea
    • Dizziness
    High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:
    • Mental confusion
    • Vomiting
    • Loss of muscular coordination
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Ultimately death
    Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure. For slowly developing residential CO problems, occupants and/or physicians can mistake mild to moderate CO poisoning symptoms for the flu, which sometimes results in tragic deaths. For rapidly developing, high level CO exposures (e.g., associated with use of generators in residential spaces), victims can rapidly become mentally confused, and can lose muscle control without having first experienced milder symptoms; they will likely die if not rescued.

    Source:  www.cpsc.gov

    More CO safety tips. (CO Safety PDF – English / Spanish)
  • Electrical Hazards
    Electricity has become such a necessary part of our lives that we tend to take it for granted, but using it safely is vitally important. Thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires and accidents in their own homes each year.  Many home electrical fires can be prevented simply by understanding basic electrical safety principles and following safe practices.
    • Never use extension cords as permanent wiring.  Extension cords are designed and manufactured for temporary use only and should be disconnected after each use.
    • Consider having additional circuits or outlets added by a qualified electrician so you do not have to use extension cords.
    • Avoid running extension cords across doorways or under carpets.
    • Replace or repair damaged or loose electrical cords.
    • Only plug one heat-producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, space heater, blow dryer, curling iron, etc.) into a receptacle outlet at a time.
    • Major appliances (refrigerators, dryers, washers, stoves, air conditioners, etc.) should be plugged directly into a wall outlet.  Extension cords and plug strips should not be used.
    • If outlets or switches feel warm, frequent problems with blowing fuses or tripping circuits, or flickering or dimming lights, call a qualified electrician.
    More electrical safety tips. (Electrical Safety PDF – English / Spanish)