A campfire can be a lovely, fun family event in the fall. A house fire; however, gives an entirely new meaning to the word “fire”. Below are some tips to remember when instituting a fire safety plan for you and your family.
Smoke alarms. Make sure every bedroom in your home has smoke alarms, including key hallways and the kitchen. It is important to test the smoke alarms every month (especially if they are battery operated and not hard-wired to your house) to make sure they are still working.
Smell of smoke. The first sign of fire is usually the smell of smoke. This smell is different than the smell of food burning. It will smell like someone is burning wood or plastic, and will be much more toxic in nature. If you smell smoke, corral your kids and pets and get out immediately. Yell fire at the top of your lungs several times to ensure everyone hears you as you are guiding people outside.
Crawl on the floor. If you don’t smell the smoke, but start seeing it, crawl on the floor as quickly as you can near the closest exit outdoors. If possible, wet a washcloth in which to cover your face while crawling out. This will help keep smoke away from your mouth, and will help you breathe in less smoke overall. Again, yell fire as you are crawling so that your family and pets can escape the house unharmed.
Check for hot doors. If you are in a bedroom or another enclosed room and hear the smoke alarm or smell smoke, check the door itself before you open it. If it is hot to the touch, it is likely that the fire is just outside your door. Listen for crackling and popping, and if possible, look under the door to ascertain whether or not the fire is just outside your door. If so, then you will need to break out a window and escape through the window. If you are in a bathroom or another room (perhaps in your basement) in which there is no window, take a towel, blanket, or other non-flammable item and open the door as quickly as possible. Beat the fire as you run toward safety, and scream at the top of your lungs for help (this is only recommended if you are in a room in which there is no window).
Stop, Drop, and Roll. If you find that fire has attacked your clothes, it is critical that you get outside immediately. Once you do, you need to stop, drop to the ground, and roll until the fire is out. This will not be pleasant, but is very important in getting the fire out of your clothes and avoiding contact with your skin.
In-home fire hazards: Matches, lighters, cigarettes, candles, curling irons, irons, stoves, and fireplaces. Since most house fires start due to negligence on the part of an individual such as leaving a cigarette lit, a curling iron on, or something cooking on the stove, it is important to remember to pay attention to these items every time you leave your home. Don’t leave candles lit if you are leaving the house; make sure curling irons and irons are turned off, that there is nothing on the stove that could burn, and that there is not a fire or even embers burning in the fireplace.
Check the coffee pot, too. If coffee is left in the pot and it remains on, it can burn the coffee to the point that it caramelizes, the pot bursts, and a fire starts.
Taking care of your home and making sure that smoke alarms work are critical first steps to ensuring you practice effective fire safety. If you find yourself in a fire, remember the above mentioned tips to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Emergency Preparedness: Home and Family Planning
Being prepared for an emergency or disaster situation is one of the best investments you can make in your family’s future and well being. Natural, as well as man-made disasters can strike at anytime, often without any type of warning, and it is important to be prepared.
For any category of disaster, one of the most important elements of being prepared is having supplies to last you and your loved ones at least 72 hours. The best time to start preparing one of these emergency kits is “now.”
Some additional items to add to your emergency preparedness kit are plenty of batteries, flashlights and a battery operated radio. The radio will be very valuable if you find yourself in a situation where all communications are cut off. The next items to add to your kit are at least one blanket for each person and a change of clothes for each person. Absolutely do not forget a first aid kit and an extra supply of any prescription medication that anyone in your family may be taking regularly.
Aside from your 72 hour emergency preparedness kit, some additional steps you can take to assure your family’s safety is to always keep at least half a tank of gas in your vehicle, and designate a contact who is out of state. Everyone in your family should know who this person is and contact them to let them know their situation. This is especially important if people in your family should happen to get separated.
It today’s society it is fact that there is frequently a large window of time in which family members are separated by responsibilities such as work, school or errands. There is just as much of a chance, if not more of a chance that your family members will be scattered when a disaster hits and this should be factored into your emergency preparedness plan.
If you do have advanced warning of an impending disaster it is essential that you follow instructions, including evacuation. If you had no advance warning, listen to your battery powered radio for information about what has happened and instructions.
Being prepared is not hard, and the benefits could save the lives of your family.