Thursday, October 8, 2015

Do you have a plan?

Did you know that it’s fire prevention week?  That’s right: October 4 -10, 2015. This annual week is a great reminder to us to keep in mind that fires can happen anywhere because of a candle left unattended, a pot forgotten on a burner, a frayed electrical cord or overloaded circuit. It pays to be vigilant. But we should not only try to prevent them, but also have a good plan for what to do if a fire does break out despite our best efforts.

This week my new neighbors almost lost their home to a fire in the middle of the night. They were lucky to escape with their lives, although a fireman was injured.  This was a beautiful home, renovated and in good condition. These are responsible people. And yet it happened, perhaps because of an electrical issue. Time and the fire investigators will sort it out, but it looks like pot lights and a box of tissues caused the disaster.

Your fire department or city will have a lot of tips for preventing fires.  An equal problem is what to do if one does start? What then? 

With good planning, you will have a smoke alarm in each bedroom or just outside the bedroom door. Batteries should be checked regularly and Fire Prevention Week is a good reminder to do that.

Everyone in the family needs to have and understand a plan to get out of the house in case of fire. With modern materials and construction methods, you, your family and your pets may have on average TWO MINUTES to escape.

It’s good to practice how you’ll exit and agree on where you will meet up once you’re out. It may not be easy getting through a smoked filled room, so experts tell us to practice a crawling departure. Once you are out the door, then call 911. 

There’s not much I can’t live without in my home (although I don’t want to lose anything) but I really want to hang on to my husband and trusting and beloved little dogs.

My little dog, Daisy, sleeps in our bedroom and my computer, cellphone and purse are parked by the bed. Lily insists in sleeping on the living room sofa.  We have a plan for that too. 

In the meantime, we’ve bought this snazzy pair of fire extinguisher in case anything goes wrong in the kitchen. We’d been intending to but kept forgetting.  Now tonight's homework will be studying the instructions.

While at the hardware store, I met another neighbor who had just realized that all her detector batteries were dead. Talk about a wake up call! 

What about you? Are you prepared? Do you have a plan? Or any stories or tips to share?
Be safe, my friends!


Dr. Mary Kennedy said...

Such an important topic, MJ, so glad you covered this!

Kate Collins said...

I have three small fire extinguishers -- but they haven't been charged in two decades, so they wouldn't be much help. Guess I need to find out if the fire dept. will charge them. Excellent post, MJ.

Karen in Ohio said...

Just yesterday I pulled out the THREE fire extinguishers I keep under the bar sink (that I'm sure are dead as doornails), with the intention to take them to the firehouse up at the corner. They used to recharge them for residents; I hope they still do. While I'm there I'm going to ask them for a demonstration, too.

A few years ago a friend decided, after living through the flooding in Nashville, to put together a family preparedness plan. They have fire and flood drills, and each family member has a "go" bag that they're responsible for: change of clothing, medical information, batteries, one day's worth of food and water, and some other stuff. She also put together an emergency box with candles, lanterns, first aid supplies, etc.

Inspired by her, I did the same here, and also at our very rural Kentucky place. In the country we're an hour from the nearest hospital in any direction, so a few minutes could mean the difference in an emergency. And one should always have on hand at least one day's supply of water.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Mary, and thanks for spreading the word. XO

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Kate! I always find your very useful (and fun) XO

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Wow! This is a great tip, Karen. Words to stay alive by! XO

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that I would lose my cat in a fire or earthquake (very possible in Oregon as we have fault lines running all over) because he would go under the queen bed and not come out. I learned how to use a fire extinguisher when I worked at the library but I have a feeling mine isn't charged anymore. I should keep a "go" bag in my car trunk because we are advised to have a week's worth of supplies in case of our ever-increasing earthquake danger. Thanks for reminding us of this. BTW, where did you get those cute and easily handled fire extinguishers. Are they only for kitchen fires? Cordella