5 Tips For Fire Safety
Last week I was taking a nap, and awoke to a police siren leaving the nearby park. For the next 20 minutes I heard constant sirens. I checked broadcastify to see if I could tune into the police radio but they’ve since taken off Honolulu. I sent out a tweet asking if anyone knew what was going on and someone responding saying they saw an apartment fire from the high way. When we left to go out soon after that we saw a ton of black smoke billowing out of a high rise not to far away.
Here’s 5 tips for fire safety.
Have and mantain your smoke alarms
You have smoke alarms right? And you test or replace the batteries when needed? Red Cross recommends to check them EVERY month. Go check them right now, and if you can’t remember the last time you replaced the batteries, take the time to do that now.
If your smoke alarms are tied into your electric, you should also place a few battery operated ones throughout your house too. What happens if a fire starts while the electricity is out? Carbon monoxide detectors are a good idea too. Here’s a dual smoke /caron monoxide like we have.
Have a plan
Do you have a plan in place? Having a plan saves time and reduces the chaos during the emergency. If you have kids, do they know what to do? Who is going to go get the kids? Who is gonna grab the dog? Have I figured what my plan of esacpe is? Does our family have a set meeting point?
Have fire extinguishers in strategic places and know how to use them
I often see peoples fire extinguishers hung in kitchens. The problem is a lot of times they are in a corner, where if there was a fire on the stove, you’d have to walk through the fire to get to it.
I have 3 fire extinguishers in our home. One at the top of our basement stairs which leads into our kitchen. I would not have to walk near the stove to grab it. I put one at the bottom of the basement stairs incase there is a fire that starts at our dryer. And I put one in our bedroom near my bedside table in case I have to supress the fire to exit the house to get out safely.
I remember in elementary school we had to work with our parents on a fire safety plan. And when I took CERT training we had to create a map of our home and the rooms where fire extinguishers were and plans of exit and meet up points.
Also in CERT training we all got the oppourtunity to extinsih a controlled fire with a fire extinguisher. A few good peices of advice came from that training.
1. Do not grip the trigger so tight that you cannot pull the pin. There’s a safety pin that does not allow you to pull the trigger while the pin is engaged, you have to remove this pin to be able to use the fire extinguisher. In the heat of the moment people can have such a tight grip on the handle that they are squeezing the pin in the trigger and basically working against themselves.
2. Aim for the base of the fire, sweep left and right and USE THE WHOLE extingushier up. Meaning keep spraying even if the fire looks out, until there is no more liquid left.
I put out a camp fire with a aresol extinguisher once, got the fire out and kept spraying. I got the fire out but as soon as the extinguisher was done, the coals were still so hot that it flared right back up. So keep spraying! Those cute little extinguishers are nice, but I’d buy as large of one as you can carry.
3. Fire extingusihers have experation dates as well. Check those and replace as neccesary.
4. If the fire has already spread and has been burning for more than a few minutes you are not going to be able to extinguish it. Do not risk your life to try and extinguish it, get out of the building.
Know where your electrical panel and gas shut off is.
If you can SAFELY turn off the source of the fire do so, if not don’t risk it. If the fire is already raging, then get out, smoke can overwhelm you so fast.
Stay on the 5th floor and lower
A friend of ours mentioned this this past week at church. She travels a lot for work and her company has told her that she needs to stay at the 5th floor or lower because ladder trucks only go up 5 stories. That’s something that I hadn’t thought of. Also take a few seconds to look at the exit plan if you’re staying at a hotel or anywhere new for that matter.
Bonus tip, clean out your lint traps and vents and be careful with frying.
If you can’t remember the last time you shop vacced out your dryer vent then go do it now. Be careful with frying things, I had a friend start a small fire on accident on her stove because of the built up bacon grease. And I’ve heard of other fires starting because people were leaving things unattended on the stove.
The idea is to do your best to prevent fires and have a plan in place that you’ve thought through and practiced in case of a worst case scenario.