The holidays are here! That means more cooking/baking, stringing lights everywhere and running the fire place regularly. It also means more house fires than any other time of the year. Last week we had our very own small house fire and boy was that an experience. It was a complete freak accident and thankfully no on was harmed. However, it reminded us of the importance of continuously practicing our fire safety & training plan right here at home. I’ll do a quick recap for those of you who didn’t see this on my IG stories.
I had to run out early Thursday morning to take our oldest to the orthodontist. James was home with our youngest two and got them ready for the day. I started the littles laundry before leaving, so their basket and all of their dirty clothes were downstairs. After they were dressed James tossed their dirty cloths over the balcony hoping they’d land near the laundry room. A few hours later, I came to to find a random pair of pants hanging from the chandelier near the laundry room. I had a good laugh about it with the little two and of course they blamed daddy.
When I finally got home James was running out the door to the barber shop. It was daylight so we didn’t need to use the lights all day. I told myself I could just remind him to get it down later. We continued with our day; shot a few campaigns and played outside until the sun set. Between mom brain and a busy day the pants were out of sight and out of mind. We came back inside and the kids grabbed snacks from the pantry which mean turning that light on. And because kids are kids, they left the light on… about 30 min later those hanging pants and the chandelier were on fire. Some of the clothing dropped to the floor below and continued to burn.
To make matters worse, we are in the process of having our burglary/fire alarm system rewired so they were useless. The fire burned a lot longer than it should’ve because our smoke alarms didn’t signal us. The entire second floor filled with smoke and we had NO IDEA. I am grateful that we did have fire extinguishers on hand and that ultimately kept a bad situation from being worse.
I really hope that our experience can be a learning point for all of you. Here are 4 simple safety tips for fire that you and your family should implement at home.
This is so important in fire & safety training considering that 3 out of 5 home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Testing the alarms at least once a month will ensure that they are functioning properly. Also, when they are installed correctly they will let you know when you need to change the battery. Ensure you do not remove your alarms or remove the batteries without replacing them. (Source: National Fire Protection Association)
*You should change the batteries in your alarms at least every six months.*
To make it easier on yourself you could change them out whenever you adjust your clocks for daylight savings time.
Unattended cooking is the #1 cause of house fires. That doesn’t surprise me, especially now that I have children; I know some of you have witnessed my bacon burning via IG stories. Our natural instinct may be to douse a fire with water but you cannot put out every fire with water. If you toss water on a grease fire it will make things worse. The same things goes for electrical fires, which is what we had. My experience with fire & safety training taught me that you should use a fire extinguisher for electrical fires and grease fires.
Having at least one fire extinguisher in your home is a great start but you should a few depending on the size of your home. We currently have fire extinguishers in six areas of our home; under the kitchen sink, the master bathroom, family room, the laundry room, my upstairs office & outdoors near the grill. Keep in mind our current home is about 7000 square feet, in our previous home we had four.
If you only have one, you should absolutely keep it in the kitchen. Make sure to keep it somewhere low and easy to reach. Storing it above the stove may seem like a good idea but it isn’t. If there is a fire blazing there is a low chance of you actually being able to reach it.
Lastly, make sure you know how to operate the fire extinguisher. You should take the time to read the instructions and actually practice spraying it at least once. A live fire would be the wrong time to get first hand experience.
Do your kids know what to do in the event of a fire in your home? Ask them…call 911? Sure, but what if they can’t get to a phone? What if they can’t get to you? What if their bedroom door is blocked? Can they open their window? Who is grabbing the pets? Did those questions freak you out just a little?
This is why making a fire & safety training at home is so important. When discussing your escape plan, your children should know two ways out of each room/area of your home and a meeting spot. They should know to test the doorknob to make sure their hands don’t get burnt and if their room is upstairs they should also know how to use a fire ladder to escape from the window. You can get rope ladders for each bedroom to help make this possible.
Click the pic to shop these items for your home.
Literally press the smoke alarm, yell FIRE and have everyone run the drill.
This step is the most important because having a plan means nothing if your family doesn’t know how to execute it! Much like the fire drills we do at school/work, you all should have a designated meeting point that is a safe distance from your home. (mailbox, neighbors home, etc.) That way everyone knows how to exit the home and where to meet for accountability purposes. Also make sure that the kids know how to stop, drop and roll. This is a good time to practice using the fire extinguisher too.
It might sound a bit dramatic but nothing should be too over the top when it comes to keeping your family safe. Make it a point to add a family fire safety & training day to your schedule in the next week or so. Whether you live with other family, in a home or an apartment it’s important that everyone is on the same page with safety tips for fire and your plan.
Now, I’m curious to know whether or not you already have fire extinguishers or a fire safety & training plan for your home? If you don’t, get started TODAY; I really hope this helps to keep all of you safe.
Wishing a warm & safe holiday season on all of you!