Your Home…Your Palace or Pyre?

FireED Community Risk Reduction Network

So what does it really take to convince you…? YES You, you’re reading this article and thinking ” Oh great another soapbox standing prevention person trying to save me.”

Reality and statistics are proving prevention people’s messages are not getting out as well as we would like. We talk of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms as being so important and mention home escape plans but it falls on deaf ears most times. What does it take to convince you the reader that these three items can save your life or someone in your family?

You have probably talked more about that lottery win more than escaping your house if it was on fire.

People spend money weekly picking up lottery tickets to win the big jackpot and odds are stacked against you. The odds of experiencing a devastating fire is 1 in 4 persons; not very good odds when we are talking about something as dangerous as a fire. Yet what have you done to prepare your family to escape your home should a fire occur? Is that responsible parenting if you have children at home? Its crazy if you ask me ( not that you would) but adults have a responsibility to raise their children to flourish and prosper in life.

Fire safety is critical life skills that is often ignored. Do you want to die in your home or have someone in your home not make it out safely? Maintaining your life safety devices like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are critically important but do not forget about making an escape plan. If you do not think it is important to make that plan, why not think about planning a funeral and some grief counselling if you survive. Is that a shocking statement to make? Are you offended? That is the reality of it; no sugar coating, no bake sale, no Kumbaya, no kneeling on the front yard asking GOD why…

Planning for your family’s escape is a huge responsibility to undertake. Ask questions seek help if you need some, it’s a unique interior road map to your families safe meeting place. We coddle children and spend time teaching them to drive a car, wear their seatbelt, don’t speed, don’t text and drive, and most importantly don’t pick up strangers. Yet you do not instruct them when a stranger (FIRE) enters a place that they feel safe and secure in and could possibly be sleeping.

The basic lessons, Do You Know?

  1. The home escape plan should be drawn up, practiced and practiced until everyone is familiar with it.
  2. Your smoke and carbon monoxide alarm sounding is a call to action!
  3. Your brain recalls what that sound means;  Get out of bed, stay low, feel the door, stay low, open the door and check for smoke, if there is no smoke, move!, get to that meeting place and do not go back inside.
  4. Do not tempt fate, once outside stay out, call 911 and wait, you can tell the firefighters where someone may be inside if they are not outside with you. If you reenter you may not come out and now there is no one to inform the fire crews…

If when reading those tips, the thought of it scares you, it should! Odds are it will happen to you or one of your 3 closest friends.

1 in 4 persons will experience a fire emergency. No one schedules the fire emergency it just happens, you need to plan, train and prepare for it. Your cell phone will not notify you of it…

So why did I write this message this morning? Because I believe that home fire deaths are preventable in most cases.

Often times the public cries out that firefighters wages are too high, taxes are too high, why did it take so long for the firefighters to arrive to a fire scene? These three items are justifiable; firefighters risk life and health every time they are out on a emergency call. Taxes keep the equipment and tools the firefighters need to save you in the hands of the firefighters. Your address is your choice, firetrucks must maneuver through traffic, poor weather and many other responding delays.

To save yourself and your family is to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms coupled with a practiced well developed home escape plan.

If you and your family are not outside the home when the firefighters arrive, your chances of survival are greatly diminished. Fire injuries are devastating and the recovery time from them can take a lifetime for the outside scars, the traumatic scars inside may never heal.

If what I have said is falling on deaf ears consider hearing someone in your family post fire incident saying ” I didn’t know what to do” ” It happened so fast”. If you do not heed these words and take the steps to make your home escape plan and practice it, you are negligent in your responsibilities. You have no excuse and no one to blame but yourself…

If you need help in making that plan…contact the fire department in your area. To learn more online, become a member of the FireED Interactive Community!

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