Today I want to share a little bit about fire safety with you. At a young age, we’re all taught not to play with matches or lighters, to “stop-drop-and-roll” if our clothing catches on fire, and to call 911 in case of a fire, and these are all excellent rules to follow, but there’s so much more you should know. Hopefully, these few tips can keep help you prevent a fire, keep it from spreading, and keep you and your family safe.
Fire Safety Do’s
- Keep smoke detectors in good working order. Check your Smoke detectors at least twice a year. A good way to remember is by checking them when the time changes due to daylight savings.
- Have an escape plan and have multiple escape routes. Practice multiple times a year, especially with young children.
- Teach children about the dangers of playing with lighters and matches. Seek to enroll them in a fire safety class. There are several available free of charge or for a minimal fee. Your local fire station is a wonderful place to bring your children to learn about fire safety, meet some of the local firefighters, and get to see the trucks.
- If you notice any electrical malfunctions in your home, have them examined immediately by a certified electrician. If you wait, it could be too late. With this in mind, if you own an older home with an outdated electrical system, have it updated ASAP. The old knob and tube electrical systems are unable to handle the electrical load of today’s electronics.
- Have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. Keep it in an area where it is easily accessible. Make sure all family members are familiar with how to use them. Small fires cause less damage but grow quickly so be cautious while using a fire extinguisher. If the fire does not go out quickly, EVACUATE!!
- Stay below the smoke. The chemical make-up of smoke does serious damage to your brain and lungs. First disorientation will set in, then you go unresponsive. Eventually, your breathing will stop. It’s important to remember that the smoke will kill you before the fire does.
- Tell arriving firefighters the location of the fire or trapped family members. This will drastically increase the odds of the fire going out quickly and drastically shorten the time for the firefighters to find your family member.
Fire Safety Don’ts
- Don’t try to extinguish the fire yourself and then call 911. Call 911 immediately. Fires double in size every minute.
- Don’t try to be a hero. If the fire is too large EVACUATE!! If you have practiced your escape plans everyone will make it out safely.
- Don’t re-enter your home once you have evacuated.
- Don’t put space heaters within 3 feet of combustibles. Typical combustibles include bedding, curtains, clothes, books, and furniture. Never leave space heaters unattended or left on in the room where you are sleeping.
- Don’t leave cooking food unattended and DO NOT use water on a cooking fire. If you are cooking with oil or grease, smother the fire with a lid or use an extinguisher specifically designed for cooking materials. DO NOT smack at the fire with a dishtowel, this will cause oil or grease to splash around and cause the fire to spread!
When it comes to fires, knowledge can the difference between life and death so don’t hesitate to ask. If you have questions about these fire safety tips, home evacuation plans, or other fire prevention tips contact your local fire department.
This week’s blog on Fire Safety is brought to you by guest blogger and fire expert, Sgt. Anthony Malon. Sgt. Malon has been with the Anderson fire department (AFD) for 9 years. During his time with the department he has become one of AFD’s lead Arson Investigators as well as a licensed paramedic. He is certified in all aspects of technical rescue at the technician level and also has certifications in the Fire officer 1, Safety officer, Instructor 1 and live Fire Instructor courses. Sgt. Malon has served as a Fire I and Fire II instructor to the Anderson High School students enrolled in the D26 co-op program. He has a passion for learning and teaching everything there is to know about the fire service.