Fire safety awareness is something that we are all taught in primary school but often neglect as adults. Unless we have witnessed first hand the destructive power of a roaring house fire, we tend to think little and seldom of the potential for our home to go up in flames. However, fire safety awareness can save your life, the life of your family, and your property if you give it its due consideration.
Fire safety awareness begins with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, placed evenly throughout the home. You can have all of your detectors easily and inexpensively wired together. This means if a detector on the first floor in the pantry alarms in the middle of the night, the one just outside your bedroom will also alarm at the same time ensuring that you are much more likely to wake as early as possible. Many first floor detectors have been known to alarm but by the time the second or third floor detectors alarmed to wake the family, it was too late.
A word about dogs and fire safety. While it is true that many dogs will bark frantically at the first sight of fire, which may wake the family, this is not a reliable system. A dog that is barking frantically is looking for a way out of his home, and if he finds one, he will leave. Dogs have been known to wake their humans because they want them to let them out of harm’s way. This action is seen as heroic, but is not a reliable form of fire detection.
All families should have a fire safety plan. Too many parents are lost annually to fires because they believe a child is still trapped inside, when in fact they are in the arms of a neighbor or are standing next to the wrong tree. Review the plan at least twice per year, although monthly is better when you have children under the age of twelve. In the age of cell phones it is no longer necessary to attempt to dial emergency services until you and your family are safely out of the house.
When children receive fire safety awareness education at school, get involved. Most children are sent home with fire safety plans and fire safety information and never go over it with their parents. This is often because a parent does not ask them to. Getting involved in their fire safety instruction makes it easier for them to retain the information they have received and implement it in their own life.
Part of developing a fire safety plan also means deciding how and when the pets of the household can be saved. This is a grim concept that no one likes to think about, but being mentally prepared helps because you have already made decisions when you are not in an emotional or fearful state. Caged animals, pets in the children’s bedrooms, and cats are extremely difficult to save when trying to usher your family to safety. Children will often delay leaving their bedroom because they want to save their hamster. Developing your own plan before the event can help you determine what is best overall for everyone involved. Many people simply open cages if they can not be easily carried outside, as pets have a way of finding their own way out of a fire. Cats will generally not tolerate being held at this time. Fire safety involves a plan for every member of the household that values life and puts the family’s safety first.