Yes, we are firefighters, and we love what we do.
It’s also true that we are perfectly OK with reporting for work today and not fighting a single fire. In fact, we prefer it. That means no one’s house burned down, no one got hurt.
This week is National Fire Prevention Week, observed each year at this time to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. That blaze destroyed more than 17,000 buildings, killed more than 250 people and left 100,000 people homeless.
Fire prevention is serious stuff. Often, all it takes is a little forethought and some advance planning to prevent a disaster altogether. This year the National Fire Prevention Association’s theme of the week is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.”
Don’t get too attached to your smoke alarm. You’re going to need a lot of them. One for every room in your home. And make sure you and all your smoke alarms and smoke detectors know right from the start that you’re not looking for a lifetime commitment here. Keep it casual, right? Ten years, maybe less, and you’re moving on from all of them. Refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations to be sure.
You’ve got to know the signs, which in this case are sounds. These are the important ones to know. It's best to check the back of your smoke alarms and smoke detectors to see what the chirps mean. If you can't find it there, refer to the manufacture for more information.
No one knows exactly why these chirps sometimes begin in the middle of the night while you are enjoying the deepest, best sleep of your life, dreaming about winning the lottery and moving to a tropical island where there are absolutely no pandemics or politicians. But yeah, that’s probably when the chirp is going to happen. It’s science. We think.
Candles seem like a fine idea until you realize that you are intentionally setting tiny fires inside your home. What happens to tiny fires? Sometimes, they become big fires.
We are well into the 21st century now. We have all sorts of options for illumination. We don’t need to start tiny fires in our homes. Have you tried LED candles? It’s all the benefits of a real candle without the fire.
It’s October and nothing says Halloween like an intricately carved jack-o-lantern. But nothing ruins Halloween faster than a flaming pumpkin burning down your house. So light them up with LED candles and we’ll all live long enough to enjoy sampling all the best stuff from our kids’ trick-or-treating haul after they go to sleep.
It’s amazing how effective a simple interior door can be in delaying the spread of smoke and fire. So this tip is about as simple as it gets: When you go to bed at night, close all the bedroom doors.
Should a fire begin somewhere in your home, the decision to close the doors can buy you the time you need to assess the situation, call 911 and get safely out of the house.
This only works if you have smoke detectors in every room of the home, and it’s even better if they are wired to communicate with each other and all sound off in unison during an emergency. You’ve got to make sure that when the doors are closed, you’re always able to hear your smoke detectors’ alarms.
If a fire starts in your house and you can’t put it out, then you gotta get the heck out of there. And it’ll go a lot faster if you’ve got a plan.
In fact, you need to know the fastest, safest way out of the house from anywhere you might be in the home, so you can act quickly in an emergency. Make sure everyone who lives in your home knows it, too.
Have a plan and practice it. It’s also important to set up a place for everyone to meet up once you’re safely outside the home. Practice that, too.
We couldn’t make a video for every single fire prevention tip. There are too many. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important to know them.
So here are four more simple, effective tips for not burning down your house:
Be Safe in the Kitchen
Most fires start in the kitchen. Hot food is delicious, but you’ve got to monitor it while it’s cooking on the stove or heating in the oven. Don’t wander off and get distracted by the ballgame on TV. Don’t fall asleep after putting that 2am pizza in the oven, even if you’ve been craving it ever since you left the bar.
Don’t Smoke in the House
Again, we are well into the 21st century. Smoking indoors isn’t really a thing anymore. If you smoke, do it outside. Your house will smell better and also it’s far less likely to burn to the ground, leaving you homeless while you puff on that cancer-filled stress reliever.
Be Smart with Space Heaters
Winter is coming, and firefighters everywhere are responding to calls of fires started by space heaters. It happens all the time. If you’re using a space heater, make sure to keep it at least three feet away from anything that can catch fire.
Get to Know Your Fire Extinguisher
Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher. But don’t wait until your house is literally on fire to learn how to use it. Take a few moments to read the instructions and familiarize yourself with how it works. Then make sure that everyone else in the home knows how to use it, too.
We could go on all day about fire prevention tips, but this is a great start. Focus on these and if all goes according to plan, you’ll never have to call the fire department to have us come hose down your house.
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