Having spent 14 years as a career, fulltime firefighter paramedic, I’d say I’ve learned a few things about home safety. Today I’d like to present you 5 Home Safety Tips that may one day save your life or the life of one of your family members. the best part is you can accomplish all 5 of these in just a matter of minutes!
5. Have and emergency meeting location
When a fire or another emergency strikes people panic, people get lost, especially children. Before anything happens make sure your whole family is on the same page with a meeting location. Maybe a tree in the front yard, maybe the neighbors house, but make sure everyone knows, if we have to evacuate the home this is where we go. Pro tip – don’t make the location across the street. A scared child may run across a dark street while a fire truck is coming at a high rate of speed.
4. Have an exit strategy
If a fire starts you may have only seconds to get out. In many cases your means of egress may be blocked. Stairwells act as chimneys and so its very possible you’ll be unable to make it down and out your front door. What will you do? Consider all the areas of your home and how you would get out if you where trapped in that area. The bedroom is the most critical because if a fire starts at night it may be well along before you know what is happening. If your bedrooms not on the ground floor how will you get down? If the hallway outside your bedroom is full of smoke and fire and you’re unable to reach your Childs room what will you do? For me, I know if I’m trapped in my bedroom I can climb out of the window and make the jump to the front yard. From there I can grab a ladder and access my childs bedroom if I was unable to get to him because the hallway was blocked. It took me about 4 seconds to think of this but if I ever need it I wont be standing around wondering what to do.
There is an entire movement across the country about sleeping with your door closed and for good reason. Simply put it saves lives. Smoke from a house fire is dark, dense, toxic and nasty. Its essentially solid toxic waste that is now airborne. You cannot survive more then a breath or two if the fire is really going. With your door open, by the time you wake up its to late. Closing your door prevents the airflow, which prevents the fire spread and smoke spread. This buys you the precious time you need to get yourself together and get out.
2. Understanding where your Childs and pets safe places are.
This is one you wont see on many lists but I find it to be extremely important. When a young child or pet is scared and in a true life threatening emergency situation, their first instinct is not to get out, its to hide. This is the main reason fire departments across the country dress up for kids and talk at their schools. They’re teaching these young children not to fear them when they have all their gear on. If a fire starts and you have seconds to get out but you go to grab your child or pet and they aren’t there, what do you do? This is a question that could literally haunt you for life if you’re ever in that position. Fortunately with a little critical thinking you’ll hopefully know exactly where to look. What you have to remember is this is instinctual, they’re hiding from an enemy and to do that they will go to the place they feel safe. This is especially true with pets. It happens all the time when a dog is so frightened that they actually run back into the home that’s on fire. Its their safe space and they don’t understand what’s happening. Does your dog like to lay under a bed? Does he have a crate he feels safe in? Where does your child go when scared? their bedroom? Consider these, put them away in your brain and remember if ever in this situation those are the first places you look.
You know this one, you’ve heard it since you where a child. We know we know smoke detectors save lives…. Before we blow this one off as obvious let me tell you my experiences. I have the unfortunate opportunity to see more people pass away in fires then I’d like to (not ever seeing this would be ideal for everyone obviously). Every single one of these victims has had one thing in common, they did not having working smoke detectors. Every one of them…. On the other side I’ve been on many fires where people got out unharmed because the smoke detectors alerted them even in the middle of the night. That’s not to say that smoke detectors and 100% the cure all, but my experiences show that with working smoke detectors the likelihood of surviving a fire are incredibly greater. Lets be honest, changing smoke detectors batteries twice a year gets neglected, even I miss the obligatory time change smoke detector battery swap out. Here is a pro tip for you, follow this link and grab yourself some that do not require battery changes and are good for 10 years. Piece of cake and you’re good, see ya in 10 years.
Talk about easy and it may one day save your life. What do you think? Any other tips?