I was just doing a little research and learned that over 4,000 people die each year in fires, and approximately 25,000 are injured in the United States alone. One way to avoid becoming a statistic in your own home is by planning for escape so that you can get out quickly. I cannot stress how important this is. It only takes 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a fire that is completely out of control. After that, it takes only a few minutes for the entire house to become filled with black smoke and become engulfed in flames. (My Talking Heads painting is an example of this scenario.)
First, make sure you have 2 working smoke alarms, and check them once a month. You’ll also need to replace the batteries once a year.
In the event of a fire, have at least 2 escape routes from every room in the house. Why two? Because if your primary way out is blocked with smoke, you’ll need to exit another way. This may be through a window and down a ladder and onto another roof. Remember to crawl below the smoke, and practice your escape route twice a year.
If your windows have security bars on them, make sure they have quick release mechanisms which allow them to be easily opened. Also, make sure that everyone in the house knows how to open them, including babysitters.
Never open doors that are hot to touch. To determine this, use the back of your hand to feel the doorknob or door frame. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. And, even if it feels cool, open it carefully. If heat & smoke come in, close the door and use an alternate route.
Designate a meeting place for your entire family outside the home. This is to make sure that everyone has escaped the fire. Then, one person should go to a neighbor’s house to call the fire department.
Always escape first, then call 911. And, once you’re out, stay out. Do not enter the burning building again for any reason whatsoever. Even when a fire has been burning for only several minutes, toxic gases have been released and there is little oxygen to breath. Furthermore, the structure could collapse or the entire house could explode.
Also, teach young children not to hide from firefighters. They are there to save everyone’s life. To teach children more about fire safety, please visit the U.S. Fire Administration for Kids.
While you’re planning your escape route, have a look at my beaded 1943 Chevy fire truck. Very soon, the entire piece will be covered with red seed beads. I’m always thinking of the next steps, and right now, I’m wondering what to do for the tires. I really want there to be a tread, or something that seems like a tread. Any ideas??