If you spend your Tuesday nights like most American’s, chances are you curl up in front of the television watching a very popular series centered around a lovable, yet oh so complicated family. If you’ve tuned in over the past few weeks, you have probably gone through at least a box or two of tissues AND have decided to forgo any crockpot recipes for a while (not forever mind you, but definitely for a while!) . . . After last night’s episode, there is absolutely no way that Fire Safety has not crossed some of our minds over the past 24 hours . . .Yes, I know a few months back, we did a blog about Fire Safety, and even visited the local Fire Department, but truth is, it’s a REALLY important topic, so it’s worth talking about one more time.
So welcome to Fire Safety, (aka the “This Is Us” edition). . . when the snow is falling, the winds are blowing, and the thermometer is far below our preferred comfort zone , that means that Winter has come , and is most likely going to stay for a while! With the change of seasons, comes an important reminder to be aware of fire safety rules, to remember those year round tips, as well as spending a few moments focusing on extra precautions that should be taken during the winter months ahead . . . so here we go:
Who doesn’t love to sit around a beautiful fire place or rustic wood stove, curled up under your favorite blanket all warm and cozy, while reading a good book or sipping on a fresh cup of coffee? Even though doing so may feel incredibly relaxing, it is SO important that before ANY fire happens, to be sure to have had your chimney professionally cleaned and serviced. Also, make sure to keep a screen in front of the fire place. Although often very pretty, don’t be fooled, this piece is far more than a decoration. It will protect your flooring from “runaway” embers that can start trouble (remember, it only takes a spark to get a fire going ) protecting not only from a possible fire, but from any damage that could occur to your carpet or flooring surface.
- Of course, NEVER use flammable liquids to start a fire, or even to keep one going, and move ANY flammable objects at least 3 feet or more away from the fire source. Once you are done enjoying the fire, be sure to take plenty of time to let the ashes cool down before closing the damper. Remember, a closed damper CAN reignite a flame, which will force carbon monoxide into your home . . . causing a potentially deadly threat to you and your family! Also, never place ashes (even cooled ashes in a cardboard or wooden box) a metal container with a lid is the way to go just in case the ashes aren’t quite as cool as you thought they were!
- If you are using gas, verses wood burning appliances, thoroughly check your furnace out before you turn it on. Be sure to place your hands on the walls around it to make sure that no heat is coming through and check for cracks or holes in the furnace or adjacent pipes as well. As as always, keep all flammable and combustible objects far far away from the furnace, a 3-ft “safe zone” is usually your safest bet.
- Have that one room that is always “extra” cold no matter how high you turn up the heat? Space heaters are a great heating source and can make a huge difference in your comfort level without adding to a huge electrical bill. However, just like everything else, you must be wise in how you use them. One heater per outlet is the max. NEVER plug them into an extension cord (they don’t have the safety of a circuit breaker that will “trip” when overloaded!). Be sure to keep heaters clear of ALL flammable objects, and debris, and of course, remember that electric heaters shouldn’t be near water, so bathrooms and kitchens are NOT the best choice for them. If you do decide to use them in those rooms, be extra careful that they do not get wet, and NEVER ever leave them unattended.
- While we are using the NEVER word, NEVER ever go to bed with a crock pot or oven on, with a dryer running, pre-strung lights (such as Christmas lights) or a lithium battery plugged in ( yes, I know you need to charge your phones and computers friends, but try to get into the habit of charging them while you are awake) Once they are fully charged, unplug them from the wall outlet and sleep with a bit more peace. Remember, a habit can be established within 2 months, and a 2 month investment is definitely worth the safety of your family.
- Be sure to have a smoke alarm in EVERY bedroom AND on EVERY floor of your home, and be sure to change the batteries regularly (at least once a year) and remember, smoke alarms need to be fully replaced every 10 years (even if you think they are in good shape, trust me, they aren’t!)
- Make sure that EACH floor has it’s own fire extinguisher (if you are a little on the paranoid side like I am, especially after last night’s episode, it probably wouldn’t be such a bad idea to have one in every bedroom either!) . . . and please be sure that EVERYONE knows HOW TO USE THEM (during a fire is not the time to try to read the directions!)
- Know your house inside and out, think ahead and find 2 ways out of each and every room (doors and windows), and practice family fire drills often. Remember to have a meeting place nearby (usually in the front of your home) so family members will quickly know who has made it out of a fire and who is still inside.
- This Safety Rule is pretty important friends, in fact, I would probably call it the “Jack Rule!” . . . NEVER EVER EVER go back into a burning house once you have made it out safely, let the Fire Department take care of going back in to rescue or bring things out . . . they have the training, the experience and most of all the protective gear to be the person to get the job done! bottom line, GET OUT AND STAY OUT!!!
- Go over these fire safety rules with your family often. Don’t make them a conversation that you just check off your list every Winter, but truly make them a way of life for your household . . . Enjoy the Winter months, stay warm, have fun, make memories . . . and most of do your best to STAY SAFE . . . AND be sure to buy a new box of tissues before Tuesday night!
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