Keep Your Family Safe and Savvy in Case of a Fire

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 The Public Education Division of the Moose Jaw Fire Department (MJFD) just wrapped up its Fire Safety School Program at Sunningdale and Palliser Heights.

While at the schools they visited classrooms, and,  obviously, spoke with students about fire safety. They helped the children develop home fire escape plans, taught them how to check fire alarms, gave them quizzes and provided them with a Home Hazard Inspection Checklist that, I can only imagine, many families would look over and come to the conclusion that their home wasn't nearly as fire safe as it could (should) be. 

A fire can be devastating, it can destroy everything a person owns; and it has no respect for human life. Many households are ill-prepared in case of a fire; and many of the owners of those homes have taken on the position of thinking "it will never happen to me". This may well be true, it may never happen to them. But is has happened to others. Many of the people's whose lives were destroyed by home fires had the exact same thoughts. 

So, seeing as the kids already went through this, I'm going to direct it at the adults. The following is exactly what the Public Education Division of the MJFD is currently teaching people about fire safety. 

They encourage you to sit down with your family and develop a home escape plan and practice it regularly.

Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark all the windows and doors. You need two ways out of every room. That means doors and windows should be accessible and the kids should know how to get out of them. If you live in an apartment building you should have an escape plan there too. Use the stairs, NOT THE ELEVATOR.

Practice your home escape plan enough that the children understand it and are comfortable with evacuating the home. If your small children don't know what to do in the case of a home fire, it's on you to teach them.  

Your floor plan should have an established meeting spot marked on it. Everyone in the house should know where to go once they've escaped the burning home; and once you've made it out, don't go back in. Never. Get to the nearest phone and call 911.

Make sure your smoke alarms work. If they don't; fix them. If you don't have them; install them. Make sure there is a working smoke alarm on each level of your home, test them monthly and replace the batteries annually or when your alarm makes that chirping sound. That means the batteries are getting low.

The children were each given a Home Inspection Checklist. It's recommended you do what you can to make sure the checklist is used.

Can you see your house numbers from the street? It helps if you can. Do you have emergency phone numbers on all of your telephones? Do your kids know how to call them? Do you have your address saved on your phone and do your kids know what it is? Is there a working fire extinguisher in your home and is it hanging by a door where it can be easily accessed? Do you know how to put out a grease fire? (turn the heat off, cover the pot with a metal lid, dump baking soda on it.)  Are your electrical cords in working order? 

If your kids are having a sleepover, have them teach their friends the escape route. If your kids are unable to do this; go back to practising the escape routes. Practise "Stop, Drop & Roll". Is your stove-top free of grease and clutter? When cooking, do you turn your pot handles inward? Are matches and lighters keep away from children? Are your exits free of clutter and easy to access. Keep space heaters away from combustibles and, if you've got a fireplace, use a screen.

Remember, smoke is often more of a threat than the fire is so keeping your bedroom door closed will earn you some valuable time in holding the smoke back; and don't try and run through the smoke. Smoke rises, it's much safer to crawl underneath it. 

Stay safe. 

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