Additional Fire And Wildlife Preparedness Tips

Fire & Wildfire Preparedness - General Fires

According to recent statistics, more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 20,000 are injured each year as a result of fires. In addition, property damages and losses are estimated to be almost $10 billion dollars annually. While many fires can be prevented, some occur suddenly testing our ability to survive personally as well as save our family members. Your personal and family survival may depend on your level of preparedness and planning. We offer this fire preparedness list as a starting point for your consideration.


Smoke Alarms – The First Step for Fire Safety

One of the most important factors in fire survival is the amount of time you have to react. Once a fire starts growing, it can and will spread rapidly. For protection, it is critically important that you have smoke alarms installed throughout your home. According to FEMA, having working smoke alarms in your home decreases your chances of dying by 50%. You should minimally have one smoke detector installed on every level of your home. In our opinion, this is not an area to save by simply having one in the hallway outside a group of bedrooms. Fire alarms should be installed in each bedroom. The early warnings of a smoke alarm system can literally make the difference between life and death. It is also critically important that you test your smoke detectors once a month and replace the batteries at least once a year. Also, check the instructions on your detectors for proper installation locations with respect to heights and distances from walls.


In-Home Fire Safety Planning

Planning is obviously a very important part of fire safety and survival. Unlike the scenes in most movies, the presence of fire leaves heavy smoke that is often banked all the way down to the floor. Seeing and breathing will be very difficult. Your survival could very well depend on your planning, practicing and ultimate reactions to your plan. To learn more about fire safety procedures, contact your local fire department for basic planning guides. In addition, we offer these suggestions:  


1.       Make a family plan and practice it at least once a year. You may not all be together so each member of your family must know what to do, what not to do and where to go.

a.       Stay as low as possible.

b.       Before opening any doors, check for heat with the back of your hand.

c.       Practice and know multiple escape routes as your primary route may be blocked.

d.       Small children may be scared and want to hide. Make sure they know not to hide and that they yell so you’ll know where they are.

e.       Consider buying emergency escape ladders in case your only exit route is a second or third floor window

f.         It is critically important that you pre-arrange a meeting place outside and away from your home where you will all meet when you get out of the house. We cannot overstress the importance of this detail. There have been many cases where three members of a family are all outside by the front mailbox and one person goes back into the home to look for a missing family member and winds up perishing in the fire. Often this thought-to-be-missing family member has made it outside and is waiting in another location!


2.       Install the proper fire extinguishers in your home and have more than one of them available.

a.       Fire extinguishers come in many different sizes and are designed for different types of fires. You should have at least one per floor and a specific extinguisher in your kitchen designed for kitchen-type fires. Check with your local fire department for more information on specific fire types.

b.       Practice how to use a fire extinguisher. In a real emergency you will know what to do. Many local fire departments have demonstrations where you can watch and practice.

c.       Before attempting to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire, make sure that you or someone else calls the fire department. While many fires can be extinguished quickly with an extinguisher….many cannot. Time is critical in a fire emergency and getting the proper resources on their way to you can make all the difference (we are not recommending that you should attempt to fight any size fire on your own). Discuss your in-home fire safety procedures with your local fire department and ask for their recommendations.


3.       Go to your local fire department and meet and talk with the fire fighters.

a.       Most departments carry a lot of informational flyers on how to better prepare and plan for fires.

b.       If you have children, it is important that they know that a firefighter is there to help in an emergency. In full “turnout gear,” a firefighter may appear very scary to a child. This may cause them to hide when a firefighter searches and calls for them. Bring your children to the local firehouse and let them see and meet a firefighter in full gear. This will make them more comfortable


4.       If you have and use a fireplace, make sure to have it checked and cleaned regularly.


As we have mentioned, fires can occur suddenly—often when we are asleep and least expect them. Your level of planning and preparation will dictate your potential outcome. Please note that we offer some basic fire safety items on our Website. We recommend you have these in your home. We constantly add new and updated items to our mix. Do not wait until it is too late. Create and discuss a family survival plan and prepare now!



Planning & Preparedness for Wildfires

Certain parts of our country are more prone to wildfires then others. As homeowners increasingly seek home environments in near heavily wooded areas, forests or mountain regions, wildfire danger increases exponentially. Wildfire disasters can be caused by natural events such as lighting strikes or unnatural events like arson. Similar to house fire planning, proper preparedness for wildfires will increase your chances of survival. Here are some wildfire survival tips:


       1.   Practicing General Wildfire Safety:

a.       Design and plan your home and landscaping with fire safety in mind.

b.       Use building materials and plants that resist fire rather than fuel it.

c.       Make sure you have a safety zone around your home that is free from debris,       leaves or other items that will fuel a fire and spread it to your home.

d.       Make sure there is a safe area around barbeque propane tanks.

e.       Try to have an accessible water supply: swimming pool, pond, well or hydrant nearby.

f.         Make sure you have garden hoses long enough to reach all areas of your home and nearby areas that may be affected.


                        For a more complete list you can visit the Red Cross Website and/or speak with                             your local fire department


       2.   Proper Preparation and Escape Planning:

a.       Have a practice a family escape plan.

b.       Teach young children about the dangers of fire and playing with matches.

c.       Plan several different escape routes in case your primary route is blocked.

d.       Learn about past wildfires in your area and what the best actions would be.

e.       Report potential dangerous or fire causing hazards to the proper authorities.

f.         Speak with your neighbors and coordinate how you might react or escape together.

g.       Make sure to have an emergency radio on hand so you can get up to the minute reports from the proper authorities. This can include whether or not you need to evacuate.

h.       If you are told to evacuate do so as quickly as possible. Wildfires can move very quickly so every minute counts.

i.         Make sure to let someone know you are evacuating so they don’t come back looking for you.

j.         Choose an escape route away from fire hazards.

k.       Take your disaster kit with you


       3.   Your Preparedness Kit:

a.       Your basic 72-hour emergency kit will have many items you can use when escaping a wildfire situation. These can include water supplies, first aid items, dust masks and flashlights.

b.       It would be a good idea to purchase an automobile survival kit for each vehicle you own in case you forget or cannot get to the one in your home.

c.       Supplement your kits with additional survival items you feel you may need depending on where you live and your possible escape options. Additional survival items might include an ax in case a tree has been felled and is blocking your escape route. Other items might include a fire extinguisher, extra dust masks, fire resistant clothing or anything else you feel is appropriate.


The information above is not totally comprehensive. It is meant to give you some good guidelines and a starting point to help you in your preparation. Resources such as the Red Cross, FEMA and your local fire departments can provide even more complete information and recommendations for fire survival and planning.

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