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How to Prepare for Fires

Many people die from fires, or suffer first degree burns that could have been prevented. It can take less than 5 minutes for a home to burn down, and that doesn’t leave much time to think through everything you need to get or how to escape. Preparation ahead of time will eliminate the guesswork and keep you and your family safe.  Here’s how:

Fire Extinguishers

Landlords are required to make these available to tenants in accordance with most state laws. If you’re a tenant and don’t have any (or enough) fire extinguishers, ask your landlord to get them. As a homeowner, it’s entirely your responsibility to get fire extinguishers to put out small fires before they spread.

Pest Control

Rats and mice are the cause of many house fires. They can chew through electrical wiring and cause a lot of damage. The best way to prepare for fires is to prevent them from happening in the first place. Part of your prevention plan needs to include getting rid of mice and rats. Seal all openings in your home where they might creep in. Set traps to catch them. Be watchful during the winter months, as they’ll be looking for homes to stay warm.

Emergency Supply Kit

These are also known as “bug out” or “get-out-of-Dodge” bags. You need to pack all of the essential items you need to travel on foot to a safe shelter. These include:

  • A portable water filter
  • Emergency water pouches
  • Ready-to-eat meals or MREs
  • Energy Food Bars
  • Tent
  • N95 masks
  • AM/FM receiver
  • Plastic bags
  • Street map
  • Lighter
  • Waterproof matches
  • Candles
  • Emergency sleeping bag
  • Extra clothing
  • Hiking boots
  • Medications and supplements

You’ll need to keep an eye on your supplies and make sure that you use and replenish any foods or water that will expire soon. Keep a portable emergency supply kit in your car, because you may not be able to get yours out of the house if there’s a fire.

Fire-Proof Safe

How will you keep important documents, cash and other valuables safe if your home catches fire? There are some items that are simply irreplaceable, such as photos and gifts from loved ones. You may not want to keep them in a bank safety deposit box, because you want easy access to them right at home. The best solution is a fire-proof safe. These will protect your items in case there’s a fire. Make sure that the safe is clearly marked “fire-safe”, because not all safes offer the same protection.

Prepaid Cell Phone

Fires can spread quickly and you’ll need a way to call the fire department right away for help. If you live close enough to neighbors, they can spot the fire and make that call for you. However, that might not be possible because of where you live. You’ll need another way to call for help, because your top priority is to get you and your family out of your home, alive. You can purchase a prepaid cell phone to pack in your emergency survival kit, such as a Tracfone. This will allow you to make a call while you’re on the run or when you’ve made it to a safe spot away from the fire. It’s handy to keep it in your kit for emergencies, rather than trying to hunt down your regular cell phone.

You can prevent and prepare for fires by taking the precautions outlined above. Take the time to follow these steps, which can save your life and valuables.