FIRE 101

Written by The Ready Store

Did you know that according to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) more than 4,000 Americans die and more than 20,000 are injured due to burns and smoke inhalation each year? Did you know that when a fire is burning, poisonous gases are emitted into the air that cause you to become disoriented or drowsy and could put you into a heavy sleep? This is one of the most important reasons to make sure that your fire detector always has a fresh batteries. This is something you should consistently check every year.

Fire is one of the most destructive disasters that can strike at anytime, regardless of the season. It’s particularly high during the summer in cities and states that are affected by high temperatures and drought. Property damage caused by fire has been estimated at $8.6 billion a year depending on the average rain fall and during a drought not only do the number of fires increase but also the impact that the fires have. In years where there’s a substantial drought the cost of fire damage increases substantially.

If you do see fire don’t waste your time gathering valuables. Stop what you’re doing and immediately get everyone out of the house/building that’s on fire. With the extreme dangers inherent with a fire it’s extremely important to not put yourself at undue risk trying to be a hero. Immediately call 911 and get the fire department out to your area to assist in controlling the fire. Its best to listen to the operator and provide the operator with as much needed information as requested.

However, more importantly, never forget that the best offense is always a good defense!

So the first step is to Make a Plan!

You should talk with your family, roommates, and friends regarding your plans in case of a fire. Whether you’re at risk from a wildfire or there’s potential for a fire occurring inside your house (everyone) take the time to consider the specific needs of your family members. If you have kids and they have a babysitter be sure to let them know of your plans so they can follow it in the case of a fire.

A great option for getting educated is to look into becoming CERT certified.

CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. These classes are offered by local municipalities and will educate you on the specifics of what you can do to prepare for disasters specific to your area. This includes education on fire disasters including tips for any situation like if you are stuck in a room and a fire is preventing you from exiting. CERT will teach you to put a blanket or jacket out the window to let the fire department know you are trapped.

The Second step is to Stay Protected!

According to FEMA by having properly working Fire Detectors the chances of death decreases by 50%! Now that’s only the case if they’re working properly so take the time to consistently test and clean your smoke alarms every month and change your battery every year. A great way to make this a habit is to change the batteries every New Year or another unforgettable day like a birthday or anniversary. Fire detectors don’t last forever, as a general rule you should expect to replace them every 10 years. If it seems like it’s been quite some time and you’re not sure, don’t question your safety, go replace it. Near your fire place or in your kitchen it’s best to have a fire extinguisher for some extra protection to minimize the chances of a large fire.

Use this information to your benefit and don’t be included in the percentile that’s affected by preventable fires for the year 2010.

Updated April 14, 2010

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