by Katrina Mattila

Fire Prevention and Preparation


Even though we are nearing the end of October, I wanted to honor fire prevention month with a few tips to help keep you safe. I recently attended my son’s school field trip to the fire station, and learned a few things along with those kindergartners. Did you know you are supposed to check your fire alarms once a week and change the batteries once a year? Pick a day of the week that you designate to checking the fire alarms and choose a day you will remember to change your batteries, such as your birthday. Also, check with your local fire hall to see if they supply free fire alarms and batteries as many do. Lastly, be sure everyone knows where the fire extinguishers are located and how to use them.

We have talked to our son several times about our meeting place if there is a fire, and one of the conversations was only a few months back; so when the fire fighter giving the tour of my son’s class asked who has a meeting place and my son didn’t raise his hand, I was baffled. He’s not a shy kid so if he knew the answer he would have raised his hand. I later asked him if he remembered where to go, and to my surprise, he did not. Lesson of this story is talk about this often with your kids, and actually practice it. That is the best way for them to learn.

Know what your two exit options are in every room. Let children know if the door is hot and they can’t get out, go to the window and be sure they know how to open it. If you have a two story house, be sure children understand not to go out those windows, but wait by them and fire fighters will use their ladders to get them to safety.

Now that we are entering the chilly months of fall and winter, if you are like me, I start lighting more candles and turning on the fire place. Be sure to check all candles when you are leaving the house or at night to be sure they are all out. Also, don’t forget to turn the fire place off if you use it. If you are cooking, you should always stay in the kitchen until you are done.

Take an inventory of your home or business. One of the best ways to do this is to use a video camera and go through each room and closet. Have the video backed up online, saved off site, or in a fire proof safe. If you do have a total loss of your home or business, this will make it much easier to remember everything you lost for insurance purposes.

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