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Fire Safety

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Don't Let Your Family Become a Statistic

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As winter is settling in, here in the Northern Hemisphere, fire safety should be foremost in your mind. This time of year, furnaces are working overtime with fireplaces and wood stoves in use. Hopefully you had your furnace inspected, your chimney cleaned, and you have changed the batteries in your smoke detectors. Also, I hope that you have held that important fire drill. Although over one third of fires happen in the months of December, January, and February, winter fire tragedies are preventable.

I would like to share a personal experience that happened to my family the day after Christmas. We had a chimney fire. We have used a wood stove in our home for many years and this is the first time that we had a problem. Thankfully, we were home at the time and we have a top notch volunteer fire department, so there was minimal damage. We live in a 200 year old farm house, so if it every caught on fire, I believe it would burn pretty fast. It has really made us think about the dangers in our home.

I like to think that we are prepared. In November, during Fire Safety Week, we got to know EDITH. EDITH is Exit Drills In The Home. My 10 year old did great, she knew just what to do. My four and a half year old, thought he knew just what to do when the smoke detector went off. He stopped, dropped, and rolled instead of evacuating the house! Although it was quite a site to see him rolling around the floor, it also really scared me! We had explained to him minutes before what you are supposed to do in a fire drill and he had been "studying" fire safety in preschool for several weeks. My two year old didn't understand the whole thing, but that was understandable. Thank goodness our chimney fire happened in the afternoon, when we were all dressed and awake! It still took more time then was safe, to get everyone out of the house.

I was very surprised when I called the fire department, I had a hard time giving them directions. Thinking about it now, I know my 10 year old daughter would not have been able to give directions to our house. I have now posted directions to my house by every phone. To make them look a little nicer, I printed them on the computer with some graphics and put them in a picture frame. Be sure to include the following in your directions:

Use this printable emergency form to fill in the information and print out.

Fire prevention should not be something that you think of just once or twice a year. Take a tour of your house often and take this checklist with you. Learn about the importance of smoke detectors and install them on every level of your home and make sure they have good batteries. Another very important device to have in your home is a carbon monoxide detector. Learn what carbon monoxide gas is, then read these safety tips to protect your family against this silent killer. If you don't own a carbon monoxide detector, read this before buying one.

I would like everyone to gain from these valuable lessons that I have learned. Read these surprising statistics about fire in The United States. Take the time to prevent fires and be prepared in case a fire happens to you. It could save your life, save the life of a family member, and it could prevent your property from being destroyed. [an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]