In light of two recent house fires, we should all be thinking about fire safety and prevention.
When I first heard about Saturday’s fire in a duplex behind City Hall the first thoughts that ran through my head were “oh no…not again” and “what happened?”
The weekend blaze was the city’s second house fire in just three months.
Thankfully no one was seriously hurt in the most recent incident but in November’s big house fire, one man was not as fortunate and died in the blaze.
That fire was blamed on a coiled extension cord. Items were piled on top of the cord, causing it to heat up and start a fire which spread to the carpet and eventually set nearly the entire house on the fire.
The cause of Saturday’s fire is still under investigation but it is believed to have started in the car port.
A fire nearly a year ago, that consumed a man’s trailer, was the result of the owner forgetting to close the door of his woodstove.
Before I go any further, I want to say I’m sorry for all the things these fire victims have lost.
Of course not all, but many, house fires can be prevented. Home owners and renters just need to be careful and aware of the hazards around them.
Each household should always have a working smoke detector and at least one fire extinguisher.
Do not overload electrical outlets and power bars and make sure no items, especially magazines and newspaper, are not sitting on top of any electrical cords.
Do not keep fireplaces or woodstoves burning overnight or late at night, when there’s a chance you may fall asleep before turning them off.
House fires commonly start in the kitchen.
Never leave cooking food unattended and in the event of an oven fire place a lid over top of the flames and turn the oven off immediately.
In the event of a fire, remember the three words everyone was taught as a child – stop, drop and roll.
And above all, try to not panic.
I remember last year hearing about a house fire where all but one of the occupants perished in the blaze.
I recall the fire chief saying that had the fire victims remained calm and stayed low to the ground, they likely would have escaped alive.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, families should have a home fire escape plan that everyone knows because once a fire starts it can spread quickly, leaving you with as little as two minutes to escape upon hearing the smoke alarm go off.
But in the reality, the National Fire Protection Association says only one-fifth to one-fourth of households, or 23 per cent, have actually drawn up and implemented a home fire escape plan.