Through The Fire: 10 things you need to know to prevent a house fire at YOUR address.
It’s This Is Us time again, so get out your Kleenex and be ready for a spoiler or two. It you haven’t seen the Super Bowl Sunday Episode, go back and watch it and come back when you’re done.
Okay, did you get through at least the first 30 minutes? Great. Let’s do this.
A few years back…
… I was cleaning up in my bedroom when I smelled smoke. Immediately I walked into the hall, followed my nose and in a panic, stopped the dryer from running. These clothes were going to have to air dry tonight because something was on fire in there. This post is about common fire starters. Some things on this list you know, but I promise some of these items will surprise you.
If your house catches fire, you have less than 3 minutes to get out. Years ago, the time was closer to 17 minutes. One of the big differences from then to now is our flammable synthetic furniture and open floor plan homes. The best way to survive a house fire is to prevent it.
The most common place fires start is the kitchen.
- Stovetop: Sugar is super flammable as is grease. Never leave an open flame unattended. Similarly, don’t store flammable things or plastics in the oven drawers. Many are not meant for storage.
- Fireplace: Get those chimney’s cleaned so that the soot doesn’t light on fire (not a problem at my place.)
- Towels or foods close to a flame: Orange peels and garlic have oils in them that are extremely flammable. Who knew?
- Air freshener: Sprays often have alcohol in them. Don’t spray near flames and don’t leave candles unattended.
- Old appliances: The daggone CROCKPOT, JACK. THE CROCKPOT REBECCA!!!! Also faulty toasters, toaster ovens or electrical cooktops. Even if you think they are working well, UNPLUG these items when not in use.
- Your clothes dryer and hosing: Once every year or so you should have those connections cleaned AND you shouldn’t run the dryer when you aren’t at home. OUR DRYER COAGHT ON FIRE! I clean the dryer and lint trap after every cycle but it caught on fire. Thank God I was home to stop it.
- Smoking in the house is a common cause of house fires. Kids playing with matches can also cause injury or death. Remember, those curtains, couches and pillows are SUPER flammable these days.
- Space heaters: Be aware of what is around these items and don’t run the cords under rugs because they can overheat too.
- Furniture: Insanely flammable. Way more than years ago. Imaging that you are sitting on newspaper soaked in lighter fluid. You wouldn’t smoke over it or drop a birthday candle, would you?
- Electric surges: Surge protectors can help to reduce the risk of sparks and electrical surges from utility work or lightening, etc.
Teach Your Children
Teach your kids that in the event of a fire to get low, crawl on the ground, don’t take any belongings, check doors for heat before opening them, know that exits can be windows and not just doors, don’t got back to get pets (sorry pets), and DON’T HIDE IN CLOSETS. Some children tend to do this naturally out of fear, but if the fire doesn’t get them, the smoke will.
A widow maker’s heart attack. That’s what took out Jack (This Is Us). Was it from the smoke? Indirectly. The smoke put strain on Jack’s TV heart, which likely had a blockage of the left anterior descending artery already. This is one of the main vessels that brings oxygen to the heart and, when completely blocked, can cause the heart to fail, leading to sudden death.
February is American Heart Month.
I will take this moment to remind us all to see our doctors regularly, to try to consume a predominately plant-based diet, and to exercise regularly, ideally at least 30 minutes per day, 5 days out of the week.
I love writing about this show. My first post about This Is Us was about finding love in the most unsuspecting places, and my most recent one was about pregnancy over the age of 35. I recently had an opportunity to talk about pregnancy in women over 35 on Chicago Tonight. That was amazing.
Enough about me.
Keep working batteries…
… in the smoke and CO2 detectors, know your exits, keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, don’t smoke indoors (or at all), and never leave a stovetop fire or a candle unattended.
You and your kids may want to watch this fire simulation video to drive home the point to your kids. The first kids did the right thing. The second didn’t. It’s a little hard to watch but important to see. My sons learned a lot.
Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald is a board certified OBGYN. She began practicing medicine in 2007 and now uses her extensive knowledge and growing following to increase health awareness in a fun and viral way. She is the founder of The Gyneco-blogic and an author of numerous books for adult and childhood health education and social growth. For more, check me, I mean her out at dreverywoman.com