On February 23, 2012 a house fire claimed the lives of three children in Verona, NC. Several other children and their mother were able to escape the burning home. However, they all must live with a deep void in their lives. When I heard this tragic story on the Saturday morning news as I channel surfed, looking for an appropriate children’s cartoon for a two year old to watch, I felt compelled to write a blog post paying tribute to their lives. It is hard to make sense of why something like happens, but it serves as a reminder that life is a fragile gift that should be cherished and respected. It also serves as a reminder that we should, at all times, practice fire safety. No one ever thinks that something like this could happen to them but if a fire broke out in your home in the still of the night, while you were fast asleep, would your home be equipped and would everyone in your home know what to do?
As a tribute to Tabitha Pittman, 12, and two younger brothers, Elijah, 9, and Gabriel, 7, who died in the above mentioned fire I am going to list some valuable tips that we all can apply to protect the ones we love.
- 1. Have both photo-electric and ionization smoke detectors in the home. Photo-electric sensors alarm when the photo cell fills with smoke and ionization smokes alarm when there is a dramatic rise in heat temperature as well as when filled with smoke. The photo cell detectors engage quicker giving more time for escape.
- 2. Check your smoke detector batteries regularly.
- 3. Have a home fire escape plan and make sure you fire drill regularly.
- 4. Have a common meeting place
- 5. Have fire escape ladders for the second floor.
- 6. Keep fire extinguishers on every level of the home.
- 7. Make sure that every one knows to duck walk out of the home to prevent inhaling toxic fumes. The safest air is in the middle. Do not crawl out as some heavy gases from resins in carpet are at the lowest level.
- 8. Never run back into a burning home-wait for the fire department.
- 9. Having double keyed locks on doors obstructs potential escape. Only have single keyed locks.
- 10. Have monitored smoke sensors installed in the home. They will call the fire department so you won’t have to.
- 11. Clean below the stove eyes to remove grease and other build up that could cause a fire
- 12 Have your dryer hoses cleaned to prevent a laundry room fire.
- . 13 Make sure no door or hallways have obstructions that could block escape.
- 14 Unplug appliances that are not in use
- 15. Never smoke in bed or while sleepy sitting on a couch or chair.