Recently, I interviewed a real life Fire Captain about all things fire prevention and what to do if a fire does break out. We broke the interview down into a few blog posts so that you can easily find the information you are looking for. In the first blog post, we covered preventative items to have in your home. This time, we’re talking about real life fire scenarios he’s seen and what you and your family can do if you find yourselves in one of these situations.
For families, knowing what to do in the instance of an emergency is extremely important. In our house, my Fire Captain husband is often away overnight and for long shifts. That makes it even more important that my kids and I are prepared for anything that comes our way.
Here are 6 real life fire scenarios and what you can do if you find yourself in these situations:
Not knowing how to shut off utilities.
This would be water, electricity, and gas. Recently, a dad was replacing a water faucet at his house and he hadn’t shut off his water. He ended up flooding his entire second floor and the fire department had to respond to help him shut it off.
It’s good to know how to shut off your gas, especially on the west coast, incase of an earthquake You also want to know how to shut off your electricity at the breaker panels in case of an emergency.
You can find resources online with your utility providers to help you in locating the shut offs for each utility.
Starting an oven fire.
Oven fires can happen when you leave something in the oven for too long or when grease makes its way down to the heating element. I did this once when I was making tacos!
If you have an oven fire, you can close the oven door, which will cut off the oxygen supply to the fire or sprinkle some water into the oven. The water will expand into steam and steam will put out the fire.
If it is beyond that, just close the oven door and call 911.
Putting Metal in the Microwave.
Some people might think this is common knowledge, but based on the number of calls my husband has been on for this, I now know it’s not! This means don’t put utensils, tin foil, or any metal containers in the microwave. It’s also important to make sure your kids and teenagers know this one, too!
Your microwave manual should say not to microwave anything that could be magnetic. The microwave will react with the metal and cause it to overheat and possibly blow out your microwave.
Overloading your power outlets.
This is a big one! Many people use power strips and extension cords with multiple outlets to plug in things like heaters. They will even plug a power strip into another power strip, and then into another like a daisy chain. Sometimes, 6 cords running off of each other. This can cause a huge fire in the wall because it overloaded the circuit and melted the cords.
Things like electrical heaters use a lot of power and create a lot of heat. The cords get hot and can melt. If they are touching any furniture or cloth, this can cause a fire.
Don’t daisy chain or overload power strips or outlets. Plug directly into the wall or get an extension cord that is the proper length.
Leaving a bathroom fan on all day.
Bathrooms fans are not designed to run more than a few hours at a time. When you run a bathroom fan for more than a few hours, it can cause the motor to overheat and start a fire. Oftentimes, based on the placement of the bathroom fan, this will lead to a dangerous attic fire.
You can install a timer on your bathroom fan so that it will turn off after a set amount of time, preventing the motor from overheating and causing a fire.
Dropping a turkey into a deep fryer.
Lots of people love to deep fry their turkeys around the holidays but it might be more dangerous than you think! If you drop a turkey into a deep fryer too quickly it will cause a huge raging inferno ball that can harm those nearby and spread to other areas. The inferno ball can spread to an awning, fabric umbrella, or even the house.
But what do you do if you find yourself in one of these situations?
You can always be prepared ahead of time by having a plan! Practice your exit plan at home with fire drills. Hey, why not, the kids do them at school, do them at home, too. This will help to eliminate panic.
You don’t want your child to be scared and hide. You can go to your local fire station and introduce your child to fire fighters. Ask them to put on all of their gear so your child will know what they look like and sound like in full gear so they will feel comfortable and less anxious if they do see a firefighter in a dangerous situation.
If there is a fire in the home, get out as quickly as possible and call 911. If you are trapped, put towels under the doors to keep the smoke out and stay low.
Bonus Tip: Sleep with your bedroom door closed!
This might not seem like a big deal, but we’ve seen situations where an entire apartment was destroyed with the exception of the bedroom that had the door shut. If you don’t believe me, go check out my Instagram post about it, right here.
You can never prepare for an emergency enough. The thing about an emergency is you’ll never know when it is going to happen. When it does happen you’ll wish you had prepared more but it’s also the worst time to think about should have or would haves. Take some time to collect and check on the items mentioned here to remain as prepared as possible for a home fire emergency!
He is a big part of the operations here at PreparaMom and PreparaKit and I thought it might be nice for our audience to get to know what he does as a firefighter.
What Does a Firefighter Do All Day?
First, a little background. Some have mentioned to me that they have this totally inaccurate picture of firefighters as guys who sit around the station and wash the fire-truck while they just wait for a call to come in. That couldn’t be further from the truth!
Firefighters have to stay in peak physical condition because their lives and the lives of others depend on it. That means two hours a day of mandatory gym time, plus constant training and practice to maintain skills and competency.
Staying in Peak Condition is Part of the Job for Firefighters!
Inspections, community help and outreach, as well as equipment checks and maintenance, means no real time to yourself because at any moment, it’s expected that you have to be out the door within two minutes of a call and to the scene of the emergency within five minutes. Let’s just say they learn real quick to use the potty quickly! ?
What Advice Does a Firefighter Have for Parents?
Dave has a pretty good idea of how to be prepared at a moment’s notice to be on the move. Trust me, I know first hand!
I specifically asked him to share any unique advice for parents from a firefighter perspective to help parents be better prepared for emergency situations.
Dave’s main emphasis is on preparation and awareness. Seeing as this is the main part of his job, it is no wonder that he would be keen on these areas!
Being Prepared Means Staying Calm In Emergency Situations
Preparation as a parent can mean making sure you fill up your gas tank as soon as it gets near a quarter tank, ideally half a tank. Having gas in your tank means you can be assured to get as far away as you need or get to the help you need. This is something he is always on me to keep up with.
Dave always makes sure to keep supplies in the trunk of our car for emergency situations. Supplies such as water, first aid kit (this is a really good one!?), blanket, disposable gloves, utility knife, and flashlights.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
With awareness, you need to be alert to what is going on around you at all times. Kids usually do fire drills at school and now they’re adding active shooter drills as well. But sadly, these alarming situations can happen anywhere and at any time.
I never realized this but whenever we fly on an airplane, he is already checking out the exits and talking to our son about the exit plan. If you’re on an airplane, prepare your child by talking to them about what they would do if there was an emergency and where they would go if they had to exit the plane quickly. (Don’t blow off those instructions before the flight given to you by the flight attendant.)
If you’re in a restaurant or movie theater, you need to be able to find two different exit points you can use. Head for the nearest one; but if it’s blocked, you should be able to adjust and switch to a different exit.
He is always telling our kids that it’s fine if you get scared in a situation. But don’t lose your head and start panicking. This is when you’re going to get into a serious problem. As long as you know in advance what to do, you can fall back on that and stay calm and collected while you get out of harm’s way.
Thank a Firefighter for the Work They Do!
Firefighters have a tough job as evidenced by all the work and training that they do. I couldn’t be more proud of my husband.
This year, for Firefighter’s Day, thank a firefighter for all that they do in the community. And spend this time talking to your children about what they can learn from firefighters so they can stay prepared and be safe year-round.