Stopping the Blaze
by Amy Lignor
Yes, the firefighters are at work once again. There are fire breakouts every day, and recently firefighters across America have become stuck in some horrific blazes that could have been stopped before even beginning to burn.
Two major fires are burning in California; one caused by nature and a lightning strike, while another was caused by human error. In the Soberanes, a fire that has thus far taken twenty homes to the ground, was responsible for the death of a bulldozer operator – one of 60 assigned to the fire in Monterey County. California’s other major blaze, the Sand Fire, killed a man this week outside of Los Angeles. Five homes that were part of the Angeles National Forest’s Bear Divide Ranger Station were also brought to the ground by the blaze.
Fire “safety tips” are well-known, yet when people are faced with fire hazards they still tend to get lost when caught up in the daily chores of life. Therefore, it is highly important for one and all to post fire safety tips in their own homes, allowing both children and adults to learn, understand, and stay aware of their surroundings and potential fire dangers.
When it comes to fire prevention in the home, it is important to understand that a fire can rear its ugly head in seconds, giving you and your family barely any time to escape unharmed. This means the most effective way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home is to identify and remove all fire hazards that may be in the residence.
Sixty percent of house fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms. A working alarm system and a fire escape plan is a combination that has regularly saved lives. Calling a family meeting and putting together a plan, then practicing twice a year in order to make sure that all members still remember the steps, is the best possible step when preventing harm.
Make sure smoke alarms are tested once a month. Every level of your home, inside and outside sleeping areas, need to have smoke alarms installed so that all family members are taken care of. Carbon monoxide alarms are not substitutes for smoke alarms, so everyone living in the home should know the difference between the sounds of the smoke alarms versus alarms tailored to “finding” and “reporting” the presence carbon monoxide. If a fire does occur in the home, make sure to get out, stay out and call immediately for help.
Never smoke in bed, and speak with your children regularly about the dangers of fire, matches and lighters and keep them all well out of reach. Turn portable heaters off when you leave the room or go to sleep, and get that escape plan in place. From single family dwellings to high-rise apartments, there needs to be two ways to escape from every room of your home.
Last, but not least, make sure everyone knows where to meet outside in case of fire, and keep in mind that the old, STOP, DROP and ROLL is still the safest “move.”
When it comes to fire in the Great Outdoors, unlike many natural disasters, most wildfires are caused by people. Prevention rests in a person’s hands. When it comes to Mother Nature, meteorologists are unable to forecast wildfire outbreaks, so those living in fire-prone areas should plan ahead and prepare to evacuate with barely any notice.
So…what do you need to remember when it comes to preventing a wildfire from ever sparking?
Although the top rule has been stated millions of times, it is still forgotten a great deal. It is a must to never leave a campfire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire—by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold—before leaving or even sleeping at the campsite.
When the family heads out for a fun camping trip, make sure to use the right fuel (preferably the natural fuel that will occur in your surroundings) to work lanterns, stoves, and heaters. And make sure all lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling. Avoid spilling any flammable liquids you choose to use and always store the fuel away from appliances. Stop with the cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials. You cannot discard these from moving vehicles, or anywhere on park grounds!
However, if you find yourself caught in a wildfire, do not attempt to outrun the blaze. Instead, look for a body of water – a pond, lake or river – in your surroundings to crouch in. If no water is available, look for a cleared area with little to no vegetation, lie low to the ground, and cover your body with wet clothing or soil. Stay low and covered until the fire passes.
Again, the rules may be simple and heard often, but the headlines keep coming and the fires keep blazing. Smokey the Bear was a very real little cub who lost his family in a horrific New Mexico blaze. No matter where you are, make sure you remember his words and learn how to stop the destruction before it starts.
Source: Baret News