45 house fires are reported every hour somewhere in the U.S
Are you prepared?
After hurricane Katrina, Wilma and others, people in the United
States and around the world witnessed the realities and shock of
natural disasters, loss of life, loss of homes and loss of
Most natural disasters are unavoidable and we just need to learn
to live with them and deal with the terrible consequences that
can affect any of us. Dreams are shattered, possessions are
forever lost and it's difficult for victims of hurricanes,
floods and fire to recover from such traumatic events, not only
financially but emotionally as well.
If you live in an area that's prone to natural disasters, you
should have a simple and practical emergency plan outlining how
to evacuate and deal with your losses. Preparedness is common
sense, but unfortunately, it's not common practice. Preparedness
can substantially minimize your losses.
However, not all disasters are of hurricane-size proportions.
Even a partial house fire can cause grief, financial ruin, and
loss of both life and material possessions.
If you have people who smoke inside your house, you increase
your risk of a potential fire. Always smoke outside. It's not
only healthier for those in your household who do not smoke, but
Did you know that in the U.S. in 2003, someone died in a fire
every 134 minutes and injured every 29 minutes and that 4 out of
5 fire deaths usually happen in the home? In the same year, more
than 3,145 people died in house fires and in 2004, public fire
departments responded to 1,550,500 fires in the U.S.
How people die
Most deaths occur as a result from toxic gases and smoke. That's
what typically kills people in a house fire. In addition, it
happens fast. Your lungs aren't very big and even a small amount
of toxic gases into them can cause you to pass out and
consequently breathe in more toxic gases which leads to death.
Is your home safe?
Have you looked around your home to see what could potentially
cause a fire while you sleep and do you have both a fire
extinguisher and functioning smoke detectors installed? It's
recommended that you have at least one fire extinguisher near
your stove since cooking seems to be the primary cause of house
Drinking contributes to about 40% of most house fires and
numerous deaths. Intoxicated persons may be unable to notice or
extinguish a fire. They may not be able to move fast enough out
of a dangerous fire situation. A combination of drinking and
smoking inside the home can contribute to house fires.
Additionally, most house fires occur in the winter and typically
victimize children and older adults. These two groups of people
tend to have difficulties removing themselves from a blaze or
toxic fumes. Each year, a large number of pets are also victims
of house fires.
If you use candles in your home, never leave them unattended for
long periods and be sure to put them out before leaving your
home or retiring to bed. Never place lit candles near
combustible materials such as curtains, drapes, couches, sofas,
beds, open drawers, papers, etc. Sometimes a house pet can
accidentally get a lit candle knocked over and cause a fire.
Also completely put out any cigarette butts, especially if you
have small children in your home. They can grab them and
reactively throw them away risking catching your couch or
curtains on fire!
Fire safety is extremely important. While no one is 100% immune
to natural disasters or accidental fires, you should take
precautions to avoid and deal with such events when they do
happen. Protecting items of sentimental value For example, how
do you store and safeguard your precious photographs, videos and
other personal valuables? Could you recover or salvage them if
your residence were to catch on fire?
A picture is worth 1,000 words and memories are priceless
Many people will store their photos into their PC hard disks,
CDs and DVDs. What if your prints, computers and backup DVDs
were to be destroyed in a house fire, flood or even an
earthquake? What would happen to those precious items and
lifelong memories that mean so much to you? I recommend that you
store your digital photos and videos online and have backup
copies of your family photo safely stored somewhere else in a
safety deposit box or online storage service.
Cell phone pictures and videos
If you're one of the millions of people who take pictures and
record videos via your cell phone, you may want to consider how
you will preserve them for many years to come. In the event your
home is destroyed by flood or fire, you will still have access
to your video clips and personal photos. You can often rebuild a
home, purchase a new PC, furniture, cell phones, etc. and start
over. However, your precious photos and video memories can be
lost forever unless you arrange to protect them against
accidents and disasters.