The following post is part of our year-long Get It Done series where we tackle things we often put off. Today, Guest Blogger Susan tackles fire safety.
When I was in the sixth grade our barn burned. That may not sound like much if you are picturing a barn the size of a garden shed. This was a farmer’s barn, full mow and about 300 feet long. The fire was started by lighting and there was no way it could have been prevented.
The local fire departments (yes, that plural, there were 3 of them there) managed to keep the 2 houses on the farm from burning. But the barn, the few animals we had, all the equipment and tools in it and my pink bike were gone. While my family way okay, that kind of experience changes a person. As an adult, I have been very conscious about fire safety.
As October draws to a close, so does Fire Safety Month. For this “Get It Done” installment I asked myself to make sure my home met the recommendations for smoke alarms and to see if there was anything else I could do to ensure my safety. I started with the National Fire Protection Association web page.
There I found some great information that told me I needed to have a working smoke alarm near the bedrooms. My ranch style house already had one in the ceiling of the hall, about 3 feet from all 3 bedrooms. I checked the battery and all is good to go. I do not know how old the alarm is. The recommendation is that they should be replaced every 10 years. I feel pretty confident that it is newer than that. Perhaps next year I will replace it just to be on the safe side. I also already had two alarms in the basement. I replaced the batteries in them as well. Here again, they look pretty new and so I am going to let it go another year.
The NFPA recommends testing smoke detectors once a month. I need to correlate that with something else because, who are we kidding, I something cannot remember what is supposed to happen daily let alone monthly. I do remember to give my dog his heartworm meds on the first of the month. I think I can press the test button when I do that.
I also bought two fire extinguishers. One for the kitchen and one for the basement. I went through a training a long time ago on how to use one and feel that I can handle using it if I needed to. The most important thing to remember is that the primary purpose is not to save your home, kitchen or stuff. It is to get you and your family out of the building.
I live alone so I do not need to share my “plan” for getting out of the house should there be a fire with anyone but I do have one. I looked around my bedroom to see what I could stand on to get out of the window if I needed to. I also made sure I have a working flashlight in all the bedrooms of my house. Sexy, eh?
There are still a few things I need to find out. The first is what services my local fire department offers. Some communities will install smoke alarms for free, some have fire extinguisher trainings. I also need to know what to do with my old extinguisher. Anybody happen to know where I should take it?
Even though October is nearly over, I hope you take a few minutes to test your smoke alarms. I will fully admit it that is it not a fun job nor is there ever a good time to do it. But, of all the things you do to keep yourself and your family safe, this is a really important one.