I am going to provide you with a link to the National Fire Protection Association’s website, where they have an overwhelming array of fire safety tip sheets available in multiple languages. The tips are include common fire sources, safety and evacuation plans for specific living situations, and maintaining your fire detection and suppression equipment. The Cat and I were very happy to see they have a pet safety sheet as well. If worst comes to worst, God forbid, my plan is to throw the Cat in her carrier, pick her up, and run like heck down the stairs or jump as gently as possible from my second-story window.
While I am in no way a qualified fire safety expert, please allow me to share with you the things that are forefront of my mind after managing to survive two decades in this world and receiving much very good advice from my parents. Parents credited where applicable:
- Be aware of your surroundings. Where are your exits? What are your escape plans? Who depends on you to get them out? (Note: this tip applies to just about any potential emergency)
- Remain calm. I must admit, I need improvement in this area.
- When cooking, turn the light on the stove hood on, so even if you absent-mindedly leave the kitchen and flip off the main switch, you will be reminded that something could catch on fire. (Thanks, Mom!)
- If you have a gas range, make absolutely sure that the gas has lit and is not pouring out into your kitchen. If you realize a gas-cloud is now filling your kitchen, turn off the stove, open the windows, and do not flip a light switch or use anything else electronic, so as to prevent a spark and, therefore, an explosion. (Thanks, Dad!)
- Keep the stove and oven clean, and make sure there is no food stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Remember, kitchen curtains are a fire hazard. While extinguishing a fire confined to a pot or pan in the sink would seem to be a good idea, be sure not to fling the burning object towards the sink from across the kitchen. (I’m not going to tell you who I know who ruined their college apartment curtains that way, but I swear it was not me. )
The NFPA also has a YouTube channel featuring fire safety tips and accounts of historic fire disasters in America. They have a segment on the Station tragedy. The channel Tyco Fire Products also has an excellent multi-episode series of interviews with survivors.
For those of you familiar with the Station, or who have gone on to read Killer Show, you know that a cameraman inside the club caught the start of the fire on tape before fleeing and filming from the parking lot. This video is available online, but I will let you do the searching for it. It is harrowing stuff. Additionally, while I believe in access to information and preserving history, this video crosses the line for me. The cameraman and his station were sued by the survivors and victims’ families for allegedly blocking the exit of the club to get a good shot before bolting out the door. What makes the video shameful and shameless for me is that the cameraman stands in front of the doorway, where dozens of people are piled up and suffocating, and does nothing. I would rather not have such material directly associated with my blog.
Stay safe, my friends,