|Home Safety |
|Byron Kirkwood |
700 East Shawntel Smith Blvd.
P.O. Box 1376
Muldrow, OK. 74948-1376
Thanks to my friend, Norm, from Sparrow Hawk Village, I was introduced to a new product that I felt might be important for us to personally have on hand, and to offer through B&A Products. It is the Chimfex Chimney Fire Suppressor (extinguisher). As a volunteer fireman we've responded to calls of chimney fires. Of course, this is influenced by the fact that we live in the country and it is commonplace to have a wood-burning stove. The Chimfex is built like a road flare and extinguishes the fire by smothering it with a mixture of gases that rise up into the chimney blocking off the oxygen to the flames.
When Annie and I were talking about what my topic should be for this month's newsletter, the Chimfex led to a discussion about the importance of home safety during times of disasters or emergencies.
During a major disaster or emergency you may not be able to pick up the phone and have normal emergency services respond. This includes medical response units (EMS/EMT), fire protection, and police/sheriff officers. Whether the situation is due to a y2k (Year 2000) related power outage, winter freeze, tornado/hurricane, earthquake, or whatever; it is likely that the needed response won't arrive in a timely manner. Why? If it is a major event, the emergency services are already receiving many calls: hundreds, thousands, or for a major disaster in a populated area (ex: earthquake in LA!), tens of thousands of calls. Or, if the phones aren't working, you may not even be able to call. If the road infrastructure is down, or unusable (ice on roads, earthquakes destroy bridges, traffic jams due to an evacuation, etc), they might not be able to respond, even if everything else was not a problem.
What am I getting at? You still need to be as self-sufficient as possible. In the case of house fires, most start small; as in the example of a chimney fire or kitchen grease fire. If you respond immediately with a fire extinguisher (and know the proper use of it), you have a pretty good chance of stopping the fire from growing, before the fire department might even have time to respond in a normal environment.
So where to begin on home safety? If you are parents of young children, hopefully you've already been through the checklist of things to do around the house to make your home as child-proof as possible: household poisons and chemicals are safely stored and out of reach, electrical outlets that are not being used have the plastic plugs in them. Guns are in gun safes, up high, and "locked" where the trigger can't be pulled, and so forth.
What else is of concern and where do we start? Well, we touched on fire as a potential problem in our introduction to this article, so let's cover it in a little more detail. Do you have several fire extinguishers around your home, apartment, or office? Have they been checked and/or charged lately? If the answers to either one of these is no, start here! An inexpensive fire extinguisher for the home is a box of baking soda. This is one of the best ways to put out a kitchen grease fire.
Also you may want to look at the potential sources that could start a fire and make sure you have minimized the potential for the fire catching and spreading. Obviously, the kitchen stove, fireplace, and gas heaters are strong suspects. Make sure that flammable objects are well clear of the cooking and heating areas.
And if there is a fire, do your smoke detectors work? Have you checked them lately to see if the batteries are in working condition? And, do you have the kind of smoke detectors that work when the power is off (battery operated or with battery backup)? You do have smoke detectors, don't you?
When I'm giving my survival talks, the first thing I recommend everyone do is to take a first aid/CPR course. Most accidents happen around the house, so the knowledge gained through this course, combined with a good first aid kit, should prepare you to handle many situations. Do you have a first aid kit in your house? How about your car? Even an inexpensive first aid kit will provide bandages forcuts and have the ingredients to handle most small accidents. Have you had a first aid course recently? If not, or never--take one. Get your other family members to take the course with you. If it's you thats cut or knocked-out, you want them to know what to do. Encourage your neighbors, coworkers and church members to take a first aid course.
If you are in an area that is prone to earthquakes, do you have bookcases, china cabinets, and such, tied to the walls, so they won't fall over when an earthquake rattles everything. How about simple latches on cupboard doors?
Probably the best thing you can do is just to consider, what you would need to learn and have on hand to prepare if the emergency services couldn't make it to your house. Take a few minutes and look around the house to see what things need to be moved, secured, or whatever would make your home or apartment safer for you and your family.
Sincerely -- Byron
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