The entire Dallas-Fort Worth area is holding its breath tonight as wildfires that started in the western part of the state continue to head east, thanks to weather that is drier than normal combined with gusty winds. Towns on the west side of Fort Worth like Strawn and Bunger have been evacuated. All told, nearly 150,000 acres have burned in the area. Dozens of homes have been ruined and hundreds upon hundreds more are currently in danger.
Sadly, there is nothing that the families of Texas can do aside from await word from the authorities. But if there’s any good in this tragic situation it’s that such fires remind us all about the importance of fire safety. So, I’ve compiled a list of 5 fire safety tips you might want to make sure your family is following.
The following tips come from the site SafetyAtHome:
1. Do a Smoke Alarm Audit: It’s important to make certain your smoke detectors are working. We check ours every year around tax time. Since smoke rises, your detectors should be high on the wall, or better yet, mounted on the ceiling. Those on a wall should be 4 to 12 inches from the ceiling and those on the ceiling should be at least 4 inches from the wall. Make certain to check your batteries often. Time changes are good opportunities / reminders to do just that.
2. Make Extinguishers Handy: We keep one in the garage right outside the door, but I dare say we need at least one more. It’s important to check the gauge on the extinguisher to determine whether or not the unit needs to be replaced or recharged. Always remember that fire extinguishers are not designed to fight large fires. Should you be confronted with one, the best thing to do is evacuate as quickly as possible. But if there is a small fire you can safely engage, use your extinguisher to insure it doesn’t turn into a big one.
3. Talk Prevention with Your Kids: My kids are obsessed whenever Daddy builds a fire in the fireplace. That’s because fires are a natural source of curiosity to kids, which is all the more reason why it’s imperative that you explain the dangers of fire the your small ones in no uncertain terms. SafetyAtHome offers these fantastic talking points:
- Never play with matches, lighters or candles.
- Never play with electrical cords and never put anything in a socket.
- Blankets or clothes should never be thrown on top of lamps.
- Don’t turn up a heater without a grown-up’s permission.
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll.
4. Look at Your Home From Your Child’s Perspective: It’s a good idea to get down on your hands and knees and see what you can spy as a potential fire hazard from the perspective of your child. Things such as dangling chords, inviting heaters or other appliances should be kept out of the reach of your children.
5. Avoid Overloading Sockets and Cords: Check every outlet of your home and make sure that you’ve not loaded one up. Prime suspects are the one that belongs to the TV, computer or stereo. Consider, also, having a professional installing more outlets should your family need them. Also, be on the lookout for any extension cords which may be tacked under a carpet. This is a huge no-no.
While the entire nation keeps Texas in its thoughts and prayers, it’s time for you to also look after your own family. Make sure your home is as fire safe as possible.