Keeping Your House Safe from Fire
Learn what is required to make your home unique and a place for your family to grow and be nurtured and be safe.
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Nothing is worse then reading about a tragic fire that has claimed the lives of a child. Recently near my hometown, a family was tragically lost due to a Christmas tree falling on an unattended candle. It was later revealed that the house had no smoke detectors installed. All I can do is shake my head and hope that out of this tragedy someone has learned to take their family safety into their own hands and make sure that their house has several smoke detectors installed.
Right about now your saying to yourself, why is Matt talking about this subject? Isn't he supposed to be writing about decorating? Well let me just reply to that by saying that Shari and I consider ourselves teachers, and yes our show, Room by Room, is primarily about decorating, but it is also about your home. What is required to make your home unique and a place for your family to grow and be nurtured? And most of all safe. So my job is to make sure that you folks are aware of some of the things in your house that can keep your family safe.
I was fortunate the other day to be tooling down an aisle at one of my favorite home center stores, something I seem to do almost daily. Coming toward me were two firefighters and I knew this because they had on their uniforms (Quick, aren't I?). We chatted about projects that they were working on in their own homes. Our talks turned to fire safety and since their job was emergency rescue they both had a couple of suggestions for all of us to consider.
Your house numbers. In an emergency, can a rescue company or fire truck find your address easily. Is it out in the open and can be seen from the street? They told me about the many homes that they are called to that don't have numbers, at all! And if they do they are usually small and worst yet covered by overgrown bushes. They suggested, large numerals with contrasting colors. To many of the address signs they see blend into the siding of the building. They even stated that scripted numerals are very hard to see especially at night.
When I got home I checked out my own house, the only address marker I had was on my mailbox, and at night it was almost invisible. So I ran back out to the Home Center and purchased large reflective numbers to install on the box and ordered a yard marker that sits next to the house with a spotlight hitting it. (if anything, pizza guys will be able to find me a lot easier). The two fire fighters, Lts. Scott Artko and Ron Prebis of the Olmsted, Ohio, fire department, (I had to plug these guys, they are true hero's in my book) told me that some communities require a green sign with large white reflective numbers on the sign. Sounds like a winner to me.
Scott and Ron couldn't stress enough about using smoke detectors and making sure that the batteries are changed frequently. At my home every time I turn the clocks forward or back, for daylight savings time, I replace the batteries. Also make sure that you have enough smoke detectors for your home. One is not enough. Every floor if not every room should have one. There are many on the market to choose from. If you have any questions, contact you local fire department for more information.
One last item they told me about was a lock box for your door, the same type of box the real estate agents use for showing houses. In this case though, only the local fire department and emergency medical services have the key. This way if an emergency occurs in your home and you're not home or even unable to answer the door, they can gain access to your house without possible doing damage to your front door. I like that for two reasons. First I don't want any hesitation if they need to get into my house, I want them to have instant access, for my family's sake, and second, have you priced out a new door lately? Holy smoke, no pun attended.
So sit down tonight and draw out a safety plan that includes smoke detectors and lock boxes and throw in a couple of fire extinguishers for good measure. Do it for yourself and your family. Let's not lose anyone because we haven't taken a little time for safety's sake.
(Matt Fox writes this column with Shari Hiller. They also co-host the Home & Garden Television show Room By Room.)
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