Thank you First Alert for sponsoring this post. October is Fire Prevention Month – practice safety in numbers to ensure your family’s super prepared too!
Our Family’s Home Fire
I was just shy of turning five (Hadley’s age exactly actually) when my family’s home caught fire. It’s one of my earliest memories, and it always shocks my parents that I can recall so much about it.
I remember my mom and dad frantically grabbing my sister and I out of our beds in our shared room, running down a smoky hallway, and outside into the cold December night. I remember a neighbor holding my tiny little brother in her arms, and I can still see the fire trucks screaming up to our house.
Finally, I remember crying hysterically when I saw my dad go back into our house once the fire was out to grab a few things we would need before heading to my grandmother’s home a few miles away. I was so scared and begged him not to go in because I didn’t understand at all what was going on.
The cause of the fire was electrical and happened in a kitchen wall. My mom smelled the smoke first, thought she was crazy and that maybe she was dreaming, but then thought “NO, I SMELL SMOKE.” One look into the hallway confirmed our home was on fire, and the smoke detectors went off a few seconds later (though more delayed than they should have been).
Everyone was fine (including our three cats that the firemen helped get out) and we were only displaced for about six weeks. The fire was obviously no fault of my parents; It just happened, which is so scary. My family still talks about this experience to this day.
My College Apartment Complex Fire
This house fire, coupled with a fire in our tiny apartment complex my senior year of college, has taught me that fires happen quickly, without warning, and become terrifying situations quickly.
I’ll never forget the 4 a.m. shrill scream from one of my roommates yelling “Erica, wake up now! The apartment is on fire!” and meeting my other two half-asleep roommates in the living room before opening our door and seeing a rapidly-growing fire right outside of our front door.
We ran down to the parking lot (one of my roommates still has a scar on her leg from falling down the burning stairs), and then I stupidly bolted to the third floor to bang on doors for people to get out (I blame it on major adrenaline).
I remember so vividly racing to the third floor and feeling paralyzed because everything was pitch black. It happened in seconds. I couldn’t see a thing and felt helpless. Thankfully the fire department came speeding around the corner and took control of the situation, but wow… that was one of our more wild, memorable nights of college for sure!
Creating a Family Fire Escape Plan
I have spent many, many, many night lying awake thinking through the “what ifs” if there’s a fire, a tornado, an intruder, etc. while Jamie has been away. In our Kansas home, I had a game plan for all of this. He was away more than he was home, so the responsibility felt heavy at times that if something happens, I am in charge of two little humans, my dog, and myself. How will I handle it? What is our plan? How will I keep everyone safe?
I remember one of our very first purchases in our Kansas home was a carbon monoxide detector because I was so paranoid about this silent, deadly gas after reading about two recent tragedies from my hometown in Alabama and from the city we’d lived in in Tennessee.
Now that we are in our new home and Jamie isn’t gone as often, we didn’t discuss a fire game plan until a couple of weeks ago (regretfully because we should have done this much sooner). We talked about a number of “what if” scenarios, discussed escape routes, made sure we were comfortable easily opening windows in the girls’ rooms, and now have a fire plan.
We also didn’t realize that our home didn’t have carbon monoxide detectors, so Jamie recently switched out the smoke alarms that came with our new home with these from First Alert.
Did you know that Carbon monoxide is the #1 cause of accidental death? I believe this because it’s invisible, tasteless, and odorless that can be produced from any fuel burning device. CO alarms detect this poisonous gas and provide early warning. What’s even more alarming is that 40% of homes in the U.S. do not have carbon monoxide detectors.
Do you have smoke alarms in your home, and if so, are they working properly? Would they signal you early enough to protect your family and get out of your home? Over 100 million homes in the U.S. are not protected with smoke alarms. 3 out of 5 fire deaths resulted from fires in a home that did not have working smoke detectors.
October is Fire Prevention Month, and I encourage you to have a quick conversation with your family members as soon as possible, starting with these questions:
- Do we have smoke alarms, do they have batteries, and are they working properly?
- Should we install more smoke alarms?
- Do we have carbon monoxide alarms, and are they working?
- Do we have a fire extinguisher, and if so, where is it?
- If the smoke alarms go off, what is our plan for getting everyone out?
Here’s a quick 30-second video for discussing fire safety with your family (especially children).
First Alert has an incredibly helpful page on their website with lots of quick stats and helpful tips regarding fire and carbon monoxide safety. It’ll pull up in a separate window, so give it a quick glance by heading to Fire Alert‘s website.
Does your family have a fire escape plan? Do you have carbon monoxide detectors? Have you ever given any of this a thought before? I’m not sure I would have if I didn’t have a couple of very scary experiences under my belt already.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to three little girls (ages 7, 4, and 1) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo