Keeping The Essentials Handy For Fire Safety
When you’re looking to improve your emergency preparedness routine, you need to make sure you have resources handy for fire safety. A house fire can happen at any time as a result of an accident, a careless moment, or even unavoidable forces of nature. Prepping a fire safety kit gives you peace of mind and the assurance that you’ll be ready to keep yourself and the members of your household safe if a house fire happens.
In addition, if you live in an area prone to wildfires, you’ll want to make sure that you have a fire safety kit that provides you with the resources you’ll need if a wildfire forces you to evacuate your home. Your fire safety kit can be personally designed to fit the number of people in your household, the location where you live, and the specific fire risks you’re exposed to. In this article, we’ll cover seven essential items that every fire safety kit needs to include. These items will help you respond to both wildfires and house fires.
In the event of a wildfire or house fire, you and the members of your family will need protection from smoke. Even a small fire can produce an overwhelming amount of smoke, which can leave you struggling to breathe and hinder your ability to get to safety. A good mask also filters out airborne dust and debris that might be circulating during a wildfire.
When you need to get to safety quickly during a fire, having your emergency kit handy and stocked with masks can make a huge difference in protecting you and your family from the smoke. Make sure that your family has a clear sense of where your emergency kit is located and that each member of your household can properly use a mask. You can even make wearing a mask a key part of your fire evacuation plan.
Speaking of fire evacuation plans, you need one! Having a fire evacuation plan means knowing the quickest and most effective way to get out of your house from any room. Every member of your family should know your fire evacuation plan – it’s wise to rehearse it at least twice a year, whether or not you live in an area prone to wildfires.
You can hand-draw your home evacuation plan by roughly sketching a floorplan of your house and indicating where the nearest escape route is from each room in the house. Both windows and doors are valid escape routes in the event of a fire. If you have a chance to put on a mask quickly while evacuating your home, that’s ideal. However, prioritize getting out as quickly as possible over putting on a mask. If a fire in your home is producing thick smoke and you’re struggling to breathe but don’t have a mask available, use your shirt to cover your nose and mouth and stay low to the ground.
2. First Aid Supplies
Your fire safety kit won’t be complete without first aid gear. If a member of your household gets injured in a fire, you want to be sure that you have the ability to take care of them. Make sure you specifically have what you need to treat burns in your first aid kit. The best treatment for minor burns starts with cooling the affected area with cool water, then applying a burn-treating lotion like aloe vera gel. After you’ve cooled and treated the burn, wrap the affected area in gauze to prevent it from being exposed to air.
Other items to stock in your emergency kit include antibiotic ointment, non-prescription painkillers, different sized bandages, and treatments for injuries like bug bites, bee stings, cuts, and scrapes. Your fire safety kit can also serve as an all-purpose emergency kit that includes tools and resources you’ll need in any crisis.
3. Emergency Blankets And Ponchos
If a fire forces you to evacuate your home, your emergency kit can provide you with the resources you need to stay warm and dry. Since your kit needs to be as portable as possible to be easy to grab when you need to leave your home quickly, lightweight items are a must. This makes emergency blankets perfect as a last-resort source of warmth. Emergency blankets are extremely light and thin, but they do a great job of keeping your body warm.
The material used to make emergency blankets was initially designed to reflect heat off of space stations to keep them from overheating. However, the material’s heat-reflecting technology works in reverse as well. Emergency blankets, or “space blankets,” as they’re often called, can help your body retain heat by keeping you insulated and reflecting the body heat you might otherwise lose back onto you.
In addition to emergency blankets, you’ll need something to protect you from rain. Ponchos are the perfect option for emergency rain protection. If you need to evacuate your home in the wake of a fire, you run the risk of being exposed to the elements if you’re unprepared. Since ponchos are collapsible and lightweight, they’re easy to fit into an emergency kit, even if you need several ponchos to accommodate your family.
4. A Flashlight (And Batteries)
Another must-have item for your fire emergency kit is a flashlight. A trusty flashlight can serve a wide variety of purposes in the aftermath of a fire. When you stock up your emergency kit, make sure you have multiple sources of light in addition to a flashlight, as well as replacement batteries. Glow sticks are an ideal alternative source of light in case your flashlight dies.
5. A Single-Use Phone Charger
One of the most important steps to take in the aftermath of a fire is calling loved ones to check in with them and confirm that you are safe. This means you need to make sure you have battery life available for your phone if you’re left without power or access to a charger. Packing a pre-charged, single-use phone charger in your emergency kit is a must. Single-use chargers provide enough extra juice to keep your phone going long enough to make emergency calls. Make sure your single-use charger is compatible with the phone you use.
6. Work Gloves
Ideally, if a fire starts in your home, you and your family will be able to get to safety quickly and easily. However, in some circumstances, you may need to help a family member who is struggling to evacuate your home. In addition to wearing an N95 mask to protect yourself from smoke, packing work gloves in your emergency kit helps you stay prepared if you need to make an emergency rescue.
Work gloves protect your hands from sharp or hot objects that you might need to move to get someone out of harm’s way. Your work gloves should be durable enough to withstand heavy-duty wear and tear.
7. Emergency Food And Water
When a house fire or wildfire forces your family to seek shelter outside of your home, you can’t count on having time to pack a bag full of supplies. Your pre-packed emergency kit needs to contain everything your family needs to survive for 72 hours without access to additional resources. This means you’ll need an emergency supply of food and water.
The food and water in your emergency kit need to be non-perishable and easy to transport. Non-perishable food and water have an extremely long shelf life, meaning you can store it in your emergency kit on standby for years until it is needed in an emergency.
When you’re packing your emergency kit, stock it with food that will not go bad and will provide you with a high amount of calories and nutrition. The ideal option for emergency food is some form of meal replacement bar. These bars have a long shelf life and contain enough calories to sustain you for a long time when a fire or other emergency cuts off your access to other food.
Water bottles can go bad after a while, losing their integrity and seeping dangerous chemicals into the water inside. This means you need a non-perishable source of water for your emergency kit as well. Instead of water bottles, stock your emergency kit with non-perishable water pouches. Water pouches last up to five years and are easier to store in your emergency kit than bottled water.
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