Be Safe!

We had a little adventure today. While my water was boiling for tea I went down and lay a fire in the wood stove. The first thing you know, the basement was full of smoke! I cut off the oxygen to the fire by closing the door and the vent. Then we dug the wood and ashes out of the firebox and threw it all in the yard. Then we called the chimney sweep.

Community service announcement: if you burn wood for heat, please be aware of the possibility of chimney fires. They roar like a jet plane and the wall gets hot. You can lose a house to a chimney fire. In order to prevent them, have someone do regular chimney cleaning. (I know a lot of you know that, but there might be one…) if you suspect you have a chimney fire, get all people and pets out of the house and call the fire department in that order.

After airing the place out (I still smell like I have a three pack a day habit!) I started to wonder about fire safety for the visually impaired. Web articles told me about a five-year old who led her blind grandmother out of a fire, a legally blind lady who rode her scooter out of a fire and a blind person who was saved by a dog.

No five-year old, no scooter and the Beastie Baby would be hiding behind the furniture so I guess it would be up to me.

The Fire Safety and Disability Guide says it is harder for the disabled to escape fires. They also said disability makes it harder to take preventative action. Duh. After stating the obvious, the guide states some more stuff that should also be obvious but bears repeating. Things like being careful around heat sources and both having and practicing an escape plan. Remember to also have plan B. If you have a fire, “get low and go!”

Smoke alarms need to be in working order, too. There are high decibel alarms available that pause between alarm cycles so the visually impaired can listen for the location of the fire and/or for instructions from a rescuer.

After getting to safety, let people know where you are. Secure your service animal. Even the best trained animal can become lost in the chaos of a fire.

AgingCare also published an article called Fire Safety for Elders with Special Needs. That article suggests tactile markers be placed near the floor so the escape route is marked as you crawl under the smoke. Good idea; I think.

We got off easily. For the price of a cleaning, we seem to be in good shape. Please be aware of fire hazards and take precautions. Make preparations just in case. If you need the battery changed in a smoke detector or an escape route marked and cannot do it yourself? Call the fire department. There should be someone able to do it for you. Take care!

Next: Kicking and Screaming

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