Loyal viewers of the popular This Is Us television show reached for their tissues after watching their beloved character Jack Pearson perish due to smoke inhalation from a house fire. While the NBC drama is obviously fiction, the realities of home fires are very real. One spark is all it takes for a family to lose their home, or even worse, one of their own. The show’s plotline, however, does give us an opportunity to brush up on proper fire safety!
Be Cautious with Appliances
As viewers discovered in a recent episode, the fire started from an old crockpot with a faulty switch. Although crockpots have been around for a while, technology updates with features like auto shut-off have improved home safety in newer models. If you have an older model that “you might have to fiddle with the switch a little,” it’s time to ditch it for an upgrade. It’s also smart to unplug any countertop appliances when you aren’t using them, unlike what’s seen in the show. Before using, check for any frayed or exposed wires, and keep the device away from any flammable objects like dish cloths or cooking oil.
Properly Maintain Smoke Detectors
While the crockpot was the ultimate culprit in setting the Pearson’s home on fire, the smoke detectors failed to warn the family when the fire started. A flashback from an earlier episode revealed that Jack and Rebecca repeatedly forgot to buy new batteries for their smoke alarm. To keep your smoke detectors in proper order, check them once a month and replace the batteries once a year. To ensure that you’ll hear the alarm and be able to respond quickly, place them outside each bedroom area and on every level of your home. It is also wise to replace your detectors with upgraded versions every ten years as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association.
Know What to Do
Even if you take every precaution to prevent a fire, you should always have an escape plan in place in case the worst should happen. Create a plan that has at least two ways to evacuate from every room of your home as well as a meeting spot outside, go over it with every family member living in your home, and practice, practice, practice! The biggest mistake Jack made after getting his family out of their burning house was to go back in to save their dog Louie along with some of their most cherished family possessions. The extra time he spent in the fire ultimately led to the smoke inhalation that contributed to his heart attack in the hospital. The National Fire Protection Association advises people to always stay outside until professional help arrives.