As you know, we were on our mini-vacation at camp all last week. Though FireDad wasn’t with us every single day due to his work shifts, he was with us in how he helped make our cottage fire safe. See?
Which leads me to ask the question: Are you ready in the event of a fire emergency on your vacation?
It’s not something people often consider. You pack the sunscreen, extra bug spray and sand toys. You make a menu to save money and a plan for rainy days (aquarium here we come!). You plan your budget carefully, leaving some extra wiggle room for cheesy shirts and squeaking sharks. You are careful to change the oil in your car, put air in the tires or, if you’re flying, check and re-check your flight reservation. Once you arrive at your rental home, condo or hotel room, you quickly toss the suitcases and make your way to the lake, the beach or the pool.
But that’s not what you should do first!
If you’re staying in a hotel:
- First look for the evacuation route, usually posted on the back of your door. Walk the route together, making notes regarding landmarks (two doors past the elevator) as smoke will make it hard to see.
- Make a meeting plan for outside the building so you can all find each other if you are separated upon evacuation.
- Remind your children (and yourself) to feel the door before opening it in the event you hear the fire alarm. If it is hot, do not open your door. If it is hot, fill the tub and soak towels and sheets. Then place them at the base of the door(s) to create a seal so that smoke does not enter. Call 911 to let them know you are trapped in your room.
- If the first happens to start in your room, exit immediately. Don’t forget to close the door behind you so as to keep the fire contained. Pull the fire alarm on your way out of the building and call 911 ASAP.
If you are staying in a rental home or a cabin/cottage:
- Upon arrival, check to see if smoke alarms are installed on every level of the home. If not, call to ask if one can be delivered.
- Discuss an escape route and evacuation plan if one is not posted in the home. Multi-level beach homes often have outdoor decks with staircases to use in case of an inner fire.
- Locate fire extinguishers. In fact, it is in your best interest to have one in your vehicle at all times anyway. If a fire extinguisher is not present in your rental home, take it out of your vehicle and put it in the kitchen in an easy to reach location. (Remember to put it back in your vehicle when traveling and/or before you leave unless you want to gift the home with your extinguisher!)
If you’re camping oudoors:
- Don’t think that you’re immune from fire safety issues, even if you aren’t specifically having a pit fire. Others around you may have fires.
- Teach children fire safety around fire pits. Draw a line around the pit which is their “Stop” line.
- Teach children how to stop, drop and roll. (Not blog.)
- Keep an extinguisher in your vehicle or, if your vehicle is no where near your campsite, in your tent or gear.
The truth is that hotels, vacation homes and campsites are not immune to the tragedy of fire. Always make sure to blow out candles, properly extinguish campfires and cook carefully. Thinking of these things before you rush down to show your children the waves can help save your lives. Common sense goes a long way but preparation in this way can help prevent a fire emergency or save your life in the event one occurs.
Be safe during the rest of your summer. We’ll be leaving for the beach in mid-August. We’ll be sure to look for smoke detectors on all three levels of our swanky rental house, find the smoke detector and talk about fire before we rush down to show TheBrothers the beach. Then, of course, as check-in as at three o’clock in the afternoon, we’ll have to head back to the house to make supper. Do you know what happens when you take a child to the beach for all of ten minutes? This:
But that loud, screaming child is a good thing. It means that the biggest tragedy we’re dealing with is a tantrum. And not a fire.