Home Fire Safety: Home Safety Week {giveaway}

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{See all the posts on Home Safety Week.}

Did you run by the dollar store yesterday and stock up on your first aid kit and supplies?

Seriously y’all.  You’ll be embarrassed at how little time it takes to knock out Day 3, versus how long you’ve put it off.

I’ve had a few people mention that they don’t really have threats of natural disasters where they live, so putting together a preparedness kit was sort of unnecessary.  Basically, I’m jealous.

That being said, today’s topic is the one that leaves me the most speechless and somber.

Fires are real.  They happen.  No one is immune.  Not even if you live in the UK or Ohio or some other paradise, free from Mother Nature’s tantrums.

Fires do not discriminate.  Yes, it can absolutely happen to you.  No more ostriches.

Did you know that there is a home fire every 3 minutes in America?

And did you know that in 2 out of every 3 FATAL fires there were actually smoke detectors in the home…but the batteries were dead or missing????

People are gone, families are grieving…because no one checked the batteries.  They had the tools they needed, but didn’t maintain them.  False sense of security.  It would have taken them less than 5 minutes to check.

Did you know that there is a huge spike in fires and carbon monoxide poisoning after a power outage?

Andy travels fairly regularly for work.  One night, our smoke detectors started going off (for no reason…because they are crazy and possessed)…afterwards, I laid awake in bed thinking about what I would do if there was a fire and had to get all four of my very young children (including one with special needs) out of the house by myself.  I probably don’t have to tell you that I didn’t get much sleep that night realizing that in a two story home, I needed a plan.  And a ladder.

I can’t tell you what the laws are for other states, but in California, as of July 1, 2011, it is legally required that all single family dwellings that have fossil fuel burning appliances and/or an attached garage, have a carbon monoxide detector.

I will tell you that I don’t care what the law is in your state (or country), you better get one.  Yes, I’m being bossy.  Go.  Now. 

Can I tell you the story of Cheryl Burt?  Cheryl tragically lost two out of three of her sons to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Sweet Nick had just turned 4 years old, 8 days before his death.  Little Zach was just shy of 16 months old.

The entire family was sick, with what Cheryl thought was a horrible case of the flu.

“But the carbon monoxide made me too weak to lift him or soothe him. Instead, I hung onto his crib rails, trying to keep myself standing, trying to keep from passing out, and I prayed that he would go back to sleep. I listened to his labored breath, but was unable to comprehend the danger my baby was in, unable to realize he that was dying.”

To make the story so much worse…worse only because we can all relate…we all do it…in fact, I did it for years in regards to emergency preparedness as a whole…

“In fact, just a few weeks before this incident happened, I was shopping for the holidays with a friend, and we talked about buying alarms. I opted to buy my son another toy truck instead. Now I have the truck, but I don’t have my son.”

Isn’t that really what I’ve been doing this entire time?  Thinking about doing what I need to do for my family?  Knowing I need to.  But just not getting around to it.  Not making it a priority.  Not willing to spend the money on boring stuff like first aid kits and smoke detectors, but buying glittery princess dresses and Lego kits?

That’s a real story, you guys.  Not a made up one to scare you into buying stuff.  Not a dramatic script out of Hollywood.

In fact, can I tell you why that story gave me the goosebumps and made me instantly want to vomit?  (Besides the obvious, of course.)

We own a carbon monoxide detector.

That lived in a drawer in the bathroom cupboard for years.

There is a little button on the front of it that my kids (particularly when they were crawling) would always push and make it screech.  Plus, it was big and bulky and got in the way of me plugging in the vacuum.

I could be Cheryl Burt.  I could be telling you that I was too busy being worried about my stupid carpets…believing we would be fine…it wouldn’t happen to us….than I was worried enough to actually USE the tools we already owned.

Sobering, right?

But SO important.  I know it’s a downer to read…I could have just talked in generalities about fire safety.  That you need to check your batteries.  Make sure you have one in every bedroom.  But you’ve heard it all.  You know.

Blah, blah, blah.

Stop, drop and roll.

Have an escape route.

Blah, blah, blah.

It becomes white noise.  We’ve heard it all since we were kids in grade school.  We KNOW.  But do we DO?

Now do you see why this entire series is so important?  Now do you understand why I’m being so annoying and posting all this “boring” stuff every day this week?  Because it isn’t about being neurotic or paranoid.  It’s about being a mom.

Another side to the fire safety coin?

Firefighters fight fires differently when they know that people are still inside the home.  Certainly, it’s a much more dangerous job when they must go into a burning building and find a person.

By putting smoke alarms (that are working!!!) in every room, you not only increase the chances of saving your own family members by getting them outside…you also potentially save the life of a firefighter by allowing them to not have to run into your burning home.

GOOSEBUMPS.  This is HUGE people.  Huge.  I never realized that my negligence could not only cost the lives of my family…but also of someone else’s family.

I’m at a loss for the words needed to express the gravity of the importance of today’s topic.

Kidde has created the Be a Hero, Save a Hero campaign.  Take the pledge to be fire safe and they will donate $1 to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Help the Good Guys.

Please consider sharing this with your family and friends.  Encourage them to be fire safe for the sake of their families…for the sake of our firefighters…and add another dollar to the donation pot.  (Love it when it all works together so beautifully for Good like this.)

In the meantime, don’t just take the pledge from the comfort of your computer chair…actually get up and do it too, okay?

Take stock of your home and get what you need.  Today.  Kidde has a full line of productsavailable on Amazon.  Free shipping.  Have it in two days if you have Prime.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Chat with your kids about fire safety.  For the younger set, Kidde created this great printable that will help guide your conversation:

Escape Tearpad Kids 2012-PRINT-1

And on the backside is a graph that will get you mapping out an escape route:

Escape Tearpad Kids 2012-PRINT-2

{You can print the sheets HERE.}

Talk to your kids about a meeting place.

Remind them to NEVER hide during a fire.

Consider visiting the local fire station so they can get over any fears they might have.

SET A REMINDER IN YOUR PHONE TO CHECK EVERY SMOKE DETECTOR IN YOUR HOME.  Do it NOW.  Like, seriously.  Right now.  I know your phone is sitting right next to you.  Take the 12 seconds to plop it in there.  Set it as a recurring event.  Not even kidding.  NOW.  My eyebrow is raised.  Picture my threatening Mom Face.

And please, please, please take the steps needed to get your home fire safe.


To help get one of you there, Kidde has generously offered one lucky reader a complete home fire safety kit!

The kit includes:

That’s over a $300 value.  All of the products are from the Worry Free line which use sealed lithium batteries guaranteed to last 10 years. (but do still check them!)

Giveaway open until Tuesday, June 25th.


*Disclosure: I contacted Kidde about collaborating with me on the Home Safety Week series.  They provided my family with the kit described above, as well as provided a duplicate for giving away to one reader.  I also used amazon affiliate links.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

Latest posts by jeannett (see all)


  1. 1

    This one. This one scares me. Thanks for the info.
    Anne @ anne b. good´s last blog post ..Our Mother / Daughter / Doll Date

  2. 2

    This is the stuff that keeps me up at night. My boys are right down the hall but if we did have an earthquake which causes a fire what the heck would we do? Would we get to them in time? Hopefully the safety nets we have put in place will help during a time when it can be utter panic.

  3. 3

    I have a close friend who died about ten years ago from carbon monoxide, so hubs and I have been really paranoid ever since. Luckily, we have CB and smoke detectors in every room and an extra one behind every gas producing appliance in our house.
    Good peace of mind….although I hate that the kids rooms are all the way on the other side of my house – for some reason that aspect still freaks me out in case of a fire!
    Kirsten´s last blog post ..I blinked

  4. 4

    Thank you for sharing Cheryl’s story. I know her through work, and I just can’t imagine the grief. Her story is powerful. It’s been years since I’ve heard her story, and it’s a sobering reminder of how careful we all need to be.
    Shawna´s last blog post ..School’s Out for Summer!

  5. 5

    So we had our dining room light switch pop last summer. I tiny ball of fire blew out of it. FIRE. The wires and the caps melted. I think we almost had a major fire. Thank goodness we caught it. After our close call had past, we purchased a long over due fire extinguisher, and 2 more smoke alarms. (we had 2) Then we had a practice fire drill with our guy at the time who was 4. Have you ever done this with your child? We had not, Do they know what to do if there was a fire? Ours did not. He got very upset and scared. We practiced how he will know it will be safe to get out of his room, what he can do if his door is blocked. How to practice opening his window from HIS room because if we cant get his door he will have to open it to climb out. Talked about where he will go once he gets out. (Next door neighbor) He was soooo upset. I feel we scared him. He cried I tried not to. How do you tell them they are safe, that nothings going to happen, but help them be prepared with out scaring?? On the plus side when the fireman visited his preschool this year, he was the ROCKSTAR with all the answers about safety.
    Ceri´s last blog post ..Baby Shower Cake – “A Star Is Born”

  6. 6

    Yikes. I do NOT like reading all of this. Would much prefer to pretend I do not need to worry about any of it.

    The irony? We lost my house when I was in kindergarten. The house caught on fire from a kerosene heater and the whole thing burned to the ground, while me and my three siblings and my parents watched from outside. It was Dec 7- just before Christmas. We were all in the house when it happened, and all got out safely.

    We had a smoke alarm, but it went off whenever you burned toast or made popcorn or anything. So my brothers (who were awake) just ignored it, as usual. I think my sister and I were used to sleeping through it, so that’s what we did.

    We have a smoke alarm on our desk right now, with batteries beside it. On the to-do list for this weekend!! Thank you for writing about this important topic.

    Here’s where I wrote about our fire:
    Katherine´s last blog post ..Brain Dump

  7. 7

    Oh my goodness, the comment about having the toys but not the kids…..so powerful.

  8. 8

    When I was about 4, the cord from my electric blanket caught on fire. Luckily, my brother woke up my parents, who got me out of bed and to safety. My dad’s best friend was a fireman, and he would talk to us about safety constantly. Always a good reminder.

    We installed carbon monoxide detectors in our home when we bought last year; one of the first things we did. Plus, we change the batteries in the fall and the spring and have a timer on our family calendar to remind us. We have a fire extinguisher by our bedside, but need another one for the kitchen. Our daughter, who is 4, knows to run outside. Since she sleeps with us, we haven’t developed a plan for getting out of the house from her bedroom.

    As usual, a timely reminder…

  9. 9
    Courtney says:

    ack, sorry, didn’t mean to sound obnoxious about natural disasters when i commented on your fist post about this. i blushed and laughed at the Ohio paradise comment… we have dangers here too and i’m just being lazy. fire is very real everywhere and natural disasters can happen anywhere; they are just different from region to region. thanks for the kick in the pants and i bet your mom face is effective what with four kids to practice on every day! ;)

  10. 10

    Going to buy a ladder right now! My daughters room is at the top of the stairs and ours at the bottom….It’s stupid for me not to have already bought one.

  11. 11

    So sobering! Preparation is THE most vital part of disaster recovery and can do the most to protect the lives of your loved ones. Having an emergency plan in place and reviewing it every 3 months with your family can significantly reduce the risk of loosing someone. Homes are cleaned every single day. And many households do a deep clean several times a year. It takes just a few seconds to check batteries and it is a simple thing to add to your quarterly list of things to do.