In this province you hear stories about house fires on a fairly regular basis. Sometimes it’s someone doing something bone-headed like cooking with grease in an open saucepan or burning green wood for a winter, not getting their chimney cleaned and then WHOOSH!, the following autumn everything goes up in smoke. Sometimes it’s electrical. There are all sorts of reasons.
I have two dogs and a cat, whom I love dearly. If my house went up in flames, losing the possessions would not haunt me nearly so much emotionally as losing my friends, particularly if there was something I could have done to prevent it.
There are some basic things you can do to make sure the animals in your life don’t end up like this (note for those who can’t handle emotional stuff: it’s a sad tale of a house fire – don’t read if you are easily upset).
- Smoke detectors. Easy one. Have them, check them, change the batteries.
- Have stickers on front and back doors indicating number and species of animal.
- Know your neighbours and make sure they know your pets. Neighbours who happen to be home can tell firefighters what to look for and where.
- NEVER LEAVE YOUR DRYER ON WHEN YOU GO OUT! Really. Lint + heat = possible fire. Also, clean that vent, hose, and the inside of the back of your dryer out very regularly. Most people don’t. The dryer is a big one, since many people turn it on before heading to work. Not worth the risk.
- NEVER LEAVE THE STOVE ON WHEN YOU GO OUT! Intense heat = possible fire.
- Don’t leave electrical oddities unfixed. We had a flickering light circuit that turned out to be a corroded breaker. That’s the sort of stuff that causes those electrical fires that you read about. Those don’t happen for no good reason.
- Don’t do electrical work yourself without a) being qualified or b) getting someone who is to vet your work.
- Extension cords are not power bars. They get hot when overloaded. One item to a cord, no matter how many outlets on the cord.
- Daisy chains should only be colourful floral arrangements, not electrical make-shiftery.
- Check the stove before you go out. Take things that are on or near it that might burn off, just in case the cat is hyperactive and knocks that towel off the breadbox and onto the burner while brushing past in a flurry and turning the element on. Those wonky stories you sometimes hear about? Yeah, don’t be one of those.
- Keep stuff away from electrical elements. Dog toys can burn. So can the bottoms of curtains, if they touch the heaters.