Make sure that everyone knows two ways out of every room. Teach children to crawl on their hands and knees in an effort to stay low under smoke. Close doors behind you to slow the spread of fire and smoke. Plan a meeting spot outside the house, at a neighbor’s or in a special place in the yard a good distance from the house. Teach kids that once they get outside, they should stay outside. Hold frequent fire drills, including some at night and make sure everyone is following the plan perfectly. Assign someone to call 9-1-1. Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home. Replace the batteries every six months.
Do not rely on one way to escape from your home. Do not forget about the levels of your home. Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second and third floor. Do not assume everyone will remember how to exit your home during a fire. Practice your ascape plan at least twice a year. Do not reenter a burning building. Nothing is as valuable as your life. Do not open a door without feeling it first. If it is warm, the fire is nearby and you could cause the greater risk of spreading the fire and injuring yourself.
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If our Massachusetts pre-Halloween 2011 “trick or treat” snowstorm was any indication of the winter to come, it’s probably a good time to mention some prevention tips:
- Maintain gutters. Removing leaves, acorns, sticks & debris from gutters so that snow & ice can drain properly can help prevent dreaded ice dams.
- Trim trees & remove dead branches. Ice, snow & sin can cause weak trees or branches to break damaging your home, car or injuring someone.
- Check insulation. Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water re-freezing causes more snow & ice to build up resulting in collapsed roofs & ice dams. Ideally, the attic should be five to ten degrees warmer than the outside air.
- Keep your home warm. The temperature in your house should be at least 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is colder than the walls themselves.