Fire safety tips and resources

With ash and soot blowing in the Santa Ana winds, 500,000 displaced people in San Diego, and other fires blazing in Malibu and San Bernadino, tt seemed extremely appropriate to be taking the mandatory fire safety class at my work yesterday. We’re required to renew our fire cards every four years. And yes, six hours of fire class seems a little too much like traffic school. But I learned a lot, and wanted to share the things that seemed most applicable for homes, in a hodge-podge sort of way.

There should be one smoke detector in each bedroom and one in the hallway leading to the bedrooms. In the kitchen, you may consider getting a heat detector instead of a smoke detector. Change the batteries twice a year. A good way to remember is to do it at the start and end of daylight savings time. Closed doors are the best way to contain fire and smoke. Most fire-related deaths are due to smoke inhalation, not burns.

Make an evacuation plan that includes two ways out of every room in the house, a meeting place outside the home, and regular practice sessions with the family.
Sleep with bedroom doors closed
Do not open a door if is warm to the touch.
Do not enter a room with brown or black smoke. If you are in an area with any smoke, drop down and crawl on your hands and knees.
Open a window to allow fresh air in and stay near it
Flashlights and whistles are good ways to help children find their way and/or be found in case of an emergency.
Keep chronic prescriptions up to date and filled.

In Los Angeles city, even if you have put a fire out in your home, residents are required to call the fire department to assess the situation. There have been incidents where a fire was supposedly put out, smouldered, and burned down the house hours or days later.

Keep an easily accessible fire extinguisher in the home. Know how to use it. Once it is used, it will need to be replaced or recharged. Once the pressure is released, it doesn’t matter how much more flame retardant is left in the cylinder, it won’t have enough pressure to be effective.

Practice: Exit Drills In The Home (EDITH)

CDC information on health threats from wildfire smoke

Keep your 72 hour emergency kits easily accessible. It’s recommended to update these every six months as well, so do it when you change those smoke detector batteries.

Fortunately, the weather is forecasted to be in the 70’s on Friday, and even cloudy over the weekend. Until then, be fire safe, and keep a prayer handy for the families and firefighters involved.


Dora is a pediatric critical care nurse. Therapy to alleviate the stress in her professional life include traveling around the world, reading, partner dancing and hosting dinner parties.

You may also like...

No Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Dora, thank you for these tips! They are timely for me as well – school just got cancelled tomorrow because of the fires.

  2. Deborah says:

    Thanks, Dora. This was just about my biggest childhood fear — the phrase “and please bless our house so that no one will break in and it won’t catch fire” made it into every prayer age 6-15. Better prepared than scared.

    Glad y’all are ok.

Leave a Reply to Deborah Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.