Fire hazard safety reminder!!

Do you practice basic fire safety? Do you have an escape plan and “go bag” with insurance and overnight essentials if you need to leave your home suddenly? Is your renters or homeowners insurance policy current?

I was awakened this morning by firefighters knocking on my door, but I didn’t realize who it was until I heard them stomping around on my roof. There was a small fire three floors down and across the hall, so evacuation was recommended. I didn’t panic but I grabbed my warmest coat and threw on the warm boots I keep by the door; the whole insurance file; and my phone, laptop, wallet and ipad, which I used to take a quick video inventory of my possessions and wardrobe in case I needed to file a claim. The end result was an hour in the hall watching the watery aftermath warily with neighbors. We think it’s electrical, but that wasn’t clear. There were no injuries, but a few apartments in the line have smoke, and the apartment of the fire’s origin definitely will have a ruined Christmas. 😞 

My point today is to remind everyone that winter, but especially December, is prime time for fires as people do more cooking, light more candles, put up more lights, use more extension cords, and have more kindling scattered around their apartments in the forms of trees, wreaths, gifts, etc. The time to plan and react to fire is NOT when the firefighters knock on your door! I am taking the hint and today I’m SUPER MOTIVATED to make sure my emergency prep is in order. 

1) I’m a big believer in renters insurance. I don’t consider it any more optional than homeowners insurance. It’s a few hundred dollars annually, and pays off bigtime if you ever have to make a claim for fire or theft.

2) Everyone in your household should know how to get out of every room of your home in case of worst-case fire.

3) Assuming you will usually have a couple of minutes to evacuate, you should have an escape bag stored by the door. (Your essentials may vary but this should include copies of vital documents, fresh underwear, socks and gloves for everyone in the household, nonperishable snacks, cash, water, a physical list of emergency contact numbers and maybe a cheap pre-paid phone. There are countless resources online with lists of emergency items to consider including for you/your family.)

4) Take a video inventory of your possessions, not just your most valuable ones, and upload it to cloud storage. This will be helpful in a claim and replacing 100s of small items does add up to big $$$ ! Itemize your most valuable things and consider giving them additional insurance protection.

That is the bare minimum, IMO. I welcome additional insight and recommendations… I know several of my friends have been through fire events and I am sorry if this brings up bad memories, but I am grateful for anything you might teach us.



About amywinns

Semi-snarky, semi-sincere, occasionally ranting, always paying attention. Feminist who can work a skirt and crack a joke. Grammar nerd who is also fun at parties. Mid-career writer/editor with 20 years’ experience in newspapers & magazines who now helps software developers communicate with customers. Pro-women, pro-family, pro-choice, pro-workingclass, pro-entrepreneur, pro-farmer. Like every other bourgeois Brooklynite, I choose local/organic/raw food — mostly vegetables — whenever possible/reasonable/affordable but I’m not a smug asshole about it. Lives: Brooklyn. Hometown: Atlanta. Weird hobby: lindy hop. No pets, no kids, no thanks.
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