Home Fire Escape Planning

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in General, Safety, Seasonal | 0 comments

A fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as three minutes to escape safely. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning – a home fire escape plan that everyone in your home is familiar with and has practiced. These tips can help you put together and practice an effective home fire escape plan. Fire Facts • Most fire deaths in Alberta happen in homes, especially at night when people are asleep. People, who die in home fires, often die from breathing the smoke and toxic gases from the fire—not from being burned by flames. These toxic gases can render a person confused and disoriented or even unconscious after only a few short breaths. The effects may overcome you long before you have time to orient yourself to get out of your own home. If you plan and practice your escape drill, you will know exactly what to do, almost automatically, to quickly and safely get out from a burning house. • Once a fire starts it can spread rapidly. In as little as three minutes, a small fire can erupt into a “flashover” (when a room gets so hot everything suddenly bursts into flames). Three minutes isn’t a lot of time to notice the fire danger, round up your family, identify a safe escape route, and escape from your home. Seconds count in a fire emergency. Safety Tips Plan Your Escape • Have at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and test your alarm(s) monthly to make sure they are in working condition to warn you of a fire. • Involve the whole household in drawing a simple floor plan of your home, marking exactly how to get out in a fire emergency. • Identify two exits from each room, particularly bedrooms that you can use to escape. Planning two escape routes could save your life if one exit is blocked by smoke or fire. • Establish a safe meeting place outside of the home. • Assign a designated helper for any person living in your home who may not be able to escape the fire emergency on his or her own. This may include young children, older people, or people with impairments due to mobility limitations, disabilities, medications, or alcohol. • Ensure your street number is clearly visible from the road so that responding emergency personnel can find your home. • Inform guests and visitors about your home escape plan and find out about others escape plans when you stay overnight in their homes.         Practice Your Escape Plan • Practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year with everyone living in your home. • Make the drill as realistic as possible. Sound the smoke alarm, and practice different scenarios and escape routes. Practice your escape using the escape tips identified below. • Most fire emergencies happen at night. Ensure you practice at night while everyone is asleep.   Home Fire Escape Planning How to Escape Get low and go under smoke. All household members should learn how to “get low and go” under the layer of smoke hanging under the ceiling during a fire emergency. In a fire, the air closer to the floor will be relatively free of toxic smoke and gases and will easier to breathe. Check the door with your hand. If the door is hot, fire could already be burning through! That’s when you’ll use your alternate exit. If the door is cool it may be safe. Brace your shoulder against...

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Shedding Water

Posted by on Sep 8, 2012 in General, Seasonal | 0 comments

The way a house “sheds” water is the key to moisture control inside your home.  I was called out to many homes this summer due to flooding basements to help find the source of the water or to investigate for mold due to the water.  In most cases the water problem was easily preventable. During the fall and winter months, water is rarely an issue due to the lack of rain and the frozen snow.  Many people forget to take the steps to get there home ready for the spring thaw and the rain that is very common in spring and early summer.  A little work can prevent serious problems later. Eaves troughs and downspouts are a key component to preventing water in the basement.  Fall is a time when the leaves come off the trees and can easily clog downspouts and eaves troughs.  Clean them out so you are ready or the spring thaw.  Make sure your downspouts are extended away from the house and are attached.  A loose downspout can get kicked off by the mailman or paperboy and go through the winter undetected. This will create all kinds of problems in the spring. Take a look at your grading.  I have seen many water issues simply because the slope of the ground lets water flow towards a house.  Over time the dirt around the foundation settles so what was a good grade a few years ago may be poor grade today.  Take the time to walk around  your home and correct the grade if required. Lastly take a look at all components of you sump pump if your house has a one.  Open the cover in the basement and lift the float to activate the pump.  This tests both the float and the pump.  I do recommend a sump pit alarm as a sump pump can fail at any time so an alarm will alert you of a failure before its is two late.  Look for how your sump pump discharges outside your home.  A sump hose should extend 6 feet from the property and should have a downward slope.  I often find long hoses attached to a sump extending the discharge to the end of a property, many times with high and low spots.  In the winter this hose can freeze and the water will not be pumped from the house.  You sump will run continuously and is likely to burnout. Use these tips wisely and your are not likely to see any water in your basement next...

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