Test your smoke alarms annually. Choose a holiday,
anniversary or birthday to make it easier to remember.
We tested our smoke alarms while practicing our escape
plan. NFPA says that nearly half of fire deaths are
prevented simply by having working smoke alarms.
Create a home inventory. Even if no one dies or is
injured, going through a fire is traumatic. Walking
through the soggy, burned out shell of our home, with
the toxic smell of melted plastic searing our nostrils, was
surreal. The days that followed were mind-numbing
as we tediously inventoried the sooty remains that
mapped our lives.
Inventory your possessions before disaster strikes.
Feltz suggests the Dream Vault app to take pictures of
the items in your home. File or scan copies of receipts
for large ticket items. “If you update a deck, fence or
kitchen, take a picture even of the receipt,” Feltz says.
Purchase a fire proof safe. My husband and I received
a fire proof safe soon after we were married as a
Christmas gift. The box seemed like an odd gift to
me at the time. But for less than $50, this safe proved
priceless, saving us a few headaches. (See the sidebar
for the types of documents to store.)
In the end, we were lucky. My husband and I had each
other, reliable insurance and many friends offering
support. The house was rebuilt, our lives restored and
Now that we are parents, our two little risk factors have
raised the stakes. I’m not gambling on their safety. To
me, that would be like playing with fire--a fire I’m not
sure I’d ever recover from.
Documents to store in your fire proof safe:
• Home owners insurance and
your insurance agent’s name and
• Original birth certificates
• Original social security cards
• CD or external hard drive of family
photos and inventory
1. What is the leading cause of
• Copies of important legal and
• Safety deposit box keys if you
have a bank deposit box
• List of family physicians, copies
of current prescriptions and
pharmacy contact information
• Bank account information and
copies of your credit cards and
bank cards to help you access
your funds quickly.
Source: Legal Zoom
3. Where is the best place to
hide during a fire?
a. Space heaters a. The bathtub
b. Cooking b. A closet
c. Kids playing with matches c. Never hide
2. What do you do if your
clothes catch on fire?
a. Run screaming
b. Stop, drop and roll
c. Take your clothes off
Answers: 1 b, 2 b, 3 c