SANTA MONICA – The wildfires throughout California over the past few days have already taken the lives of 24 people, according to the Washington Post. Hundreds more are missing, and an untold amount of damage has been done.
While the Office of Emergency Management for the City of Santa Monica says that Santa Monica is not in great danger of experiencing an out of control wildfire, fireman Ruben Flores says that there is always potential that one can happen. It is important to be prepared, so what can you do to make sure that you are safe?
The Office of Emergency Management for the City of Santa Monica recommends a few things.
Construct a plan: make sure to have a fire escape plan for everyone in your family (including pets!)
Educate: educate your family and yourself about basic fire safety protocol
Have a Fire Extinguisher: fire extinguishers can put out a small fire contained in one area, or help with controlling a fire until the fire department comes.
Install smoke alarms: Make sure to have fire alarms in each bedroom, outside each room where people in your family sleep, and on every floor of your house.
Additionally: test the smoke alarms each month by pressing the test button and get new batteries for your alarms at least once every year.
While every step towards fire safety is an important one, Flores says that smoke detectors are the number one thing you can do. Making sure your smoke alarms are working and are in the right parts of your home can very well save the lives of yourself and your family. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without smoke alarms that work.
Additionally, if a fire does happen in your home, Flores recommends you vacate the building, call 911, and shut the doors in the building if you have time to. While the thought of a fire in your neighborhood is scary, taking the proper steps can be the difference between life and death. Santa Monica is prepared with its five fire department stations and six fire engines, so all you have to do is your part to help ensure the safety of yourself and the community.
Photos courtesy of Reuters.