The recent home fire in Wellsville should serve as a reminder to all of us to review our emergency preparedness readiness. At a minimum we should do the following:

  • Test smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and replace the batteries semi-annually (when daylight savings time starts and ends is a good time to do this).
  • Ensure that your children and the elderly/infirm know how to evacuate the home quickly in an emergency, and know of alternate ways out if the usual exit path is unavailable. Have family practices on how to ‘get out quickly and safely’.
  • Review the recharge dates and usage instructions on your fire extinguishers.
  • Review the family ‘gathering’ spot in case of an evacuation from the home.
  • Remind family members of the out-of-area contact person and phone number to call in case the family becomes separated.
  • Instruct family members that in the case of a fire they are not to attempt to gather personal belonging, nor should they re-enter the home after they have left it. Fire and smoke can spread quickly and wasting even a few seconds in evacuating could prove deadly.

 If you think this can’t happen to you, review these facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

  • On average in the United States in 2009, someone died in a fire every 175 minutes, and someone was injured every 31 minutes.
  • About 85% of all U.S. fire deaths in 2009 occurred in homes.
  • In 2009, fire departments responded to 377,000 home fires in the United States, which claimed the lives of 2,565 people (not including firefighters) and injured another 13,050, not including firefighters.
  • Most victims of fires die from smoke or toxic gases and not from burns.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of fire-related deaths.
  • Cooking is the primary cause of residential fires.

Finally, to improve your skills in emergency preparedness, consider attending CERT (Community Emergency Response Training). Wellsville will join with Cache County next spring in offering this training. It covers all types of emergencies and could prove invaluable to you and your family.

For more information on all emergencies,visit Be Ready Utah.