Extreme Survival: The House Fire

When most of us think of “extreme survival” it’s usually some worst-case scenario like surviving an EMP, being lost in the Alaskan tundra, or waking up to a zombie apocalypse.

The truth is that extreme survival scenarios are common across the country and around the world in the form of house fires. It wasn’t until a house about a mile from our own caught fire and burned to the ground that I realized what a massive loss a house fire can be.

A family loses everything — furniture, family heirlooms and photos, their clothing, pets, and sometimes, loved ones. When I think of how vulnerable my wife and kids would be, it makes me more determined to check our home for electricity issues, make sure our smoke alarms work, and look for any barriers to emergency exits, and

It’s that last item there that worries me the most. Our house was built in 1972, an era of small, high bedroom windows. My daughter has one of those in her bedroom, and to get out in case of a house fire, she would need to climb on top of something, pull the window open, and then lift herself up and over the window sill to safety. If she’s in a panic mode, I’m not 100% sure she could do that.

A few facts about house fire fatalities:

36.6% of civilian house fire fatalities are due to not being able to escape

Being asleep is the #1 cause of house fire fatalities with physical/mental impairments being in second place.

Burns and smoke inhalation make up 48% of fire fatalities. 85% of all fire fatalities include smoke inhalation.

Trying to escape can actually lead to fatal decisions. Most civilian fire fatalities occurred when the victim was trying to escape!

These facts are unsettling and when I learned about a brand new, innovative smart device, Smoke Shield, I asked our partner blog, The Survival Mom, if I could be included in spreading the news about how it can save lives.

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The bottom line? If escape is impossible during a fire, Smoke Shield can save the lives of your loved ones and give you and emergency responders needed time to act.

Smoke Shield is installed in a closet or other small area in your home, and it automatically activates when it detects smoke. Smoke is filtered through Smoke Shield to create safe, breathable air for up to an hour. That gives firefighters an invaluable window of time for rescue.

You can learn about Smoke Shield here, and be sure to watch the video to see how it operates. If your smoke alarms don’t go off, if you’re in a deep sleep, if your young kids can’t figure out how to escape — I think Smoke Shield is worth learning about. I’ve also thought it would be something valuable for my mom, getting close to 80 years old now, with her mobility issues.

The inventor of Smoke Shield, Dr. Nick Welch, is talking about home fire safety with The Survival Mom, Lisa Bedford, on Thursday, September 26, at 4 p.m. You can watch it on this non-Facebook link (just click to join) OR on The Survival Mom’s Facebook page. Nick will share his best house fire survival tips and explain more about Smoke Shield. There will be time for Q&A, too.

In the meantime, just how fire-ready is your home? Can you answer these questions to your satisfaction?

  1. How many fire extinguishers do you have in your home? Where are they located?
  2. How many smoke alarms do you have and do you know for sure their batteries are active?
  3. For each and every room in the house, how could someone escape a fire if there was no other way out? Keep in mind the ages and physical/mental condition of each family member.

Smoke Shield info can be found at this link. It’s worth taking a look and adding this additional layer to your house fire preps.


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