With several house fires the past few weeks including a deadly fire this past weekend, fire safety leaders want to stress the importance of prevention.
Terrence St. Julien and his family lost their house to a grease fire a few weeks ago. “The smoke alarm went off she (his wife) walked out the room and she just started yelling ‘smoke’ and then seconds later she’s yelling ‘fire fire.'”
St. Julien gets emotional just imagining how different life would be without that smoke alarm. “I’ve worked in the media, I saw several fires and I knew what could have happened. So every day I see my baby girl running around my daughter running I think about it everyday.”
A working smoke alarm is just one piece of prevention.
Richard Joseph, Opelousas Fire Department training officer says it all starts with caution. “Make sure there ‘s a three foot buffer around anything that’s flammable or combustible.”
Joseph also suggests you don’t leave items like that unattended especially in the kitchen. Secondly, you have to prepare. “You should have a fire extinguisher in your house you should know how to use that fire extinguisher before a fire happens.”
Stephanie Wagner is the regional communications and marketing director for American Red Cross of Louisiana. She recommends to create then practice a home fire escape plan. “A home fire escape plan allows you and your family to practice different ways out of your home because you do only have about two minutes to escape your home.”
These tips are the same tips St. Julien Family is already working on in their new home. While it isn’t easy in the midst of an emergency, Joseph says it does make a difference.
“I mean you’re going to be scared you’re not going to know what to do so the more you practice the better off you’re going to be.”
Contact your local fire department or American Red Cross office to see if they will install a new smoke detector with a 10-year battery for free.