When you live in a wooden house and heat with wood, fire is an ever present companion and threat. Every year families in this area lose their homes to fire. In case of fire, what do you do?
For the most part, such a question is ignored. Human nature tends to gloss over the worst case scenarios. A recent trip to town brought it out of obscurity for me.
A house I’ve driven by for years was nothing but a foundation with smoke still wafting up from the ruins.
My father lost his house to fire years ago. His was due to carelessness on his part as he knew the chimney needed fixing. Many house fires are due to carelessness of one kind or another. Even so, it’s hard to watch everything you own burn. Or worse, coming home from a family gathering to find the ruins as happened up the hill from us one Christmas.
In case of fire, what do you do?
When I was growing up, all of us knew to grab a certain metal box on the way out of the house. My father kept all of our important papers such as birth certificates, deeds etc. in that box. It was in a drawer we would have to go pass to get out of the house.
Do you know where your important papers are?
If there is a fire, do you know all of the ways you can get out of your house? Just as important, do you have a place for family to meet so you know everyone got out?
My house contains a lifetime of memories. Yes, lives are more important than possessions. But those possessions help us define who we are and losing them is hard. Which ones are most important to you? Could you grab them on the way out?
In case of fire, panic is your worst enemy. Thinking and planning ahead may not avert the panic. But it might.
My father lost a lifetime of slides and stood outside holding a stereo wondering why he picked it up.
Perhaps the most important things are to fix the little problems and never forget fire will take advantage of any opportunity to rob you of your past. That might keep you from having to answer the question: In case of fire, what did you do?